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# Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?67

## Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

3
(OP)
Much is made these days about "renewable energy" almost always talking about (in declining order of importance to the narrative) wind, solar, hydro-electric, geothermal, solid biofuels, and liquid biofuels. What I cannot find is a definition that limits how renewable something has be be to be called "renewable".

For example, I have deployed thousands of PV solar panels on remote wellsites over the years. When I'm doing project economics I expect to replace 1/3 of the panels every year and 1/2 of the batteries every year. This is because birds and reptiles are incontinent and their waste on the warm surface tends to short out the electronics. Further, covering a panel with dust or sand reduces its effectiveness towards zero and the first sand storm sandblasts the surface to the point that the electronics can't tell night from day (and cleaning the panels shorts them out about as often as it doesn't). No matter what metric you use, Solar PV does not ever generate as much energy as went into the mining, raw material transport, fabrication, and finished product transport. The industrial units I've deployed return under 5% of the energy required to make them appear on site. Project economics reflect that and the economics often favor Solar PV over bringing in grid power, but the only part that is "renewable" is that fuel cost for operation is zero. The popular literature uses a 25-30 year life for solar panels. Fires and sand blasting experience at large solar arrays seem to make this number laughable if you actually take the panels out of the box.

Forbes Magazine had an article a while back that claimed that grid-scale wind power units get about 83% government grants, subsidies, and tax credits (i.e., a company desiring to install a $500,000 wind turbine would have$415,000 covered by federal programs, state programs would further reduce the cost in most states). Then the federal government has mandated a price that the utility must pay for any power generated beyond the company's need (which is retail price, not the wholesale price that they pay for other power). Expected actual power generation from a unit that size would be worth (both in sell back and in avoided power purchase) about $30k/year which is not enough to service the debt on a$500 k loan. In this case Forbes is using dollars as a surrogate for energy input and energy output, but that is usually a reasonable surrogate--bottom line is that without the government involvement wind energy would not pay for itself. Most "information" available on this topic is like Science Daily that uses nameplate hp, 24-hour/day, 366 days/year operation at 100% capacity and subsidized sales prices to say that the turbines pay for themselves in 5-8 months. This analysis assumes energy storage that has no energy cost (and that it exists, it doesn't). When you factor in back-up power supplies for calm days, and fuel needed for standby plants the 5-8 months becomes laughable, but that is the number that "researchers" in this field continue to use.

Geothermal (where is is a viable option) is likely significantly "renewable" in that you get more energy out of it then you put into it. New research is linking industrial-scale geothermal energy to significantly increased seismic activity (both frequency and severity), but it is renewable.

Hydro-electric represents a love-hate relationship with the environmental movements. The narrative around evil fossil-fuel shows hydro as a huge win (it represents about 6.8% of the U.S. electricity usage), but the land that is taken out of service, the changes to the eco system by changing fast moving rivers to slow moving lakes, and the absence of flooding in river bottoms is depleting soil. Dams silt up and require maintenance/repair. Still, hydro is renewable in that it provides many times the power required to deploy the technology.

Solid biofuels like wood chips and vegetable debris have serious delivery problems (and ash-removal problems and particulate matter pollution problems) that caused the Province of Ontario to have to derate their coal fired plants by half when they were converted to solid biofuels.

Liquid biofuels to date have primarily been oxygenators like ethanol. Adding 10% ethanol to gasoline (petrol) will reduce total fuel efficiency by about 13%. This means that a trip that would have taken 100 gallons of fuel will take about 113 gallons of fuel--101.7 gallons of gasoline and 11.3 gallons of ethanol. In other words it is significantly energy negative. Bio-diesel has about 77% of the specific energy of diesel and tends to gel, absorb water, and requires higher compression ratios. In general without government intervention, this is an idea who's time will never come.

That brings me to gaseous biofuels. Methane comes from anaerobic biological activity on organic waste. In a recent article I computed that contemporary methane sources are on the order of 5 TSCF/day (the world uses about 0.3 TSCF/day). The organisms on this planet generate so much organic waste that we don't even have to get a lot more effective at re-processing organic waste to supply the world's power needs forever--truly renewable and sustainable. The only hurdle is that the contemporary narrative has methane listed in the "evil fossil fuel" category and not in the "renewable" category. That is it. A small shift in the narrative and the world will turn the engineering community lose on this problem and very shortly we will have unlimited power for an unlimited number of future generations. There are already hundreds of small and medium sized dairy farms, chicken farms, pig farms, and feed lots that are harvesting the animal waste to generate heat and methane for power generation (you get methane from anaerobic digestion which requires a small power input and generates horrible smells, taking the last step in the process into an aerobic digester, which is exothermic, provides heat for the anaerobic process, and gets rid of the worst of the smells). Everyone with knowledge of this process knows that there are a number of things that could be done to improve yields and recover more of the biological energy, but with an EPA focused on "eliminating methane emissions", there is no incentive to commit the engineering effort required.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to change the narrative from "methane causes global warming" to "retail harvest of contemporary methane can be a big part of the solution"?

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

While the environmental movement's views of solar and wind power (and that includes government officials) are surely overly optimistic, your situations are almost surely overly pessimistic.

Every vehicle I own in which I can use ethanol-free fuel (Shell 91 V-power, in my area) or ethanol-containing fuel (PetroCanada and others) and have done the comparisons, the fuel consumption on either fuel is within the range of statistical noise from one fill-up to the next. If the difference was 13% as you state, it would be noticeable, but it is not. The theoretical difference is 3%, and that's within the range of statistical noise. The big problem with ethanol is that there's a pretty significant fossil-fuel requirement to grow corn, fertilize it, harvest it, and distill it, and it's a toss-up whether the whole exercise is worthwhile.

My previous daily-driver vehicle was a VW diesel which was amenable to biodiesel usage (the current ones are not) and for a time, 100% biodiesel was available. The consumption was higher on biodiesel but not by a noteworthy amount.

I've never heard of a solar panel installation in reality which required a third of the panels to be replaced every year. But I don't live in a desert area and we don't have dust storms. We have birds, though. Surely the panel can have a transparent coating to protect the electronics.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Well, when & where I went to school 'biogas' was one of our example/case study renewable fuels.

Wikipedia for what little it's work seems to list it as renewable too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biogas

I have vague recollections of renewable meaning net 0 CO2 over typical human life span or something like that but don't remember for sure.

Is what you're really asking 'how to do we get more attention onto biogas verses all the other nominally renewable fuels'?

Your last sentence is a bit unfair, both phrases are potentially true and not mutually exclusive depending on what source of methane you're talking about, how it's utilized/allowed to vent to atmosphere....

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### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

How will 'retail harvest of contemporary methane' differ from the causes of climate change? There's not a lot of linked background to your posts, so it doesn't give me anywhere to start comparing figures other than "let me google that for you". So before addressing the way to change the narrative toward the direction you desire; why is methane a good solution in the first place? Is it not a potent gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect when in our atmosphere? Don't the methods of converting methane to energy basically include combustion and... combustion? Combustion yields carbon in some form that typically ends up in the atmosphere, unless we can make it into bricks like I saw in some Icelandic news, recently.

I think the 'narrative' is desired to trend toward renewable /and/ not exacerbating the warming of the Earth. Not just one or the other.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Sounds to me like you need to start a Public Relations / Education campaign to educate people on the "real cost" of renewable energies. Expect it to be an uphill battle, the environmental and engineering communities that have been trying to see widespread use of renewables are not going to like being told their assumptions and cost/benefit analysis are wrong.

Do your due diligence, get your ducks in a row and make sure you have sound arguments and data to back them up. These systems have been around long enough there should be enough data to put together real costs for these systems. If a PV array has a realistic life expectancy of less than 20-30 years, I would expect there to be plenty of building owners that have replaced their systems in less than that. Find them, find out how much it costs to maintain a PV for 20-30 years, how many times has an array been replaced in that 20-30 years.

You have a valid point about other factors needing to be considered, things such as bird and animal droppings. I've occasionally seen articles about how wind turbines in the midwest have had a negative impact on bird populations, literally knocking birds out of the sky. A community in upstate New York (pretty sure it was NY) installed wind turbines just outside of town; turned out these turbines would keep people up at night because they created a "swooshing" sound as the airfoils turned.

Start by making your case to the big organizations that are trying to use renewable energy sources. ASHRAE and LEED come to mind. I think they would be most open to your arguments and would be key in relaying the "real costs" of renewable energy.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

some data on fuel energy contents. These numbers are from .gov, but are likely accurate.

This may require some recalculation of ZDAS original numbers comparing E10, biodiesel and gasoline
http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/fuel_comparison_c...

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Methane/biogas is net zero CO2 because whatever is decomposing had to get that carbon from the air. There is no creating or destroying carbon, just storing and releasing it. If some plant is storing carbon from the atmosphere and releases methane as it degrades, it's the same carbon as was in the atmosphere to begin with.

I will say that your examples of solar are unbelievably unrealistic. Either you're fibbing or you're particularly bad at installing panels.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
BrianPeterson,
We have a number of very senior automotive engineers on this site and when I found ethanol-free gasoline in Arkansas on a trip a couple of years ago I saw my vehicle's range increase by 13% instantaneous fuel consumption go down by about the same amount. When I started a thread here several of the automotive guys confirmed that numbers higher than 10% were common. This is pretty interesting since ethanol only has 60% of the energy density (MJ/L) of Gasoline. If I have to put 40% more fuel volume into the engine to get the same energy to the wheels as gasoline, it seems like it would be higher.

The 1/3 of solar panels failing each year is actual data from a 1600 panel project. I budgeted that number for future projects because OpEx on the first project ate our lunch. There were many panels that didn't last a year. Few lasted 4 years. I have looked really hard for case studies from home owners that said they were getting longer lives than the 1.3 years I use for economics. I haven't been able to find them. Warranties say that after 10 years the panels are only certified to 80% of nameplate. One Manufacturer whose warranty I looked at drops their guaranteed output 10% in the first year. All of the millions of hits you get on Google are from manufacturers and solar advocates. Nothing from anyone without an ax to grind. I've also seen a bunch of people who complained on forums that when their panels failed after a year the manufacturer was no longer in business. There seems to be a lot of churn in this space.

KENAT,
There is never a day without some story on FaceBook about methane destroying the atmosphere. The EPA regulations scheduled to go into effect this week treat methane released to the atmosphere by industry as a pollutant in spite of the fact that the Clean Air Act explicitly excludes the EPA from treating either methane or CO2 as a pollutant. Regulations are costing the Oil & Gas industry many billions of dollars a year to try to reduce emissions from a few thousand MSCF/year to zero. Methane seeps in the oceans represent upwards of 3 TSCF (one billion MSCF is a TSCF). The research I did recently put another 5 TSCF/day from contemporary sources into the air. I think the last sentence is fair.

JNeiman,
The advocates of ACC claim that methane is somewhere between 21 and 36 times more potent a "greenhouse gas" than CO2. That is why Oil & Gas is no longer allowed to vent methane and if it must be released it has to be flared. Nature is going to produce about 5 TSCF/day of contemporary methane. Nothing anyone can do about that. Krill, cows, and termites will fart. Leaves will fall. Moose will poop. Organic material will be discarded to the benefit of microbes. 5 TSCF/day of methane (using the current calculation in EPA regs) is the same as 180 TSCF/day of CO2. Burning 5 TSCF/day of methane would release 5 TSCF/day of CO2, a much smaller number than 180 TSCF/day. There is simply no way to recover all of the contemporary methane, it is far too widely distributed. On the other hand every SCF recovered in a digester is an SCF that is 1/36 as potent a "greenhouse gas" as methane if you buy into the ACC narrative.

dbill74,
I'm just one voice in the wind. The industry needs a PR campaign, and the world needs a lot of research focused on the problem and not on the narrative.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

The methane occurring in nature is part of the natural carbon cycle - plants absorb carbon in photosynthesis, either get eaten or decompose, and some of the carbon returns to the atmosphere as methane. This then breaks down into CO2 and the cycle repeats. The important thing is there is no net change in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, vs the methane released by the O&G industry, which has been sequestered for millions? of years. This is adding carbon to the atmosphere. Same reason you don't count respiration in a countries GHG emissions.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
canwesteng,
You could not be less right. About half of the biological waste at sea and some percentage on land is broken down in an anaerobic environment and you get methane. If the methane (or CO2 from aerobic decomposition) gets into the upper atmosphere what does it matter if it is contemporary or from 200 million years ago? It is still in the atmosphere and not available for the carbon cycle and able to do greenhousey things. This whole "new carbon is natural and old carbon is evil" mantra is just nonsense.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

So when can I expect a check for growing cost avoidance trees?

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
"Ten climate related disasters? in 2015" What where they? I can think of some weather related problems (but the field of AGW loudly proclaims that weather is not climate and their models don't predict rain or hurricanes). that happened last year, but "disaster"? I don't think so. Remember if you call everything awesome, you'll have trouble describing the birth of a child or the second coming. Same with "disaster". The Plains American Pipeline spill was labeled as a "disaster" and it resulted in putting less oil into the SAME BODY OF WATER as the Santa Barbara seep has put into that body of water ever 3 hours for the last 300 million years.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

zdas04: "Ten climate related disasters? in 2015" What where they?

You're right, I should have written "ten weather related disasters" not climate related disasters. The list of events is listed here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events

While it is true that no weather event is directly caused by climate change, there is a link. My favorite analogy is a baseball player using steroids. When a player who normally hits 15 home runs per season suddenly hits 30, something's up. You can't say any one home run was directly caused by steroid usage, only that the frequency of home runs has increased. And that's what we are seeing today, a sharp increase in extreme weather globally. May 2016 was just announced as the 13th consecutive warmest month on record.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
That list would be very interesting without the word "disaster" in the title. That word alone turns information into propaganda.

Funny (in a very sad sort of way) that none of the climate change predictions are actually science-based. They came from a group of grad students sitting around a conference room spit-balling "what if" scenarios. The entire list came from that session. No basis. No science. Just opinion.

For example, one guy proposed that as the world heats up we will have more droughts because it can be really hot during a drought, he saw Grapes of Wrath. The problem is that the geological record shows a direct correlation between increasing temperatures and increased availability of atmospheric water. We are seeing this today around the world. We are seeing the verges of the world's deserts greening. We are seeing the verges of the arctic greening. Part of it is increased plant food (CO2), and part of it is that nature has a really cool negative feedback loop that warmer temperatures increase evaporation which sucks heat from the air. Claiming that droughts are caused by AGW is a lie that just won't die. The water shortages associated with the California drought were caused by man's mismanagement of water resources, not AGW.

Tornadoes and flooding happen every year. Always have. Always will. Frequency is down right now. No one knows why because we don't understand weather any better than we understand climate and the frantic scurrying to link AGW to every weather event is actually slowing our rate of learning about the climate.

Wildfires? This has to be the sickest joke ever perpetrated. Wildfires happen every year. For many years we expended enormous resources to prevent them and to mitigate their extent when they inevitably broke out. The result of nearly half a century absolute mismanagement of our forest resources is that the fuel load in the forests is staggeringly large and when fire breaks out in these tinder boxes the fires get very large very fast. Again, fire suppression goals had far worse consequences than doing nothing. But the people who want to "manage nature" by stopping AGW are the ones who failed so miserably in the wildfire control arena.

The rest of the list is more of the same. Normal events that are wrapped in the packaging of "disasters". If my house gets blown down by a tornado, it is a tragedy, I may even call it a "disaster" because it is my house. It is not a disaster on a national scale. It is just weather and weather happens. It has always happened. It will always happen. All the carbon taxes in the world will not have any desireable impact on the severity or frequency of it happening. Over and over again man's efforts to "harness nature" have failed miserably. It is kind of like fleas on a dogs back holding a vote and banning the dog from scratching fleabites. The dog will still scratch without even caring that he is now violating the local ordinance.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

When I got my degree back in the 80s I took geography courses as my humanities requirements (to make me the well rounded individual I am now) and the toughest row to hoe was explaining the difficulties in realizing renewable energy resources. Particularly in Canada, with 90% of the population living within 100 mile of the US-Canada border, the prime locations for hydro, solar, wind, and biomass are also 100 mile of the US-Canada border - huge completion for that land use

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

The planet clearly had a CO2 balance going on that has been interrupted by unearthing fossil fuels. The proof is in the atmospheric CO2 rise during the industrial era.

About solar panels. I am sure mystified how panel makers continue to offer 20 year warranties with 33% yearly failure rate that Zdas has observed. My anecdotal experience is with two solarex panels I bought 30 years ago for charging shed batteries. One is now in storage and the other is charging a yard lighting battery as I type this. My panels went 20X as long with no failures.

Zdas you seem to be unrealistically biased for some reason.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Solar panels have there place, but what happens in 20 years when they start failing in mass?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not venting about application, but what really will happen?

My guess is the frames, and many panels, like the wind farm towers, will be left in place to rust and fall apart as a eyesore. And if this is reality then we will be able to look back and say they were not renewable.

My example of that is the little hydro plants that produced power for the mining operations 75 to 100 years ago.

The term renewable in these cases refers to something in the short term that leaves some structure behind.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Cranky, given the electrical distribution will be set up for the wind turbines, I wonder if the towers could refurbished into Solar Panel Pagodas

That way the land below will still be useful/available for other uses - unlike the big solar array farms I've seen where the local flora pretty much gets removed.

Plus, you wouldn't have the whirling blades knocking bald eagles out of the sky.

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### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

There is talk of actually building the border wall out of solar panels.

Another idea has been to make the border wall out of very large and steeply inclined treadmills. Instead of climbing them like a fence, would-be illegals will simply be spinning eddy current dynos that charge the electric fence on top of the wall. Think of it like an open ended version of the hamster wheel, which is also on par with wind mill energy.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
SnarkySparky,
Take a look at your warranty. All of them today start derating capacity from day one. By year 10 if the panel will produce 80% of nameplate power it is "in spec" according to most warranties (some use 50% instead of 80%). If your panel is putting out less than the derated amount their first recourse is to say you haven't done the required maintenance since you don't have any invoices and deny your claim. Go to the user sites on Solar Power and see the conversations of seriously disillusioned users. If you are happy with your 30 year old panels (although it sounded like you had 50% failure) then good for you. When I budgeted that kind of life, the replacement costs destroyed my operating budget.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

The amount of renewable energy that we can use is only limited by how much of the sun's energy we can use.

Whether it is through photosynthesis, photovoltaic cells, miscellaneous solar energy forms (like wind), hydroelectric (the water cycle), etc, the sun is our ultimate source of energy.

For those of you worried about energy consumption destroying the world, you are correct. It will. The sun is burning hydrocarbons and will run out of them at some point.

Question of the day, is solar energy nuclear or is it a hydrocarbon combustion?

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
Panther140,
The sunlight falling on the earth over the last couple of billion years sets the upper limit on the amount of energy available.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Energy "type" only care about its relation to the semi-closed system. Solar energy, as far as the Earth is concerned, only cares that it's 'beamed' over from a foreign object. The fact that it's a fusion (nothing to do with hydrocarbons...) reaction is mostly moot, other than for knowing the nature of the source.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

#### Quote (zdas04)

The sunlight falling on the earth over the last couple of billion years sets the upper limit on the amount of energy available

Nearly, but not quite correct. Obviously most of the energy available to us comes originally from that big fusion reactor 93 million miles from us: wind, wave, solar (light and IR heat), hydro, biomass and fossil carbon (gas, oil, coal)are all derived from incident or stored solar energy and hence fall within your upper limit. However, nuclear, geothermal and tidal are all primordial energy- not renewable, but coming from the earth itself (or the moon's gravity etc.).

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
Moltenmetal,
Interesting that you put tidal energy in the same category as nuclear and geothermal. I think I understand why, but I've never considered it before. Compared to the other sources, your "primordial" sources are not in the round off error so far. Fusion may change that but I don't think that that is certain.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

I don't know if tidal and geothermal should be considered "primordial" more than any of the other forms. True, they do not come from solar radiation, but they do come from gravity, which I would consider to be highly renewable - even more so than solar radiation. Tidal and geothermal energy are continuously created, not used up. Maybe it's possible to use too much and mess up more natural cycles, but they are not finite any more than the sun is finite. Nuclear fission is probably the only form of energy that we have that could be considered completely non-renewable. We can't really wait around for supernovas, let alone harvest them.

Of course, this is purely academic. It matters not.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Geothermal comes from a combination of the hot core of the Earth, which is primordial, and possibly radioactive decay in the mantle. One might argue that the Earth aggregated all of this because of gravity, but that's not a strong argument, while it is probably a valid argument for tidal energy, as that steals directly from the kinetic energy of the Earth-Moon system.

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### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Before reading all the other replies, replying to this in the OP:

Does anyone have any ideas on how to change the narrative from "methane causes global warming" to "retail harvest of contemporary methane can be a big part of the solution"?

I've worked in biogas for a few years. As long as natural gas is harvested, biomethane (=methane derived from anaerobic digestion and treated so it is technically indistinguishable from natural gas) will always be far more expensive. You want to look at biogas as part of a comprehensive waste strategy, and for this you need to force waste producers like farms to have a waste strategy in the first place. Or you make fossile fuel use more expensive with a carbon tax, then biomethane is attractive because you can use existing machinery and infrastructure.

Start treating lagoons, manure pits, landsite etc. as emitters and force the operators to do something about it (don't know how this works in the US right now. Are all oyur landsites covered?). Not only methane also ammonia and H2S come from manure. The moment you need to cover your manure pit because of emissions, you are a quarter way there for a biogas plant. Note that the narrative will be "Methane cause global warming, that's why we rather creat it in a controlled way and make the best use of it".

For farmers: The fertilizer content stays practically the same during gasification. AD slurry has been shown to be better for the soil than undigested manure, despite the TOC beeing reduced. Reduced TS content makes handling a bit easier.

Find a way to subsidize gas to grid installations with upgrading. There's quite a few of those in Germany (tiny country, tight grid). Methane storage costs astronomically, you really want to use a national grid as your storage tank. How far is the average farm in the US from a gas grid connection, is this feasible?

Here's another angle, relevant for large meat/dairy/eggs producing farms:
If you have a lot of those in your area, they will import feedstock from farther away, concentrating nutrients (in the form of manure) in the area. This often leads to overapplication of fertilizer nearby because trucking tons of manure far away costs money. So you get nitrate and phospe immisions into your groundwater - exactly this is happening ight now in northwestern germany. There are ways to create a concentrated fertilizer worth shipping from manure but IMo they all should start with anaerobic digestion as this mineralizes organic N. So biogas can be part of a comprehensive nutrient management strategy. But you must force the farmers to adopt good practices.
How is the status here in the US, who's stopping farmers from overapplying fertilizer?

For municipal solid waste:
Therre are ways to separate MSW in a wet, organic-rich fraction and a dry fraction suitable as RDF (google dbtechnologies, Finsterwalder Biosqueeze, Wackerbauer or Hybag separation mill). AD of MSW before putting it in a landsite takes care of a lot of the landsite emissions. Depends of course on how your MSW looks like, don't know the US.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
MartinLe,
As always, this kind of change is all about the details. My assumption was that over time (50 years?, 200 years?, I don't know) the cost of finding and developing fossil fuels will get get too expensive, whatever that means at the time. That process will not be a black and white, go-no go condition, it will be an evolution. For 150 years shale gas was too expensive to develop. Then prices of natural gas got to the point where it was reasonable for smart people to start considering ways to make shale gas development make sense. My feeling is that when (not if) that happens again, it will become reasonable for smart people to start thinking about harvesting hydrates and biogas. I don't think that ham-handed government intervention in the form of additional taxes on fossil fuel will do nearly as much good as the harm it will inevitably do, just like government subsidies for wind and solar are doing far more harm than good.

Just like when I first started deploying solar panels to remote wellsites, PV Solar was outrageously expensive and terribly delicate. Serving that market for 20+ years caused the manufacturers to improve reliability and reduce costs pretty steadily. Then the government stepped in and turned an evolving technology into a gold rush and a political football that everyone gets to play with. I expect biogas production to continue to evolve for remote and isolated sites and all of the issues you raise to be be nibbled at over the next century or two. By the time the technology is required for grid-scale deployment it will have matured to be a reasonable alternative. Getting from where we are to the next step does not require a step change in knowledge, it just requires engineering.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Ooops, I thought you wanted an answer for today not for 2216. My bad, must have missed that in the OP. I also missed where you pointed out that the change in narrative you asked for is meaningless because the market will take care of everything anyway.
Why did you start this thread?

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

IRStuff: exactly. Geothermal heat comes from both its primordial heat and radioactive decay of elements in the core and mantle- both of which are vast but not limitless energy sources. The same with the fissile materials which can be mined or extracted from seawater, and I guess if the dream of controlled fusion here on earth ever comes to fruition, so too with the deuterium. Will we get hydrogen fusion (rather than deuterium/tritium fusion) to work here on earth one day? Too long in the future for me to worry about.

Same with tides: there has to be some gravitational drag on the moon from doing work on the earth's oceans, otherwise we're talking about a violation of the 1st law. Limitless on the human timescale? Absolutely.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
MartinLe,
Good question. The current narrative (that I would love to find a way to change) is "Fossil fuels are bad. The ONLY solution is wind and solar. We have to be ready with 100% wind and solar when the fossil fuels run out [implied next week]". I would like to replace it with "Fossil fuels are finite, but we don't have clue one when they will run out, it won't be soon. When they do begin to run out we will be able to replace them by harvesting hydrates and biofuels without the need for grid-scale wind and solar".

I expect the currently producing shale plays to last the rest of this century. Known, but undeveloped shale and CBM plays around the world get us another 100-200 years, but these resources are more expensive to develop than the stuff we are currently using. During the the time that we are producing those resources, we will be evolving biofuels just to manage the space required for waste if nothing else. Somewhere during the next couple of centuries the cost of fossil fuels and biofuels will come together.

My real hope is that with information we can stop or slow the current irrational race to grid-scale wind and solar which have no place in our mainstream energy mix ever. Both have niches where they are a fantastic choice, but the middle 90% ain't it.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

One comment from above "But you must force the farmers to adopt good practices.", which is true, and some states have in the form of limiting how much manure can be applied per size of land.

Part of the issue of methane production is the other gases in what many are calling their product. This mainly is CO2, and SO2. CO2 was going to happen anyway, but in some cases being about 50% of the product it limits the heat content.
The Sulfur if stripped from the SO2 can be a valuable resource for many crop productions, but it is in such small supply, and makes the product gas corrosive.

The other issue with methane production is size scale to serve more than a small town.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

zdas04,

#### Quote (zdas04)

The current narrative (that I would love to find a way to change) is "Fossil fuels are bad. The ONLY solution is wind and solar. We have to be ready with 100% wind and solar when the fossil fuels run out [implied next week]". I would like to replace it with "Fossil fuels are finite, but we don't have clue one when they will run out, it won't be soon
That’s not the current narrative. The driver behind moving from fossil fuels to “renewables” is not because we think fossil fuels are going to run out soon, it’s emissions. Of course you disagree with both drivers but you’re arguing against phantoms to frame the conversation as the former.

That being said, the sentiment that we need information to cut through irrationality is a good one. From both extremes, there is far too much ideological baggage that clouds proper solutions. For example, to expect grid-scale wind and solar be ready to handle our load tomorrow is nonsense. To expect grid-scale wind and solar to “have no place in our mainstream energy mix ever” is as well.

MartinLe,

#### Quote (MartinLe)

because the market will take care of everything anyway.
It’s a magical thing that Market. Or so I’ve been told.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

The market isn't magical. It's an evolutionary framework, guided only by natural selection.

Steve

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
rconnor,
I do believe it is the narrative. Once again we can agree to disagree. I have no idea what you mean by "arguing against phantoms", but I'm sure it is important to you. I just can't work up the energy to try to ponder it out.

I've recently done the research and it looks like natural biological processes are putting about 5 TSCF/day into the atmosphere. The environment has been doing that for several hundred million years. Since current world-wide methane production from Oil & Gas is 0.33 TSCF/day I'd say that pollution and air emissions from fossil fuels are a bogeyman made of whole cloth to fit the narrative I described.

The only way that wind and solar have a place on the grid is if we have a political agenda. Otherwise we have to provide storage (whose capability does not exist) or we have to install redundant reliable power that has to run in standby to meet the "5 minute requirement" that utilities are legally mandated to meet (i.e., they have to be able to recover from an outage within 5 minutes some defined percentage of the time). You could look at my engineering.com article on the Orkney Islands to see an example of how stupid the current politically-motivated thinking really is. Without having the mainland grid for a source/sink on a continuous basis those islands would be dark most of the time.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

I think you know this, but a reminder might be needed.

The issue with the power grid is not renewable or not, it is if it can be dispatched or not.
The issue is wind and solar, for the most part, is it can't be dispatched. FF's can be dispatched.

Having said that, there are some resources that are renewable (or debatable) and can be quickly dispatched. These are mainly hydro units that are also used to control water flow. These can be ramped up for short periods, and backed off as needed without greatly changing the water levels (if used correctly). So there is some room for cost effective wind and solar.

Energy storage, from what I have seen is around 50% efficient, or you put in twice as much as you expect to get out.
If you add energy storage to a high cost renewable energy storage, then we should be asking is this the best for keeping costs low to meet the customer demands?

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

zdas04 (Mechanical)
(OP)
20 Jun 16 23:03
"Panther140,
The sunlight falling on the earth over the last couple of billion years sets the upper limit on the amount of energy available. "

Right, amount of energy available =/= Sustainable consumption rate.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
The only grid-scale storage that comes close to working is pumped hydro, but when you factor in evaporation the power out vs. power to pump numbers are closer to 20% than 50%. Batteries don't come close. The exotic fly wheel constructs are way too small.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

does "dispatched", as cranky is using it, have a special meaning to you sparky folks ?

There are several water storage power stations. I thought their baseline efficiency was pretty marginal (you only recover a small amount of the energy you expend storing the water). I thought their primary value as in allowing the mainline power stations to run with a constant load and so be (way) more efficient.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
rb1957,
Commercial nuclear power plants have very low U-235 enrichment levels (compared to ships) and consequently change power pretty slowly. This means that they do not respond well to swings in load. To compensate for this, many nuclear power plants level-load their process by pumping water up the hill during slack times and running it back through turbines during slow times. Because of the nature of low-enrichment nuclear power, if they didn't use this power it would be wasted so they are using a waste product to store part of the power generated. Any power they get back, regardless of overall efficiency, is a plus in that they didn't have to change the status of the reactor to get it. Bottom line of this scheme is that having the pumped storage does not increase the refueling frequency (or therefore the amount of fuel added). The only cost to anyone is the capital requirements of the pump/generator station and minimal maintenance.

Hydro, coal, and natural gas plants can change demand pretty quickly so there is no real benefit to adding 20% efficient storage to a 70% efficient (for natural gas combined cycle) process, plus it would increase your fuel usage.

If you try pumped storage with solar you'll find that you get about 20% of the pumping power back in the form of generated power, so if you had a solar panel dedicated to pumped storage then on the equinox you would run out of water around 8:00 pm if you were trying to level load the system. Wind power is even less predictable.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

zdas04,

#### Quote (zdas04)

I have no idea what you mean by "arguing against phantoms"
You’re arguing against a position that no one really holds, therefore you’re arguing against something that isn’t there (i.e. phantoms). It’s kind of like a straw man except that I don’t think you are purposefully creating a weakened or extreme version of the position to attack, just a misguided one.

With regards to the Orkney Islands, I really don’t disagree with you but this time I think you’re arguing against a straw man. No one that knows what they are talking about believes that solar and wind alone can handle the world’s energy needs. It is understood that a very diverse energy portfolio is required. Wind and solar are expected to play a much larger role but with base load power (hydro, nuclear and maybe natural gas in the short term), more storage potential and a more interconnected grid. On top of that, we need to drastically cut demand growth. We also cannot expect this to happen anytime soon, it will take time to develop the technology and change the grid.

At the end of the day, cutting out the rhetoric proliferated by both extremes in this topic is required. I agree with you that dropping the pie-in-the-sky style thinking about wind and solar is needed. But so is dropping the short sighted thinking that they “have no place in our mainstream energy mix ever”.

(As to your accounting of natural versus anthropogenic emissions, you ignore natural sinks. A simple mass balance explains why human sources are responsible for the increase in atmospheric concentrations. But likely we’ll agree to disagree.)

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

"Hydro, coal, and natural gas plants can change demand pretty quickly" - what does 'pretty quickly' mean here?
correct me if I'm wrong, hydro and natural gas can change power within seconds to single digit minutes while with coal it's more hours to days.

Agree with the above (rconnor & moltenmetal) that the future energy mix and usage will look vastly different and there's no way around drastic reduction in demand. The existing natural gas grid and infrastructure may remain useful, IDK. But the more interesting question is how to make the best use of the power we can generate renewably in abundance, and that seems to be wind and solar electricity.

p.s. This is a plant that delivers 700Nm³/h biomethane to the grid. Also produces ammonia sulfate fertilizer, it's own electricity and then some.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

You aren't wrong MartinLe, I think 24 hours is typical to change the output of coal plant. They are baseload generating capacity, often utilities with mostly coal generating capacity have a few natural gas plants as well.

zdas, it's hard to fathom you did so much research on methane emissions and are completely ignorant of the methane cycle. There is naturally occurring methane (a large amount as you so correctly surmised) that provides part of the greenhouse effect that keeps us from freezing, and later degrades into water vapour (this is important for our climate), and carbon dioxide (returns to the carbon cycle). No one has ever claimed that there wasn't methane released into the atmosphere before, just like no one believes that humans are the sole reason there is CO2 in the air around us. These are important climatic gases, and by changing their concentration, we change the climate. By your numbers alone, the oil and gas industry accounts for an increase in 7% of methane emissions over naturally occurring emissions, and there are the added impacts of agriculture on top of this.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

I believe what I see is some people discussing power plant ramp rates, and steam plants (coal, gas or other) don't ramp very fast (as in a few percent every hour). Gas turbines (using gas, oil, or other liquid/gas) do have a faster ramp rate than steam plants. Hydro plants are very fast at ramp rates, but there are not as many as people assume. IC engines (oil or gas) maybe some of the fastest ramp rates, but are not generally thought of as very efficient. Combined cycle plants tend to be a blend of steam and gas turbines, which have a blended ramp rate as each part is different.

Now with large amounts of wind or solar that can go from full output to zero in seconds, what is the best backup for that?

The other issue is the start up times for each of the power plant types.

So to be able to back up wind or solar with an efficient power plant, that plant needs to be on-line (at some base level), have extra capacity (not fully in use), and have a size that the ramp rate can cover in a reasonable time.
Or you can have energy storage.

So how much of a power plant do you want to have sitting idle so you can be using wind or solar?

And I am not trying to be negative on solar or wind, but realistic in stating there are limits on how much the grid can support.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
rconnor,
I have never in my live seen someone so arrogant with so little cause. Your insulting link to "And then there's Physics" is, well, insulting. Written by someone who is quite certain that you can win any argument by simply putting a derivative in an equation. All of the "without us nature would be in balance" discussions ignore three facts: (1) nature does not do balance, nature does change towards lower entropy over the long haul; (2) climate changes on a geologic time scale, not on a human time scale; and (3) nature is putting something on the order of 5 TSCF/day of methane into the biosphere, man is putting about 20 MSCF/day according to GlobalMethane.org, so you are saying that a sink that has no problem with 5 TSCF/day cannot deal with adding 0.0000004%.

The "balance of nature" is just romantic nonsense that really does not have a place in rational discussion.

The earth has been dealing with the rise and fall of species for over 4 billion years, but the AGW discussion has focused on the last 40 years, If geologic time were a year, we've been "industrialized" for 0.5 second, Mother Earth can hold her breath that long without noticing. Before you say that a nuclear explosion only lasts a few nanoseconds, I must remind you that Nagasaki and Hiroshima are thriving, vibrant communities today, we gave it our "best" and nature simply shrugged it off.

Accusing me of "ignoring natural sinks" is an infuriating indication that your mind was as closed to reason on this subject as it seems to be on all others. I didn't "ignore natural sinks" I was simply analyzing sources. No where in that paper did I even hint that I cared where the methane went once produced. The purpose of the document was to be the opening section of my chapter on Reservoirs in the book I am writing. Simply sources. Sinks is a different discussion that was not germane to my goal. You might as well have chastised me for not talking about celebrity hair styles. Of course there are sinks, otherwise we would have a methane atmosphere and would have evolved differently or not at all.

The thing in your post that caused me to lose sleep last night in my rage was:

#### Quote (rconnor)

No one that knows what they are talking about believes that solar and wind alone can handle the world’s energy needs.

If I thought there was any point to it I could link dozens of pal-reviewed papers from respected journals (i.e., the 21st century's yellow journalism) that claim exactly that. The claim is made in journals and repeated in the main stream media every day that "wind has become less expensive than natural gas" and Peru (or the Orkney Islands or the Bavarian state of Germany) has moved to 100% "renewable". Always with the strong implication that the source is wind and solar without pointing out that those sources are kind of close to zero on calm nights. The spin, hype, and unsupported rhetoric is convincing the populace that the current "war on coal" and the imminent "war on fossil fuels" is somehow doing a good thing. It is doing a horrible thing in the name of made-up hysteria.

As I've said on many occasions, I am a user of solar and have used wind FOR APPROPRIATE LOADS. The grid needs reactive sources to deal successfully with reactive loads. If I increase or decrease the load on a steam turbine, inertia acts to keep the power frequency constant. If I increase the load on an inverter, frequency drops. That breaks stuff. Wind and solar have a place in the world, absolutely. They have no place as a pseudo-source for the power grid. Ever. This discussion would not have even taken place without the political hysteria around AGW. I have talked to dozens of power engineers and every one of them says that their conventional fuel costs, total emissions of real pollutants, and downtime are significantly higher BECAUSE of wind and solar being grid-connected. This says to me that the incentives to connect these sources to the grid only exist in a political fairy land. Without the politics, the power companies save the fuel, save the emissions of real pollutants, and minimize downtime by never connecting this stuff to the grid. Ever.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
Canwesteng,
I would certainly like to know how you could make statement

#### Quote:

By your numbers alone, the oil and gas industry accounts for an increase in 7% of methane emissions over naturally occurring emissions, and there are the added impacts of agriculture on top of this
.

Nature produces 5 TSCF/day. The oil & Gas industry produces 0.332 TSCF/day. PRODUCES, not RELEASES. Mankind's total release of methane to the atmosphere is on the order of 0.00000000020 TSCF/day (20 MSCF/day). The rest of the natural gas produced goes into heating your home, generating your hot water, providing your electricity. Possibly wasteful in certain people's case, but generally seen as beneficial.

As to how long it takes a coal plant to respond to changes in load, you have to include magnitude of change. I asked a power engineer who was presenting to a NSPE meeting last week and he said that 30% swings are no problem in his coal fired plant. Swings bigger than that require bringing standby equipment on line (takes about 15 minutes) or starting up a cold boiler (about a day). He has been working in that coal plant for 18 years and has never once had to bring on a cold boiler in emergency mode, they always have notice of swings bigger than 30% of their 700 MW plant (because people with that kind of load don't want to take the grid down and have to do their start up again).

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

IRstuff and moltenmetal - My mistake on geothermal. I thought I had read/learned that it was the continuous churning of magma (friction) that kept the interior hot - churning that is caused directly or indirectly by the gravity of the earth and sun. According to this article, I was not entirely wrong, but this motion only accounts for a small fraction of produced heat. Most of the heat (~90%) comes from radioactive decay. On the bright side, I learned something today.

http://phys.org/news/2006-03-probing-earth-core.ht...

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

I find it curious that the article claims the metal core is expanding as it cools, rather than shrinking as it cools. Was I asleep that day in physics class?

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

My mistake on misinterpreting your numbers then.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

zdas04,

#### Quote (zdas04)

so you are saying that a sink that has no problem with 5 TSCF/day cannot deal with adding 0.0000004%.
Apparently. But maybe it's just coincidence.

#### Quote (zdas04)

(2) climate changes on a geologic time scale, not on a human time scale
Normally, yes. That makes all the recent changes in climate (CO2 and methane atmospheric concentrations, global temperatures, OHC, sea ice loss, glacier loss, sea level, etc.), that's happen on human time scales, so darn strange. But maybe it's just coincidence.

But I know, I know, all this evidence is trash, an entire field of experts, journals and academic institutions are corrupt and you are correct. Please excuse my arrogance. I don't want to steer the topic away from your original point, so let's return to the topic of "renewables".

#### Quote (zdas04)

If I thought there was any point to it I could link dozens of pal-reviewed papers from respected journals
Please link me one that says solar and wind alone could supply the world's energy. Sure maybe they argue "renewables" could but that includes things other than solar and wind alone.

#### Quote (zdas04)

I have talked to dozens of power engineers and every one of them says that their conventional fuel costs, total emissions of real pollutants, and downtime are significantly higher BECAUSE of wind and solar being grid-connected.
My anecdotes, from working in utilities, are different than yours. But anecdotes are anecdotes, let's just say our mileage varies.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

30% swings on coal plants are based on the plant size. So for a 700MW plant it can swing 210 MW, provided it is not running above 490 MW. A 150 MW plant swings only 45 MW in the same example.

I don't think you honestly believe we should limit wind or solar power to 30% of the FF generator size. Besides why would a company leave 30% of their investment floating if the wind or solar power costs more?

Most likely if a 30% swing can be expected there would be a simple cycle gas turbine waiting. This is a much less efficient unit, and has a high cost of start up (for the size).

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

cranky, the problem is going to be exactly the opposite one: who is going to run their fossil fueled power plant, much less build one, when power can be obtained with zero fuel cost from a built renewables unit like a windmill or solar panel array?

We already got rid of all our coal plants in Ontario. And good riddance to them. Yes, we kept a couple northern ones and run them on biomass as zdas04 mentioned, but that's more a political and local grid issue than it is one of broader energy policy.

Deployable demand (i.e. EV chargers) and demand suppression (i.e. remote control of air conditioners to shed peak load) along with storage and likely broader grids are going to be necessary to deal with solar and wind intermittency, but gas peakers are also part of the equation and will be for a long time.

Here we have a lot of hydro (typically about 30% of our grid power), but apparently only a few of them are designed for peak regulation.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

A supergrid is needed. If energy can be shuttled cross country the dips and peaks are handled by controlling flow, and linking these systems with short term weather prediction systems enables a degree of delivery to be high reliability. That is the start. Take power where available and deliver it to where it is needed.

Yeah it will be very expensive.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Sounds like a great way for the federal government to squeeze us by the balls even harder, 2dye4. You know what we actually need as humans? Go ask the Amish. The end.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Supergrid. Is that like the coming (already here) cloud? First they control your computer........

Back to the subject: Is computing power a resource? Renewable?

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

SuperGrid sounds like a way to increase the losses from transporting power. Also an increase in instability.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
The deep thinkers that I've talked to at Los Alamos National Laboratory see the future direction as more, smaller generation stations (mostly combined cycle) distributed everywhere. Their problem with the Soviet one-huge-station model is that a single outage drops too much capacity for loads to be shunted to other sources and you get major disruptions from a minor glitch. With a vastly distributed (and interconnected) network these guys think that a single plant outage becomes self-correcting. They seem to think that the SuperGrid idea is one that needs to die. I was quite unable to follow all of their reasoning, but this isn't my area of expertise.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

cranky108,

Improvements in transmission and controls limit these issues, but they are still definitely there. In North America, NERC/FERC works on improving the reliability of the bulk power grid. Much of the regulation was driven from past mistakes such as the Northeast blackout in 2003 that lead to the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

We already have interconnections that could be considered quasi-Super Grids. For example, Minnesota gets a chunk of its power (>10%) from hydro dams on the Nelson River in Northern Manitoba but this also allows Manitoba to receive power from Minnesota during extended droughts. Short-term/day markets allow for, as an example, sales of surplus power during high water periods, that would otherwise be spilled.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

2
rconnor,
Are you intending to lecture me on NERC/FERC regulations? Or do you want me to tell you about the paperwork mess NERC/FERC regulations really are?

Are you also trying to tell me how the power grid works? Or would you like me to tell you how local generation is more efficient than remote generation? How accountants believe cheaper power is more important than potential voltage collapse?

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

cranky108, I wasn't aware this was your wheelhouse but I see that it is. Sorry if it sounded patronizing but no lecture was intended.

My point is really that while instability is an issue (I said "[those problems] are definitely still there"), it isn't insurmountable; we already have a fairly large, interconnected grid (and it seems to work well enough...and is getting better). I agree that it would be great to pluck down generation right next to the use but that isn't always possible (technologically, financially or socially). Furthermore, there is benefit to a diverse and interconnected grid - it allows you to handle outages (all sources), droughts (for hydro), fuel price spikes (for coal/natural gas), calm days (for wind) and cloudy days (for solar).

I agree with what you said in the last post. NERC is a mess of paper work (but I'd argue that it does add reliability and stability to the grid at the end of the day though). I also agree that local generation is more efficient (however access to power from other areas and sources is beneficial). I agree that the (short sighted) profiteering of energy trading can cause issues (but that's kind of what NERC protects against). Yes, system stability is a major concern (but so is failure of local generation without the interconnectedness of the grid). And yes, when it comes to routing transmission lines, NIMBYism is a huge factor (no but or however there!).

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

The big problem is government (including NERC/FERC) over reaching and micro management in the energy markets.

The push for a limited number of "renewable" solutions is some goal (I don't need to go there).

The real answer is that we need a good mix of energy solutions, and the economics is the guide that most reasonable company managers use to decide that mix. Changing the economics by taxes or tax incentives is government influence (at the least).

But back to renewable means, that it will grow or renew itself on a human time frame (after all coal and oil are forms of stored sun light).

So why is wood not being pushed as a renewable? It's not like they aren't being burned anyway.

NERC/FERC have done some good, but it has cost the consumers in the wallet, and what is the true value added? Can that value be measured?

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
cranky108,
Wood is the darkest of dark little secrets in the world of "government power management". It is nearly impossible to get enough oxygen into the combustion process so the CO numbers from wood fires are so bad that no industrial process in the world would be allowed to use it without significant permissions to violate a country's version of the Clean Air Act. Same with particulate matter. Same with ash disposal. Large scale wood burning is seen by actual environmental scientists as a truly horrible idea. Global warming zealots tout it as renewable and brag about using (gasoline powered) chain saws, (gasoline powered) log splitters, and (gasoline powered) hauling equipment to save the planet from fossil fuel use. The last few years in Germany have required the Army to guard the Black Forest from city folks walking into the woods with wheel barrows and (hand powered) cross-cut saws to save themselves from energy poverty, this model does reduce fossil fuel imports, but the air is becoming pretty nasty again.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

So is wood burning cleaner than forest fires?

What happens if you don't cut your lawn because you don't want to use gasoline?

Where does all the coal ash presently go?

My point is the issues you brought up can be solved. We just need the will to do so.
Maybe extending the solar tax incentives to wood.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Cranky108,

#### Quote (cranky108)

The big problem is government (including NERC/FERC) over reaching
I work in a market that is likely much different than yours but likely with much more government involvement (Crown Corp). At times, some very big and very silly decisions can be driven from the government, which can be flipped (to an equally silly decision) by the next government. As an example, my whole department is now in limbo due to the government trying to solve an “optics” problem that doesn’t really exist. So I do understand this well.

However, even in an area of relatively extreme government involvement, the actual impact on reliability and stability is not noticeably negative. In fact, I would say more attention is paid to reliability and stability than in other jurisdictions because, ultimately, we are responsible to the Province, not shareholders. We also enjoy, due to good natural resources, some of the lowest rates in North America.

Government involvement can cause us a TON of headaches but, from an outside perspective, I don’t see it as being noticeably negative (and could be slightly positive). Again, this is my experience in my jurisdiction, your mileage will vary.

#### Quote (cranky108)

The push for a limited number of "renewable" solutions is some goal (I don't need to go there).
I will, of course, argue that the goal is not a political one but one pushed from the science. You, of course, will disagree. As you said, we needn’t go there. But ultimately, this conversation will always come back to this disagreement because, without factoring in the externalities, fossil fuels will beat renewables. So, of course if you reject or ignore the externalities, the push for renewables seems silly.

#### Quote (cranky108)

Changing the economics by taxes or tax incentives is government influence (at the least).
I don’t disagree. I do, however, feel that government influence may be required to have utilities worry about things other than their bottom line. I feel that Enron and the 2003 blackout are two examples of why it’s needed. Again, I feel you will disagree.

#### Quote (cranky108)

So why is wood not being pushed as a renewable?
Deforestation and air quality. On small scales, it’s not bad. As a major component of our energy generation, it’s likely not so smart.

#### Quote (cranky108)

NERC/FERC have done some good, but it has cost the consumers in the wallet, and what is the true value added? Can that value be measured?
Some information here.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

#### Quote (zdas04)

Global warming zealots tout [wood fuel] as renewable
To insinuate that “Global warming zealots” promote wood fuel is just plain wrong.

Greenpeace perhaps best suits the epithet “global warming zealots”. Here’s what Greenpeace has to say about wood fuel.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Sure: after it's installed and running, you can't see the smoke.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

I notice that no one said anything about my comment about "human time frame".

I would also like to point out that the bottom line comment does not apply, as many utilities are non-profit governmental service companies.

Truthfully, the number of western fires could be reduced by even limited cutting to create fire breaks, possible fire lines, and even just the removal of some fuel. But I also agree that clear cutting of all ground cover is going too far.

I also don't believe all the energy to construct wind or solar farms comes from "Renewable" sources like is stated as a negative for wood energy. And by the way, the energy for constructing power lines is also likely not from renewable sources.

NERC/FERC should be taking a view that dispatchable and deverse energy is more valued over other sources so as to add to the stability of the power grid. But those are not the political games that are being played.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
rconnor,
I have been in meetings with Greenpeace, Wild Earth Guardians, Sierra Club, etc. and every e-NGO present took strong exception to the term "zealot" being applied to them. Just saying.

The "zealots" I was talking about go to social media sites like CFACT on Facebook and proclaim in all caps that they are fixing the environment by buying their kids Prius' and heating with wood.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

I don't see the purpose in buying a Prius, mainly because I need a truck to carry the wood to my house.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

rconnor ... i couldn't open your link ... well, it did open but only a grey pdf ... i looked on the site, but couldn't see anything that'd get your link quickly.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

cranky108,

#### Quote (cranky108)

I would also like to point out that the bottom line comment does not apply, as many utilities are non-profit governmental service companies.
Except for the big ones… (The top 10 largest utilities in the US are all investor owned)

#### Quote (cranky108)

NERC/FERC should be taking a view that…
NERC/FERC do not drive what types of generation are installed. So they have little say in these “political games”.

zdas04,

#### Quote (zdas04)

every e-NGO present took strong exception to the term "zealot" being applied to them.

I thought you were talking about some relevant group that has some kind of influence and authority in this discussion, so I chose Greenpeace because it’s one of the more extreme viewpoints that is relevant (giving you the benefit of the doubt).

By the way, I think the term you used for those e-NGO’s was “anti-humans”. Would they take exception to that term?

#### Quote (zdas04)

The "zealots" I was talking about go to social media sites
What possible use would it be to bring up random extreme views found on social media? Again, you’re arguing against random, extreme positions that are not representative of the core views of the other side of the debate.

The point of the matter is that the core of the other side of the debate does not see wood fuel as “clean energy”, to insinuate otherwise is wrong. To say that “well, some guy on facebook said it was!” is a straw man.

rb1957,
All the links work for me (it does take a while to load). Which link are you referring to? If NERC, search “NERC state of reliability 2015” and it should be one of the first hits. If Greenpeace, search “Greenpeace wood fuel” or “Greenpeace Fuelling a BioMess”.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

"So why is wood not being pushed as a renewable?"

Probably because we can't grow enough trees to support even a tiny portion of our energy needs. Wood has 1/5th the energy density of oil, so if we're using 20 million barrels of oil per day, we would need to increase worldwide wood production by 50%, just for US needs.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

the greenpeace one was just a grey screen (of a pdf)

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
rconnor,
They took exception to that one too. They arrived (with a half dozen lawyers for each group of course) to give comments about a subject that collectively they had no knowledge of, just outrage and invective. My response was to say "in spite of the anti-human sentiments presented by the environmental zealots, we simply cannot repeal the laws of physics" they objected. Some people just have thin skins.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

zdas04:
"The last few years in Germany have required the Army to guard the Black Forest from city folks walking into the woods with wheel barrows and (hand powered) cross-cut saws to save themselves from energy poverty, this model does reduce fossil fuel imports, but the air is becoming pretty nasty again."
citation needed. Seems dubious, domestic use of the Bundeswehr has constitutional barriers. Googling the relevant terms turned up nothing in german media.

btw, the claim about CO and wood seemed also dubious so I checked the TA Luft - wood 15g/m³, oil 80mg/m³. what the heck. Maybe a sensible exception for small residential stoves, but large power plants not so much.
FWIW, my impression was also that the larger e-NGOs and many activists are deeply sceptical on mass biomass use.

I think the current darling among biomass plants is miscanthus (elefant grass), with 10-25t/ha dry matter possible in temeperate climates. Miscanthus as fuel has all the problems of wood and then some, the silica and ash content is higher and the melting temp. of the slag is lower.
Miscanthus is close to wood in caloric value, 4,5kWh/kg so @15t DM/ha a we have 67,5MWh/ha a. On that ha we could have 200-300kWp photovoltaics.

My takeaway: Biomass won't supplant fossiles at anything near the magnitude we burn them now.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

When we are talking about wood gas or wood fuel, lets look at this differently.

Call it Biomass or Syngas. It doesn't have to come from wood. I can run an engine on my neighbor's garbage.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

So am I seeing wood being pushed off on the basis of there is not enough of it? Seems like people are looking for a single solution, and not like the several solutions we have now (coal, oil, gas, hydro, etc).

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

As was already mentioned, wood is currently being burned in a few converted coal power plants in Ontario. Not without its problems of course, but the pulp and paper guys are very interested in doing something with their feedstock other than making paper. The trouble is that a forest scrubbed of biomass for burning or fuel conversion use isn't sustainable- you need to get the nutrient mineral content back onto the land to have a hope, but there are other problems when you try to treat a natural ecosystem that way.

Biomass does have a couple legitimate fuels uses in a post-fossil economy, primarily to replace jet fuel with a renewable non-fossil source. Most of the other fuels uses are either marginal (i.e. burning wood- makes sense where sufficient wood is plentiful very nearby), inefficient due to the energy cost of drying and transport of the feedstock (i.e. anything using corn stover etc.), or result in essentially the burning of food (whether that be human food i.e. corn to ethanol, or animal food i.e. waste vegetable oils to biodiesel) for at most a very modest improvement in CO2 emissions.

Biomass also has significant, though limited, legitimate chemical feedstock uses. I'm still a big advocate of saving our fossil carbon resources for this use, burning those precious non-renewable materials only after we've gotten a couple product lifecycles out of them.

The amusing thing is that corn ethanol plants don't generate steam to run their equipment by burning cellulosic biomass: they generally burn natural gas. They do this for the same reason that heavy oil upgraders in Alberta don't gasify petroleum coke to make the hydrogen they need (although they certainly could)- there is insufficient cost advantage to make the trouble worthwhile. Why? Gas is cheap. You can think of both processes as somewhat economically sensible "gas to liquids" schemes, unlike most of the more "direct" GTL/XTL schemes (Fisher Tropsch, methanol/dimethyl ether to gasoline etc. etc.)

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

You can remove biomass from the forest an return the ashes to the land. This is sustainable as the carbon cycle will return that biomass to the land. Think of it as a forest fire, but instead of just letting a forest burn, we're powering our engines with it. Same net result for the forest. That wood IS going to be burned regardless of anything that we do.

See conservation of energy or mass. Then look into the carbon cycle. Unless the ashes are disposed of in the same manner as nuclear waste, then the cycles will continue with minimal effort from humans in facilitating that.

I do agree biogas is not the end-all solution (as our population currently sits). I also don't think there is an end-all solution. We're going to need an array of local energy sources. The only common denominator is solar energy.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Zdas04,

#### Quote (zdas04)

Some people just have thin skins.
Indeed. Some people even lose sleep after being told that if they want to claim that anthropogenic methane emissions are negligible because natural emissions are orders of magnitudes larger, they really need to factor in sinks and atmospheric concentrations pre and post anthropogenic emissions before concluding such things.

#### Quote (zdas04)

we simply cannot repeal the laws of physics
Indeed. Although, you might need to in the following case...

#### Quote (zdas04, 19 Oct 12 09:52)

I absolutely dispute the "science" that claims that there even is a "greenhouse effect"
(Read here at 19 Oct 12 09:52 for context. The follow ups are entertaining. You’re probably right, though. I bet those anti-Venusian zealots made up all that stuff about the “greenhouse effect” there too! Excuse my arrogance.)

• You framed the push for “renewables” as driven from resource scarcity of fossil fuels. I disagree. The push for “renewables” is driven from the impact of emission of fossil fuels. I understand you disagree with the science behind this but, as I said to cranky108, if you ignore the externalities, then there is no conversation to be had. Your framing allows you to ignore or categorically reject many arguments. Actually, your framing allows you to be right by default - it’s a great conversational tactic!
• This is important when discussing biofuels. If you think that the driver is fuel scarcity, then biofuels look like a great solution. However, if you think that the driver is emissions, then biofuels become a bit more complicated. Some are better than others (ex. by-products of other activities as fuel > fuel for the sake of fuel) and it likely won’t be able to be a very wide scale solution (but definitely could be a part of the mix).
• Your view that grid-scale wind and solar “have no place in our mainstream energy mix ever” appears, to me, to be somewhere between short-sighted and wrong. We already have fairly large installations, and they are growing. They have problems, of course, as does any new technology. If, you ignore emissions, then the need for wind and solar is limited. Again, I return to the issue of how you’ve framed the conversation.
• You’ve also incorrectly caricaturized the other side of the debate as pushing for “wind and solar alone”. This is not true but, again, it makes it very easy for you to attack it. In reality, the other side of the debate understands that a very diverse energy portfolio, beyond just wind and solar alone, is required to meet the demand while reducing emissions.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(OP)
rconnor,
I actually enjoy your ability to spin an indefensible argument into something that almost appears rational. Keeps old brains agile.

There is a significant difference between "repealing the laws of nature" and "I absolutely dispute the "science" that claims that there even is a "greenhouse effect"". No one with any respect for the language at all would ever claim that the "greenhouse effect" as proposed by Arrhenius in 1896 and unmodified in any significant way since should have the status of a "law of physics". Arrhenius' theory was that gases in the atmosphere act as a trap to selected wave lengths of energy, "just like a physical greenhouse". What Fourier, Bohr, and others explained long ago, physical greenhouses work by restricting mass transfer, not selective wave lengths. I've read both the original paper and the refutations and find the refutations much more compelling. I reject the theory. I don't reject the law of gravitation. Do you see the difference?

I never have (nor would I ever) claim that a scientist putting forth a hypotheses or a theory is "making stuff up", but that is a pretty turn of phrase that could be very effective at redirecting a conversation.

My huge problem is that the "Greenhouse Gas Theory" turns naturally occurring gasses into "pollutants". Period. Without hydrocarbons in the ecosystem, the microbes that evolved to consume them die off, and the organisms that evolved to eat the microbes die off, and so on until the wales die and we really want to "save the wales" don't we? Stop vilifying methane.

The other naturally occurring gas that is absolutely essential to all life on earth is being classed as a "pollutant" by the AGW narrative is produced by nature in incomprehensible volumes. CO2 is PLANT FOOD, not a pollutant. Even the Clean Air Act explicitly prohibits the EPA from classifying either CO2 or CH4 as "pollutants", but that hasn't stopped them from creating de facto pollutant categories even though they are prohibited from calling them de jure "pollutants". It is a horribly destructive game that if the AGW believers win, mankind is on a path to unsustainablity.

The e-NGO's and their puppet regulators would be working on water vapor regulations if they thought they could make water vapor the villain that they've made CO2 and methane. Water vapor as a "greenhouse gas" that is a far larger component of atmospheric gases than the other so-called "greenhouse gases", but that narrative is a much tougher sell so we keep ignoring that the theory requires water vapor for the math to pretend to work.

The line between "emissions" and "finite resources" gets blurred so often that I am generally unable to determine where one ends and the other begins. It usually goes "Global warming is caused by burning fossil fuels and since fossil fuels are finite we will eventually need to find an alternative, so why not now so we can save the planet?" You try very hard to separate the two issues because the rumors of Peak oil have been persistent since the 1970's. Sorry, but it is not selling. Without the "finite" part of the argument, the "warming" part doesn't get traction.

Finally, wind and solar sideshows are only happening because of ham-handed government interventions. When I started using PV solar panels, the industry was not subsidized and the e-NGO's were actually making noise about damage to the environment from mining the raw materials that went into some of the components. When the narrative shifted to "global-warming hysteria" they QUICKLY dropped the strip-mining argument and built a "renewable" bandwagon from whole cloth. Puppet regulators climbed on board with the assistance of stacks of cash and we have unsustainable mandates that power companies have to do net metering and the price of the equipment is subsidized by tax dollars. Without this obscene intervention, there never would have been the first step towards "wind farms" or "solar farms" that increase the real cost of power. In researching the Orkney Islands paper I came across a complaint from the rate payers in Ontario that the utility has to pay $0.22/kWh for power from solar panels in the middle of the day that the utility can't use and must sell into Michigan for$0.04/kWh only to buy back power from Michigan at night for $0.12/kWh. If I was a rate payer in Ontario I'd be pretty upset about that too (and no, MartinLE I am not going to provide you with a link to that discussion, I only respond to "provide a link" demands from paying customers, my hourly rate is$225 if you want me to do that research for you).

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

molten, Years ago there was an EPRI paper on whole tree burning, which went into what I thought was a novel concept about drying the trees prior to burning.

Note corn ethanol is typically made with field corn which is rarely eaten directly as a food. Most of it is used as feed for livestock. The process of making ethanol does not many of feed value from the corn, but usually leaves the corn mash wet. The wet mash if not used quickly will mold making it useless as a feed. So one of the largest loss of food value in the ethanol process is with the wet mash. (not that I am an expert, but from what I understand).

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Its not novel to dry wood before burning.

Livestock corn production competes with food production. Everything is renewable.

Use translation assistance for Engineers forum

Note the rules include No Student posting

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

(and no, MartinLE I am not going to provide you with a link to that discussion, I only respond to "provide a link" demands from paying customers, my hourly rate is $225 if you want me to do that research for you) I did my research and found nothing. You are spreading a lie. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) MartinLE, Or you are an incompetent researchers. I wonder which it is? If a person is unable to prove a concept does that make the concept wrong or does it mean that the person looking is too lazy or inept to see the obvious? David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Well, its not the Orkney Islands, but there were a significant amount of consumers taking up a high feed in tariff in Queensland, Australia of 44c/kWh that caused a few issues, so much so that it got withdrawn from offer for the utilities, and now a 6c/kWh tariff applies. Here is the reference for the tariff change. No surprises that the utility, or the end customers for that matter, didn't want overall higher electricity prices to subsidise the higher feed in rates for solar generated electricity. Having said that, having been involved in remote area power for a while now, the integration of renewables does seem quite applicable and certainly results in fuel consumption savings for the remote area. Trying to scale that up to grid size is quite difficult. It likely wouldn't have been anywhere near cost effective without the subsidies changing the market and lowering the overall cost for such platforms in the first place. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? zdas04, your claim: The last few years in Germany have required the Army to guard the Black Forest from city folks walking into the woods with wheel barrows and (hand powered) cross-cut saws to save themselves from energy poverty, this model does reduce fossil fuel imports, but the air is becoming pretty nasty again. is extraordinary because the german has no legal power to guard a forest, they have no say over civilians (exception Hausrecht, doesnt apply to the Schwarzwald) and may (strictly speaking) not even direct traffic. So I suggest you come up with at least ordinary evidence or shut up. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? cranky: I know we don't eat much field corn directly, but many (human) foods contain corn starch, liquid invert sugar and many other products derived from that same field corn. There may be other varieties grown for generating corn meal to make tortillas etc., but I suppose that depends on where that corn meal is being eaten. I also eat the tasty animals that are fed that field corn, so indirectly I'm eating about ten times as much of it- to me that's still "food". As to the brewers' grain plus extractables, the stuff left over after fermentation, it does have feed uses but it also takes energy to dry it as you've mentioned. In fact if you forget about this animal feed byproduct, you would draw the conclusion that making ethanol for fuels use is a net consumer of fossil fuels. When you consider the food value of the byproduct, corn ethanol is a modest saver of fossil CO2 emissions. As I said before, it's a kind of gas to liquid scheme as most of the heat energy tends to come from natural gas, a cleaner fuel in CO2 terms than petroleum due to the better H/C ratio. What puzzles me is that there is, or rather WAS when oil prices were double what they are now, all kinds of money being spent researching turning cellulosic biomass in the form of wheat straw, corn stover, sugarcane bagasse etc. into liquid fuels through complex chemical processes, and yet I'm unaware of a corn or sugarcane ethanol production facility that burns that same biomass to make steam. If others here know of any it would be interesting to know about. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I have heard of using bagasse as a fuel for boilers, but I had assumed it was for processing sugarcane. I still think it strange that corn is used to make ethanol, but not sugar beets, or other waste from fruit production. I am under the impression it is a regulation thing. In the past I saw a partnership between an ethanol plant and a city power plant where the waste heat from a gas turbine was used to make steam, and then again to dry the spent grain. It made it more efficient to ship the dry grain after it had been used. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Cranky, it was the corn lobby, at least here in the upper Midwest US. They have an enormous voice in congress. It is claimed that subsidies have now gone away, but I haven't researched it. It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? cranky, for once we agree. I too wonder about the emphasis on ethanol from corn when there are other sources of relatively high 'sugar' fermentable biomass. I suspect it's in big part to do with king Corn as ornery says, even if the direct subsidies have or do subside the hang over from the historical government support of Ccrn generally such as all the installed infrastructure, equipment, training/education/'what we're used to' etc. means it will be dominant for a long time. MartinLe I realize many of Zdas positions will rub you the wrong way (as a good few of them do me) and that you probably have English as a second language but I suggest you try to be a bit less confrontational in your manner, you may have noticed some of your swearing has already been edited out of an earlier post and there is a chance management will restrict your posting. Note that I say this as just another site member not a representative of site management, just trying to help you out. Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you) What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? ornerynorsk hit the nail on the head. Ethanol (like wind and solor) would never even have gotten off the ground without massive government intervention. But unlike wind and solar, Ethanol doesn't even have a plausible environmental or sustainability leg to stand on. The irony in the ethanol lobby is that it comes from those who otherwise claim to despise overreaching, interventionist government. It just proves that money and power are the only things that really drive energy policy, regardless of any science. With respect to the original question about "renewable energy", I would argue that ethanol does not fit the bill. Corn plants could be considered solar panels, but these solar panels have a 100% annual failure-replacement rate, and it takes several resource and energy intensive processes to create them, harvest them, and convert their stored energy to a usable form. By all accounts I've heard, the ethanol itself does not even contain as much energy as was used in all the processes to recover it. So it's not just nonrenewable, it's a squander, a net loss. No, I do not have a link to unequivocally prove this assertion. It's just what I've heard. I would be interested to read anything proving or disproving it if someone knows of a good article. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? FoxRox, if you have a co-located feed lot with the ethanol plant that can make use of the raw (or almost raw) mash (I wonder how drunk the animals get) then it really helps the overal energy equation (depending how you measure). https://www.google.com/search?q=ethanol+plan+co-lo... Now I still have reservations on the whole corn to ethanol front for various reasons but the 'sustainability' math can kind of be made to work as I understand it. Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you) What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? #### Quote (zdas04) Do you see the difference? I definitely agree that there is a non-trivial difference between rejecting the theory of gravity and rejecting the greenhouse effect. But that difference doesn’t make your position any better or any more defensible. The greenhouse effect stems from fairly well understood, fairly fundamental radiative physics. If you reject the greenhouse effect, then at some point you reject radiative physics (or here). You also reject the piles of experimental evidence that clearly demonstrates the effect. You also have to reject the reality of the temperature of Venus. Heck, you also have to reject the reality of the temperature of Earth (and I’m not talking about AGW, I’m talking about the fact we aren’t a snowball all the time). Most “skeptics” accept the greenhouse effect (even WUWT doesn’t allow “sky dragon slayer” articles) but, yes, it’s not quite equivalent to being a flat-earther. That’s not much of a victory for you. Furthermore, it certainly doesn’t make you much more superior than those “anti-human zealots” that overestimate the output of wind turbines. You’re both wrong. You both hold positions that are counter to well established science. Playing games of “who is more wrong” doesn’t help your case (especially while playing the second coming of Galileo). #### Quote (zdas04) The other naturally occurring gas that is absolutely essential to all life on earth is being classed as a "pollutant" by the AGW narrative is produced by nature in incomprehensible volumes. CO2 is PLANT FOOD, not a pollutant Yes, carbon is natural but a rise of 130 ppm in 100 years is not. Yes, carbon is “plant food” but rapid increases in concentrations, such as during the Permian Event, can lead to mass extinctions, particularly due to ocean acidification. Yes, atmospheric carbon levels have risen and fallen over geological timescales and will continue to, due to Milankovitch cycles, but the recent rate of the increase is unseen in 66 Million Years. Yes, global temperatures have risen and fallen over geological timescales and will continue to, due to Milankovitch cycles, but the recent rate and extent of increase is unseen the common era (Furthermore, the Milankovitch cycle had already started to slightly cool the planet, not warm it before anthropogenic forcing took over). The problem is that you (and others on that give similar “arguments”) continue to ignore the rate and extent of change relative to what human societies were built around. I’ve discussed this repeatedly, so there’s no need to rehash it here. (see here starting at 5 Feb 16 17:36 and 6 Feb 16 18:09, 9 Feb 16 04:32, 11 Feb 16 03:21, 12 Feb 16 04:30, 26 Feb 16 23:01) There is a natural carbon cycle and then there are disruptions to that natural cycle that impact atmospheric concentrations. Historically, those disruptions have been due to Milankovitch cycles, volcanic activity or bolide impacts. Recently, they are due to human activities. In both cases, changes in atmospheric concentrations have lead to changes in climate. The rate and extent of those changes leads to adaptive pressure on the ecosystem. For examples of the impact past changes, see Bond and Wignall 2014, Joudan et al 2014, Burgess et al 2014, Clark et al 2016. Presently, we are warming and increasing atmospheric CO2 at orders of magnitude faster than those past changes. Humans definitely will not go extinct and the exact impact is still very much so uncertain but it will create hardships – economically, socially, politically and morally. Maybe less than what we expect, maybe more. #### Quote (zdas04) The e-NGO's and their puppet regulators would be working on water vapor regulations if they thought they could make water vapor the villain Or maybe, just maybe, they understand that the science states that changes in water vapor are a feedback to other forcings which cause changes in temperature. But yes, continue to come up with counterfactuals to make the other side look more incompetent. Another good debating technique. #### Quote (zdas04) The line between "emissions" and "finite resources" gets blurred so often that I am generally unable to determine where one ends and the other begins. I hardly ever hear resource scarcity used as a driver but I guess our mileage varies. My point remains the same though – if you ignore emissions as a driver you ignore a key component (but perhaps not the sole component) behind the push for “renewables”. It allows you to argue against a weakened position. Another good debating technique. #### Quote (zdas04) Finally, wind and solar sideshows [sic] are only happening because of ham-handed [sic] government interventions. If you ignore externalities then, yes, early development of wind and solar likely required government interventions (I’ve said this since the start). Ignoring externalities is a market failure. Government intervention is required to address market failures. Perhaps the better way for the government to address the market failure would be introduce a carbon tax rather than incentivize wind and solar. I wouldn’t disagree with that. #### Quote (zdas04) MartinLE, Or you are an incompetent researchers. I wonder which it is? If a person is unable to prove a concept does that make the concept wrong or does it mean that the person looking is too lazy or inept to see the obvious? Burden of proof lies with the one making the assertion (which you're more than happen to lecture others about). You made an assertion, you need to back it up. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 3 The Night Watchman – a parody Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, "Someone may steal from it at night." So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job. Then Congress said, "How does the watchman do his job without instruction?" So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies. Then Congress said, "How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?" So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One was to do the studies and one was to write the reports. Then Congress said, "How are these people going to get paid?" So they created two positions: a time keeper and a payroll officer then hired two people. Then Congress said, "Who will be accountable for all of these people?" So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary. Then Congress said, "We have had this command in operation for one year and we are$918,000 over budget, we must cut back."

So they laid-off the night watchman.

NOW slowly, let it sink in.

Quietly, we go like sheep to slaughter. Does anybody remember the reason
given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY during the Carter

Anybody?

Anything?

No?

Didn't think so!

Bottom line is, we've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of
an agency, the reason for which not one person who reads this can remember!

It was very simple.. and at the time, everybody thought it very
appropriate.

The Department of Energy was instituted on 8/04/1977, TO LESSEN OUR
DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.

Hey, pretty efficient, huh???

AND NOW IT'S 2015 -- 38 YEARS LATER -- AND THE BUDGET FOR THIS "NECESSARY"
DEPARTMENT IS AT 34.2 BILLION A YEAR. IT HAS 19,000 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND APPROXIMATELY 120,000 CONTRACT EMPLOYEES; AND LOOK AT THE JOB IT HAS DONE! (THIS IS WHERE YOU SLAP YOUR FOREHEAD AND SAY, "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?") 38 years ago 30% of our oil consumption was foreign imports. Today 70% of our oil consumption is foreign imports. Ah, yes -- good old Federal bureaucracy. NOW, WE HAVE TURNED OVER THE BANKING SYSTEM AND HEALTH CARE SYSTEM TO THEM AS WELL. Hello!! Anybody Home? Signed....The Night Watchman Design for RELIABILITY, manufacturability, and maintainability ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) rconnor, I would wonder if you were kidding with #### Quote: The greenhouse effect stems from fairly well understood, fairly fundamental radiative physics. If you reject the greenhouse effect, then at some point you reject radiative physics (or here). You also reject the piles of experimental evidence that clearly demonstrates the effect. You also have to reject the reality of the temperature of Venus. Heck, you also have to reject the reality of the temperature of Earth (and I’m not talking about AGW, I’m talking about the fact we aren’t a snowball all the time). but I know that you are serious. I reject AGW. Categorically. That is a far cry from saying that different molecules don't react differently to various wave lengths of radiation. I reject the scalability of the (few) competent laboratory experiments. I reject the concept that physical greenhouses work by filtering wave lengths of energy--they work by trapping a fixed mass of air that is unable to interact with outside air. You cool a greenhouse by bringing in outside mass. "Rejecting the temperature of the earth" is a pretty phrase that simply does not mean anything at all. Your link has an interesting statement #### Quote: Water vapor is also a major natural greenhouse gas, but its volatility, i.e., readily evaporating and condensing in response to temperature changes, complicates its role. which seems to imply that the rest of the statement is "so we can ignore it, its too hard". What if you have the driving mechanism of the climate wrong? Could happen. What if the climate is absolutely dominated by mass transfer and phase change of water? That changes the narrative a lot. As to the opinion of "most skeptics", I don't care. Simply don't care. Get over your "CO2 never changed this much this fast before". You don't know. Neither does anyone else. The granularity of "data" just 200 years old is approaching +/- 100 years. Go back a thousand years and it is +/- 300 years. Go back farther and the granularity gets way worse. They can't line up the ice cores with any confidence back even 100 years. The computer models that they use to construct both CO2 and temperature from the things that they can measure are based on a staggering list of assumptions. I admire the people who came up with plausible surrogates for the things we want to know, but "plausible" is a long way from "reliable". Has CO2 ever changed 130 ppm in 100 years before? I don't have a clue, and neither does anyone else. Sorry, in your "66 million year link" I was only able to read down to "We present a new technique - based on combined data-model analysis". That makes me ask, "If the record is perfect in every regard and we are absolutely confident that we haven't missed any changes, why do we need a 'new technique'?", why do we need a new data model? Because the old "data" is crap, the new "data" is similar crap. Rconnor and MartinLE, Pretend we are sitting at a table in a bar. I make a statement, it is either accepted or rejected. You make a statement, it is either accepted or rejected. Neither of us pulls out a PowerPoint. We are all at eng-tips.com for our own reasons. If you can't accept my reasons and arguments, don't. I'm fine with that. When I make an assertion to a client, I provide background and supporting information. I don't find that to be an enjoyable activity. For free you get opinions. Again, if that is unacceptable to you, please feel free to ignore my assertions as you will certainly do anyway. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? KENAT, hadn't noticed my post upthread was edited. thx. for the heads up. I still think it strange that corn is used to make ethanol, but not sugar beets, or other waste from fruit production. I am under the impression it is a regulation thing. For ethanol you need some form of sugar, which you often don't find as much in fruit wastes. Mashes and some other wastes can be a source of protein and fiber, which makes them interesting as fodder for ruminants or biogas plants. Sugar beet needs better soil then corn, can't grow it in as many places. That said, I don't really doubt your assertion on regulation. Same over here with feed in tariffs for biogas generated electricity, for a few years there was a hefty bonus for using certain energy crops. Most farmers, with or without bg plants, I met understood this as a subsidy. Those with bg plants just said so clearly. This is big part of the reason why I'd favor a carbon tax over feed in tariffs. I think there's more wiggle room to promote special interests (or less than great technical standards) in feed-in tariffs than in a straight carbon tax. I (occasionally) follow these discussions because I want to understand the AGW-denialist side better. I occasionally research assertions that seem outlandish and/or interesting to me (like the one about CO limits in wood exhaust) & when I see someone spread a falshood I call it out. Which I do in bars, too. Sometimes with words stronger than "citation needed". ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? MartinLe: I too favour a steep carbon tax AND the ELIMINATION of all subsidies related to energy production. The proceeds of the carbon tax should be poured into energy efficiency improvement, with any surplus going to new renewable generation- but only those technologies that make economic sense in a post-fossil economy. How will you tell which of the contending renewable energy production technologies fit that bill? Easy- the ones which consume more fossil fuel than they offset will be KILLED by the fossil carbon tax. I'm pretty sure that sugar beets are only used to produce sugar where sugar from sugarcane is subject to steep import duties- sugarcane is so much easier but of course only grows where it grows. Liquid invert sugar made from cornstarch is even cheaper still. The UK is one such place where sugar beet production is still significant. The sugar market is still one of the most manipulated agricultural markets there is, and the agricultural markets are the last bastion of trade protectionism still standing. Farmers have political power disproportionate to their numbers because people realize that food is important, and the absence of local food production makes a nation vulnerable to the whims of its neighbours. And I too spend a lot of my time calling people when they say stuff that is inaccurate. I do that on many issues, and on both sides of those issues. I'm a huge proponent of EVs and renewable energy, but there are many rubbish statements made by both well intended people and shills for particular renewable industries that need challenging on a daily basis. So much rubbish- solar roads, the imaginary 6 kWh of electricity needed to make a gallon of gasoline (reality is much closer to 1 kWh of electricity and 5 kWh of heat), hydrogen as a feasible energy carrier or a means to store renewable electricity...the list is endless. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? "" I reject the concept that physical greenhouses work by filtering wave lengths of energy--they work by trapping a fixed mass of air that is unable to interact with outside air"" If this is the case then is the temperature inside an opaque enclosure and an identical shaped chamber made of glass the same apart from minor differences in material thermal conductivity. I believe experiments can be done easily to show warmer temps inside the glass structure when both are illuminated with sunlight. You surely don't reject that glass passes visible and near visible radiation readily but block longwave infrared radiation ?? This guy who is known to have known a few things first noticed the greenhouse effect. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Fourier ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? It was once proposed that if the waste from a large feedlot were used to make Biogas, that that gas could feed a local power plant. The reality was that if all the waste from that feedlot were collected, it would not produce enough gas to keep the 140 MW power plant running. So the whole scheme was dropped. I suspect it was really dropped because the price of gas was so low, as this plant is located close to several large gas fields. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) snarkysparky, Gases react to being struck. It is true, observable, repeatable, scalable. A gas molecule that gets warmer from being struck by a photon will exhibit higher energy and strike other molecules, transferring some of the increased energy. Within a few collisions, the volume occupied by the newly energetic molecule will reach a quasi-stable energy state that is infinitesimally higher than the state prior to the original collision. If that gas molecule is in the open atmosphere, the volume of the quasi-stable state is large and quickly dispersed. In a physical greenhouse the volume is tiny and the mass of gasses is small. The energy transfer is contained to that small mass. The way you cool a physical greenhouse is to release some of the higher-energy mass to the outside and allow lower energy mass to enter. Physical greenhouses work on mass transfer shifting the energy to maintain a temperature. This is not the way the climate works according to AGW. AGW says that so called "greenhouse gases" filter certain wavelengths of radiated heat to bounce them back towards the earth instead of allowing them to radiate into space. If you'll look into Fourier's writings beyond a Wikipedia article that comes to us through the good graces of the Church of AGW you'll find that his description of the energy transfer in the the atmosphere is quite different from the energy transfer within a greenhouse. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? #### Quote (zdas04) I reject the concept that physical greenhouses work by filtering wave lengths of energy The atmospheric greenhouse effect and a physical greenhouse are different. Yes. It’s poor naming. Yes. But physical greenhouses are irrelevant to this conversation and the name is, well, just a name. Stick to what’s relevant – the atmospheric greenhouse effect. More specifically – the ability for the atmospheric greenhouse effect to significantly impact surface temperatures of planets. #### Quote (zdas04) I reject the scalability of the (few) competent laboratory experiments. Without the greenhouse effect, here is what we think the temperature of a planet’s surface would be: (Derivation here) Earth has a solar constant of ~1361 W/m^2 and an albedo of 0.31. That makes the expected temperature, without an atmosphere, ~254 K. The actual temperature of Earth is ~287 K. Venus has a solar constant of ~2601 W/m^2 and an abledo of 0.77. That makes the expected temperature, without an atmosphere, ~227 K. The actual temperature of Venus is ~737 K. (source) Mars, that has a very thin atmosphere, has a solar constant of ~586 W/m^2 and an albedo of 0.25. That makes the expected temperature, without an atmosphere, ~210 K. The actual temperature of Mars is ~210 K. (source) The atmospheric greenhouse effect has an impact on the surface temperature of planets. The stronger the atmospheric greenhouse effect, the warmer the surface temperature is. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) That "poor naming" was not accidental. Everyone knows what a greenhouse is. They are readily accessible to the public and when someone walks into one, they notice both temperature and humidity being different from outside. It is public relations and the voting public has walked into greenhouses and found them to be reasonably unpleasant in the summer. Public relations, spin, propaganda, and computer models are the cornerstones of the AGW hysteria. Had you said "without the atmosphere" (instead of "without the greenhouse effect") I would agree that the equation presented might represent a credible approximation of the expected surface temperature. That is much like saying "without life, death would be much more common". Meaningless. The atmosphere is there. Deep breath. Yep, gases are moving into my lungs (sorry for the CO2 I'm exhaling). The dynamics of energy and mass transfer within that atmosphere and the relationships between sources/sinks are incredibly interrelated and complex. Some of the energy from the sun is expended in that atmosphere. Some wavelengths of energy are filtered. That filtering process changes the energy state of atmospheric gases. Is that a driving force or a mitigating force? I don't have a clue. There are a lot of theories and hypotheses that say one thing and another, but none of them have gotten even a tiny step beyond being an idea. The state of the field today is that when a competent researcher has one of these ideas, he puts it into a computer model and "proves" it, then the rest of the researchers use that concept in their models. If the data does not match the new concepts then the data can be "fixed". You lose me at "the model is proof" and "the data is negotiable". Both of those concepts turn competent research into politics. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? By the way, I was curious where the comment below came from. #### Quote (zdas04) The granularity of "data" just 200 years old is approaching +/- 100 years. I’d ask you for a source but I know that will cost me an arm and a leg. So I looked it up myself. #### Quote (Steig 2008) In the 200-year-long U.S. ITASE ice cores from West Antarctica, they showed that while the absolute accuracy of the dating was ±2 years, the relative accuracy among several cores was <±0.5 year (source – Steig 2008) ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Zdas Still, longwave radiation does not pass freely back out into space. The conclusion then is that it is trapped here within the Earths boundary. Do you have any quarrel with this reasoning. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) Sorry, statements like: #### Quote: Of the five sources of uncertainty discussed in the previous section, three of them (timescale uncertainty, spatial uncertainty, sampling uncertainty) can be readily represented by including Monte-Carlo simulations of the influence on the reconstruction that results. Incorporating “timescale wiggle” into such calculations is straightforward and should probably be adopted routinely. make me stick by my assessment that this analysis is simply making stuff up. The whole report feels like the old saw "you can draw any line you want through a single point". If I look at data from a single site then I can feel confident that THAT volcanic marker came from THAT eruption that is well documented. Never an eruption in Antarctica that isn't well documented? No seasons that didn't quite work like expected? No other source for the isotopes being analyzed? No presence of bias in the input parameters to the Monte Carlo simulation? If the data is this good, why do you need to run a Monte Carlo simulation. Of course you need the computer model because this analysis has to line up several million dots and just a few of them out of their assigned seats turn the results into trash. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? as an addon to rconnors post: Nasa, Taking the Measure of the Greenhouse Effect cranky108 Someone seriously thougt feedlot waste could make a major contribution towards a 140MW power plant? Wow. Some numbers (source): dairy cattle 289 Nm³ Methan ≙ 1.095 kWhel./head x a* hog 19 Nm³ Methan ≙ 73 kWhel./head x a* cattle (meat) 185 Nm³ Methan ≙ 562 kWhel./head x a* Riding horse 388 Nm³ Methan ≙ 1.472 kWhel./head x a* poultry(eggs) 164 Nm³ Methan ≙ 621 kWhel./100 head x a* (head should read: capacity for one animal) My mantra: Use biogas as part of your waste management, don't bet on it for one-to-one replacement of fossiles. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? What about chem-trails? When I first heard about them, I thought the guy was not palying with a full deck. However, when you see it with your own eyes, it is more than convincing that they are spreading some kind of chemical that last much much longer than jet-streams and covers almost the entire sky. Is this to control some weather patterns along with harps that angels don't play. Circa 1980 National Geographic published a special issue entitled ENERGY as I recall. I read it cover to cover and was convinced that we would be out of fossil fuel by the year 2,000. This shortly after the long lines at gas stations. Shortly after that special issue, I went to work for National Mine Service Company working on designing underground coal mining machinery to more efficiently mine coal. This was a 5 million dollar DOE project so I figured this would be a lifetime job but M.N.S is no longer in business. Well I guess we did not know what we thought we knew. Later, while working in West Virginia for a different coal mining machinery company, I heard a saying from a friend that sometimes surfaces on its own. "We know what we know but we -- don't know what we don't know." Sounds kind of mundane but as my Dad would say, "there is a lot of truth and poetry in that saying." Design for RELIABILITY, manufacturability, and maintainability ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I will add here that not everyone who states that they are experts, are in fact experts. And some may in fact be experts, but just wrong on a few matters. The problem with the large feed lot is now the nitrates have leaked into the ground water. Or maybe that was from the two packing plants in the area. So maybe there is nothing that is truly renewable in the short term. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? @metman ... "chemtrails" are IMHO a hoax. Certainly if you're using the "government secretly spreading chemicals" story. Contrails are simply condensed water vapour; some smart pilot (Patrick Smith) figures that there are engine combustion products getting into these (sure, particularly as some grow from the engine exhaust as opposed to the wingtips) and this might have some unknown (unknowable?) climate influence. This from "science.howstuffworks" @david ... after an eff of a lot of posts I guess all we can say is that "renewable energy" is two words that mean different things to different people. another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I have no facts or beliefs to contribute to the debate/argument where it's going now, but I think this writer does: http://mysite.du.edu/~etuttle/weather/atmrad.htm ...where it comes to the radiation that passes through the earth's atmosphere (if nobody minds keeping this discussion sidetracked from the original topic...) there is a fairly rigorous scientific understanding of the process, the constraints, and the effect of changes in many of these parameters. Has been for decades. There is no need to exaggerate, nor is there any justification to discard this knowledge. STF ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Carbon taxes (as are carbon credits) are rife with fraud. Imposing a tax on a invisible gas that everyone produces either deny everyone produces anything or just expect bogus claims of productions. Are you going to tax animals and nature which emits a lot- much which is difficult to quantify? http://www.eng-tips.com/threadminder.cfm?pid=1529 Use translation assistance for Engineers forum Note the rules include No Student posting ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) Sparweb, That link, paper so much of the AGW discussion does a workmanlike job of describing a single facet of the dodecahedron, and ignores the other 11 facets. It describe the phenomenon of excitation and wave length shift reasonably well while ignoring that a molecule can also transfer excess energy through collisions. Which action is dominant in the climate? I don't know. I do know that the dominant effect within a physical greenhouse is not the shift to long wave length radiation as the author claims, but energy transfer through collisions. Science is often the synthesis of a series of detailed analyses of each individual element of a complex interrelationship. The key difficulty is not the understanding of each element (although that analysis is rarely simple), but understanding the boundary conditions and interrelationships. "Climate science" has done a particularly horrid job over the last 50 years of even attempting this synthesis. That paper is among the worst I've seen at it. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? How could the dominant factor in a physical greenhouse possibly be collisions? The molecules are colliding with the greenhouse material just as well as with the other gaseous molecules. I think anyone would accept that the amount of infrared radiation absorbed by the small amount of gas in a physical greenhouse is small enough so as to be negligible, but the reason it stays warm is that air is a good insulator, and the greenhouse allows visible light to enter, and doesn't allow the warm air to leave. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) canwesteng, The key lies in your last statement "doesn't allow warm air to leave". Greenhouse temperature management is not wave-length management, it is mass-transfer management. If you want to cool a greenhouse, you exchange warm air mass for cooler air mass. The atmosphere does this by moving warm air towards a cooler sink and moving cool air towards a warmer sink. A highly excited CO2 molecule will tend to move to where it can collide with cooler things without limits. In a physical greenhouse, the walls impose physical limits. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? #### Quote (zdas04) describe the phenomenon of excitation and wave length shift reasonably well while ignoring that a molecule can also transfer excess energy through collisions. Which action is dominant in the climate? I don't know. The former. We observe (and predict through the greenhouse effect): While the magnitude of this effect, due to feedbacks, is certainly up for debate, the underlying mechanism is not. To reject this, especially while claiming the entire field of experts are somewhere between incompetent and corrupt, is interesting, to say the least. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) rconnor, Talk about a list of self-fulfilling prophecies. I have never seen such a group of "I'm here, therefore there is a God" arguments. #### Quote (Letters to Nature) The evolution of the Earth's climate has been extensively studied [based on what objective standard?] this relationship is complicated by several feedback processes—most importantly the hydrological cycle—that are not well understood [if we don't understand the hydrological cycle how can we rule it out? How do we know that the hydrological cycle is the most important?] ... Changes in the Earth's greenhouse effect can be detected from variations in the spectrum of outgoing longwave radiation8, 9, 10, which is a measure of how the Earth cools to space and carries the imprint of the gases that are responsible for the greenhouse effect [Nothing else could possibly be responsible?] In the Journal of Goephysical Research abstract they take a data set with a standard deviation of 20 W/m2, a bias of 2 W/m2 and impute a change of 2.2 w/m2 to greenhouse gases. I call a change that is about equal to the identified bias as part of the noise. They had quite a lot of data for 35 years, come back when they have quite a lot of data for 350 years. I'm not sure why you included the Dutch paper. It says #### Quote: Over 70% of the global land area sampled showed a significant decrease in the annual occurrence of cold nights and a significant increase in the annual occurrence of warm nights. which argues for mass transfer rather than instantaneous radiative effects. I'm sorry but in the pnas paper I was only able to read down to #### Quote: In contrast, we rely on a large multimodel archive , if I average the outcome of 5,000 Nintendo runs, Princes Peach still can't ride a flying dinosaur. In the Research Articles (no attribution of where the heck it came from) I only got down to #### Quote: Comparable increases are evident in climate model experiments. The latter show that human-induced changes in ozone and well-mixed greenhouse gases account for80%of the simulated rise in tropopause height over 1979–1999. Sorry, but "models" are simply not "experiments" and anyone who puts those two words together is trying to fool to their audience. The extract from Science they use the very effective technique of talking about definitions of terms that are not germane, and then #### Quote: The increase in global surface air temperature during the 20th century has been attributed mainly to the increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases A statement purported to be "fact" with the implication that the last 3 paragraphs build to that obvious conclusion when in fact they are absolutely unrelated to it. Clever ruse. Far from compelling or even slightly persuasive. Sorry, but nothing in your list of references even comes close to supporting radiative wave-length modifications as the driving force in the climate. A physical greenhouse works by limiting mass transfer. The atmosphere does not have the necessary small-scale confinement for the same effect to work. If climate is indeed tending towards a warmer "norm", then I still don't see any reason to accept that plant food and microbe food are the cause. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? #### Quote (zdas04) Talk about a list of self-fulfilling prophecies You have a theory that leads to predictions. You compare those predictions against observations. They match. Is that your definition of self-fulfilling prophecies? With regards to the M-word, the studies use models because they compare observations against model projections. These papers are doing exactly what you always claim the scientific community is not doing – checking model projections against observations. Just because your ctrl+F for “model” came back with a few hits, doesn’t mean you can dismiss the paper. #### Quote (“PNAS paper” (Santer et al 2013)) Since the late 1970s, satellite-based instruments have monitored global changes in atmospheric temperature. These measurements reveal multidecadal tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling, punctuated by short-term volcanic signals of reverse sign. Similar long- and short-term temperature signals occur in model simulations driven by human-caused changes in atmospheric composition and natural variations in volcanic aerosols. #### Quote (“Research Articles paper” (Santer et al 2003)) Observations indicate that the height of the tropopause—the boundary between the stratosphere and troposphere—has increased by several hundred meters since 1979. Comparable increases are evident in climate model experiments. #### Quote (zdas04) [The “Dutch article” (aka Alexander et al 2005)] argues for mass transfer rather than instantaneous radiative effects. It is an expected outcome of the effect of the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. It matches with observations. See my comments in bold: #### Quote (“Letters to Nature” (aka Harries et al 2001)) The evolution of the Earth's climate has been extensively studied [zd: based on what objective standard?] [rc: do a Web of Science search on “climate change”, see the thousands of hits that come back.] this relationship is complicated by several feedback processes—most importantly the hydrological cycle—that are not well understood [zd: if we don't understand the hydrological cycle how can we rule it out? How do we know that the hydrological cycle is the most important?][rc: You confuse “not well understood” with “we have no idea”. The uncertainty of the impact of the hydrological cycle is mainly due to cloud cover. The range of estimates are between very weakly positive and very weakly negative, with the best estimate is very weakly positive (Clement et al 2008, Lauer et al 2010, Dressler 2010, Sherwood et al 2014 ... Changes in the Earth's greenhouse effect can be detected from variations in the spectrum of outgoing longwave radiation8, 9, 10, which is a measure of how the Earth cools to space and carries the imprint of the gases that are responsible for the greenhouse effect [Nothing else could possibly be responsible?]Nothing else that fits the data so well, unless you’re aware of another theory I don’t know about?] #### Quote (zdas04) If climate is indeed tending towards a warmer "norm", then I still don't see any reason to accept that plant food and microbe food are the cause. If you plug your ears to the evidence hard enough zdas04, you can refuse to accept anything. But rejecting the greenhouse gas theory puts you in a unique club, and that club doesn't include Galileo... ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) No it doesn't include Galileo. He's dead. Has been dead for centuries. Were he not dead he would have his own opinions. He would apply his own understandings and analysis to the data presented and reach his own conclusions as to the merit of the arguments. I hope we all do that. Your "clarifications" feel very much like a cat scratching on a tile floor to cover up a mess. As to #### Quote (rconnor) It is an expected outcome of the effect of the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. It matches with observations. with regard to the Dutch paper on extreme weather events, are you out of your ever loving mind? Climate scientists keep shouting that "climate is not weather". "Extreme weather events are weather not climate". None of the models predict extreme weather. They don't predict weather at all. The "extreme weather", "droughts", "wild fires", "tsunamis", "tornadoes" hysteria has come from table-top what-if analysis with no input from any science or even computer modeling. If is just a bunch of grad students sitting around a conference table in East Anglica spit balling about what could happen a la "Hey, when it get hot things dry up, I bet we'll have more droughts, don't you guys agree" "sure, put it on the list". When geologic evidence seems to indicate that as temperatures rise the deserts shrink (as is happening today)? When atmospheric CO2 improves plant's ability to process water and they need less of it? David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Zdas Would two enclosures exposed to the sun of the same shape and made from material of similar thermal conductivity have the same inside temperature given that one is made from transparent material in the sense of having the same spectral transmissive and absorptive qualities as glass and the other is any opaque material ? If I read your views correctly I think you would say they would be the same. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 4 Sorry David- you're a very smart guy and we agree on many things- other than this. You can't get away with arguing the basic physics. The climate forcing due to an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is basic physics. You can argue that the resulting climate forcing is insignificant, and I'll give you a shred of credulity for holding that opinion, though I do not share it. You could also argue that the costs of mitigating the forcing by reducing fossil fuel combustion emissions to the atmosphere are disproportionate with respect to the harm at this point in the solar cycles, and I would also give you a shred of credit for holding that opinion though I don't share that opinion either. But denying the FACT of the forcing, or the FACT of the CO2 concentration increase in the atmosphere, demonstrate such a substantial bias on your part with respect to that issue that nobody else here should give your opinion a second thought. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? ^ snarkysparky, is there a body of mass inside of that enclosure? Does that body of mass have uniform thermal properties across its entire surface? If the body of mass does not have a uniform surface, does it change which hemisphere is exposed more closely? Lets say one hemisphere is mainly solid land. The other hemisphere is primarily water. Lets say the object was rotating on an axis and also traveled on an elliptical orbit around the sun. The axis of rotation was always changing, the orbit was always changing, the mass inside the enclosure was always changing. Now lets say there was a miniscule change in the temperature inside of one of the enclosures. All other variables had changed between the two enclosureas and their captive bodies of mass, in addition to the spectral transmissive and absorptive qualities to the enclosure. What would you attribute temp changes to? How would you solve it? Shut down all of the businesses on the one body of mass and give their government omniscience and omnipotence? If that is your solution, I demand disclosure of who funded your experiment :p "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Panther Well neither the enclosure nor its contents need to be spherical. The question is about the difference in transmission of radiation based on wavelength. Suppose one takes two shipping containers and lops off the top of one and replaces it with a glass roof with the same thermal conductivity value as the prior metal one. How about any conditions you may imagine inside the two chambers as long as they are identical. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? "In the Journal of Goephysical Research abstract they take a data set with a standard deviation of 20 W/m2, a bias of 2 W/m2 and impute a change of 2.2 w/m2 to greenhouse gases. I call a change that is about equal to the identified bias as part of the noise. They had quite a lot of data for 35 years, come back when they have quite a lot of data for 350 years." David, most of the time when you present calculations, I'll take them at face value, but you've been spouting off about the impossibility of extracting meaningful information buried in noise for so long that you'll drink the bathwater without blinking twice. You implicitly accept the notion that a 2 W/m2 bias, but not the 2.2 W/m2 change, claiming that it's noise. Do you see nothing wrong with accepting one but not the other? If they can extract a 2 W/m2 from something with a standard deviation of 20 W/m2, then there's absolutely no reason they can't extract a change of the same magnitude. I'm fairly certain you must have done averaging and filter in your day, but you clearly do not understand, or are ignoring, the results. You might want to read up on Kalman filter, or box car averaging, to see how the math works, because it does work and that's why navigation systems with Kalman filtering can do the navigation that they do. TTFN I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) Snarkysparky, I said nothing of the kind. The photons entering the greenhouse excite the gases inside. Those gases then tend to return to a minimum entropy state by radiating some of the energy and passing some of the energy to other gas molecules and to the building walls via collisions. The argument here is that in a small confined space with a fixed mass, the energy transfer is limited and the temperature increases. Adding cool mass and/or removing warm mass is needed to regulate the temperature in the small space. Lowering sunshades will reduce the rate of heating, but will not cool the space off. IRStuff, I see the relevant part of my comment as the time scale being too short to draw conclusions based on averages that are within 10% of the bias. moltenmetal, I would agree that molecular reactions to absorbing a photon is to move to a less stable higher-energy state is basic physics. The excited molecule will then move towards a lower energy-state either through radiation or collisions. Again basic physics. Different molecules radiate in different frequencies of energy. Again basic physics. The AGW THEORY holds that radiation is dominant and forcing, while molecular interactions are insignificant. This is anything but a FACT and observations in physical greenhouses absolutely refute radiation being either dominant or forcing. I truly don't care how often the IPCC claims that radiant energy is forcing, them saying it doesn't make it so. Their computer models don't make it so. Laboratory "experiments" (actually side-show demonstrations) that are not scaleable by any of the rules of fluid mechanics or science, don't make it so. The experiments I've looked at were very much like the "experiments" that the Sierra Club did on saccharine--if you throw a rat in a vat of liquid saccharine it will die (it doesn't matter that the cause of death was drowning, the rat died during exposure to saccharine). CO2 has increased in the atmosphere. I can't tell you if it is a cause or an effect of the observed changes the climate in the last century. When I look at paleo-lithic data I can't tell which is the chicken and which is the egg. The permafrost has receded in the last 70 years, exposing many billions of tonne of organic material to biological activity. Is that increased activity creating CO2? Certainly. Is it creating CH4? Absolutely. Is it possible that exposing billions of tonne of recently thawed organic material to biological activity has some contribution to the level of atmospheric CO2 and methane? The papers that I've read claiming that this action cannot possibly be significant were very unscientific and strident, their main argument seemed to be "that is not what the models show". As a modeler I can testify to the fact that a model can only illuminate what you already believed was the answer, if the author of the model rejects the lead/lag hypotheses on its face than his model will also reject it. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? personally I have enjoyed the greenhouse discussion, I may even have learnt something ?! picking up on david's point ... "The argument here is that in a small confined space with a fixed mass, the energy transfer is limited and the temperature increases." ... could not the earth be considered a closed space ? another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Zdas I was referring to this "" I reject the concept that physical greenhouses work by filtering wave lengths of energy--they work by trapping a fixed mass of air that is unable to interact with outside air. You cool a greenhouse by bringing in outside mass."" I read this as mostly what I asked about. Even so talking about the Earth. The "blanket" has been made thicker overall thus reducing longwave radiation back out into space while incoming radiant intensity remains the same. Just like the prior noted temperatures of other planets in our solar system which have temperatures in excess of what can be accounted for without considering longwave energy trapping. Is there another credible explanation? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? How are we measuring energy input to the system (earth)? "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? "I see the relevant part of my comment as the time scale being too short to draw conclusions based on averages that are within 10% of the bias" Based on what? I suggested that you at least read up on Kalman filtering, which is not a least squares process, but a maximum likelihood process, which requires far less data, and is more flexible and adaptive than least squares. If the delta is on the same order as the bias, which we must presume was derived from the data, then the delta is no less significant than the bias value that you accepted at face value. Kalman filtering is precisely the tool for extracting such biases and trends from short term data, and not averaging. TTFN I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) IRSTuff, Do you have any reason to believe that the report we are talking about used anything more extensive than adding up 3200 data points and dividing by 3200? Me neither. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) It is not my citation, it was provided by another member and I was responding. How did that morph into me not providing citations? David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? David: so you deny BOTH the basic physics of the forcing AND the anthropic origin of the majority of the atmospheric CO2 concentration increase observed in the past 200 years- is that correct? If so, it's just not worth talking with you further on this subject due to your bias. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? http://www.skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=384 OK, to be fair to David, after a re-read, I can't tell for sure what the point of his last paragraph to me is, but it appears that he's primarily denying the extent of the correlation between increased CO2 concentration and increased temperature rather than denying the anthropic origin of that atmospheric CO2. He does muddy the waters by bringing up positive feedback issues like the melting of the permafrost, which of course are issues of great concern going forward- but the data conclusively demonstrates that these sorts of feedbacks are NOT the origin of the majority of the atmospheric CO2 increase we've observed in the period we've been exploiting fossil fuels. The link I've given above is a good summary of the MANY ways by which the anthropic origin of the majority of the atmospheric CO2 concentration increase has been confirmed, though it's not the best place to look for links to the underlying scientific literature. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 4 (OP) moltenmetal, I guess not. And I hope you don't mind if I have to say "ditto". Do you deny that the permafrost has receded? How about that the organic material that was previously frozen is now undergoing decomposition? How about that this decomposition converts fixed carbon to CO2 and methane? Mankind, his artifacts, and his chattels (including domestic hogs and cattle) are the 11th largest producer of contemporary CO2 on earth (and no one generating these lists ever includes natural hydrocarbon seeps which dwarf the other sources). Compared to krill and insects our emissions are not within the round-off error. But you claim that number 11 is the ONLY source that changes from decade to decade? Who is the "denier" here? The "basic physics of the forcing" comes from experiments that ARE NOT SCALEABLE and computer models. Those "basic physics" are what any other field would call "an interesting hypothesis". The politics of AGW elevated this self-serving concept to the same alter as we put gravitation and the model of the atom somehow. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Zdas04, IRstuff, Wang and Liang 2009 uses the Mann-Kindell Test to evaluate the significance of the trend in downward longwave radiation; it passes (over 95%). Zdas04’s hand waving about the trend being nothing but noise is, well, just hand waving. Speaking of hand waving about uncertainty, are you able to provide something to support the hand waving that “the granularity of “data” just 200 years old is approaching +/- 100 years” when sources indicate it’s +/- 2 years, reducing to <+/-0.5 years when multiple cores are used (which you hand waved away)? Or will that cost me? #### Quote (zdas04) The permafrost has receded in the last 70 years, exposing many billions of tonne of organic material to biological activity. A positive feedback of a warming planet. This is a part of the AGW theory not an argument against it. What’s interesting is that many “skeptics” argue that the methane release feedback is overstated by “alarmists” but here you seem to be saying it’s understated. (hint: If the science was ignoring it, which it is not, then it would make sensitivity even higher. So this might not be the smartest argument for you to make; it’s an own goal.) #### Quote (zdas04) The "basic physics of the forcing" comes from experiments that ARE NOT SCALEABLE Silly Venus, doesn't it know the greenhouse effect is not scalable! #### Quote (zdas04) But you claim that number 11 is the ONLY source that changes from decade to decade? Who is the "denier" here? If you continue to discuss the drive behind changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations by only comparing natural and anthropogenic sources, while ignoring sinks, then you are. If you continue to hand wave away every bit of evidence and data that you don’t like, then you are. #### Quote (zdas04) I truly don't care how often the IPCC claims that radiant energy is forcing, them saying it doesn't make it so. Their computer models don't make it so. Neither does your hand waving nor ear plugging make them wrong. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? What is the democrat-approved atmospheric makeup? "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? David: read the link. There are at least six independent methods listed in that link which demonstrate the fossil origin of the majority of the increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. It's definitely settled science. Your argument that the natural sources are so large that the man-made sources are dwarfed in comparison is just patently false, demonstrated to be false by measurement. The magnitude of the forcing and its net effect on global temperatures, or a cost/benefit analysis of various mitigation measures? Sure, those are debatable, though those qualified to have an opinion worthy of considering credible are overwhelmingly in support of a significant temperature rise resulting from the forcing. In regard to mitigating measures, in my view, the protective principle needs to apply, given that the potential for serious and essentially irreversible consequences from carrying on doing what we're already doing. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) rconnor, Dang, I must be one talented individual if I can wave my hands while I have my fingers in my ears. That sounds like an impressive trick. Let me get this straight. The "science" says that #### Quote: A positive feedback of a warming planet. This is a part of the AGW theory not an argument against it. but you've said a dozen times in these threads that positive feedback is not a part of the AGW theory. How can it be part and not be part at the same time? It sounds like you are now saying that your "science" predicted the permafrost receding prior to the increases in CO2 from industrial activity, and that that release initiated the "forcing" that is purported to explain all? Wouldn't that argue that CO2 is lagging, not leading? My arms are getting tired from all this arm waving. Venus is 0.73 AU from the Sun. If a change from 320 ppm to 400 ppm of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere can trigger and force catastrophic and irreversable changes in earth's climate is is just the least bit possible that the increased solar flux on Venus could have a bigger impact on the temperature there than the mix of gases? Not buying this one. You keep claiming that I'm discussing sources and ignoring sinks. I see those as very different discussions. If sources and sinks are in balance, then adding additional CO2 or CH4 increases the atmospheric concentration. If they are not in balance (or if the uptake point for a sink is dependent on concentration) then adding a bunch of these gases won't increase the atmospheric concentrations. moltenmetal, I thought you were done with this discussion? If you weren't serious about the three times you've said that I wasn't worth talking to, can you tell me how many times do we need to approach an "irreversable tipping point" before people stop with that nonsense? David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? It is night on Venus for ~ 116 days. As far as I can tell the diurnal variation for Venus is negligible. Therefore the dark side of Venus is hotter than the bright side of Mercury. If there is no greenhouse effect, can we then conclusively say that there is another sun in the solar system? Perhaps emitting infrared or ultraviolet light outside of the visible spectrum. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? #### Quote (zdas04) you've said a dozen times in these threads that positive feedback is not a part of the AGW theory. Either you are making stuff up again or you don’t know what a positive feedback is (in a climatic sense). I think it’s a bit of both. Positive feedbacks (ex. albedo, water vapour and off-gassing) play a central role in the AGW theory and past climate changes (hint: if you want to say “it’s changed before (by a significant amount)” (which it has) then you are implicitly saying that positive feedbacks are large, because the same feedbacks impacted past climate changes as today. A common own goal by “skeptics”.) I have never said otherwise. However, I think I know where your confusion comes from. You don’t really know what a positive feedback is (in a climatic sense) and are confusing it with a runaway feedback. The two are not the same. Firstly, the planet has never had a runaway greenhouse effect during past changes (even you will likely accept this fact). However, that hasn’t stopped it from going from being covered by glaciers to interglacial and back again (or do you reject that bit of science as well?). When a driver (whether it be orbital tilts, volcanic activity, bolide impact or anthropogenic activity) works to warm the planet, ice melts and more water vapour can be held in the atmosphere. The less ice, the lower the albedo, the more energy the planet absorbs. The more water vapour in the air, the stronger the greenhouse effect. Positive feedbacks. The opposite is also true for when the driver cools the planet. This is why past climate changes have lead to large scale changes in temperature and climate (glacial to interglacial). However, when the driver (whether it be orbital tilts, volcanic activity, bolide impact or anthropogenic activity) stops or changes, then, slowly, the plank feedback (a negative feedback) begins to overtake the positive feedbacks and the temperature begins to settle (until the next driver starts). This is why past climate changes have NOT resulted in runaway feedback effects. This isn’t new – I’ve explained it before: #### Quote (rconnor @7 Jan 14 18:08) Furthermore, climate scientists know that we are likely not to have a runaway temperature rise like Venus because of anthropogenic CO2… “runaway greenhouse effect – analogous to Venus – appears to have virtually no chance of being induced by anthropogenic activities” (IPCC) or “A runaway greenhouse could in theory be triggered by increased greenhouse forcing, but anthropogenic emissions are probably insufficient” (Goldblatt et al, 2012). #### Quote (zdas04) is [it] just the least bit possible that the increased solar flux on Venus could have a bigger impact on the temperature there than the mix of gases? The temperature of the surface of Venus is ~737 K, while the temperature of the upper atmosphere is ~230.15 K. This is expected by the greenhouse gas theory but unexplainable by solar fluxes. This is the same as we experience on Earth and what we expect from the greenhouse gas theory - the greenhouse effect will warm the surface above the estimated (black body) calculation (which it does) while the upper atmosphere cools (which it does). Furthermore, as canwesteng points out, the diurnal temperature difference of Venus is ~0 K. This indicates the greenhouse effect swamps the impact of solar fluxes. You're wrong zdas04. Take moltenmetal’s advice. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? You guys are wasting your time with ZDas. He has his mind made up and facts will be found to support. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I've given up trying to convince zdas of anything in this topic long, long ago. But his emissions on this subject here need to be challenged, lest others lend them credibility that they don't deserve. It's just so damned tiresome, especially when he spews stuff that is just plain completely and demonstrably false. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I don't deny the existence of the greenhouse effect, but it seems like the Venus analogy is a bit misleading. Venus is surrounded by more than crystal clear CO2. It has dense 100% cloud cover 100% of the time. Very little IR radiation will make it through that regardless of what's underneath. We've all experienced overcast nights that stay miraculously warm. Is this the greenhouse effect? Maybe a little bit, but I believe the warmer air is trapped, much like the the mass flow restriction that zdas04 talks about in an actual greenhouse. Imagine if the entire earth experienced that every night. Additionally, extreme wind circulates the upper atmosphere so violently that it can circumvent the entire planet in just a few Earth days. That alone explains the diurnal temperature stagnation, considering one Venus day is nearly 250 Earth days. Like I said, I have no beef with the idea that some gases absorb more IR radiation than others. I have no reason or background to doubt that. I just think it's important to provide some context. Venus surely experiences this effect, but it has other much more influential forces at work. I do not think the conditions on Venus prove, disprove or can even be reasonably referenced to support claims about the magnitude of the influence of the greenhouse effect in our own atmosphere. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? #### Quote (FoxRox) but I believe the warmer air is trapped, much like the the mass flow restriction that zdas04 talks about in an actual greenhouse I don't follow. No planet, regardless of atmosphere, cools by "losing" warm air (i.e. by mass flow...or by convection or conduction for that matter). They cool through radiation to space. The more outgoing radiation, the more cooling. The less outgoing radiation, the less cooling (and atmospheric warming). The thick, dense atmosphere of Venus allows very little outgoing radiation - a very strong (atmospheric) greenhouse effect. Where the analogy fails is that Venus' greenhouse effect is much, much stronger than Earth's will ever be, but it's a similar process. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) Well if the Church of AGW has moved its auto de fe on to another victim I think I'll just move on with my life. I think I'll just move on with my life, secure in the knowledge that when all else fails, this bankrupt religion will simply attack someone's integrity and character. You zealots will be proved to be very wrong, I can only hope that it happens before you have degraded the concept of "science" to a point that good people wouldn't touch it on a bet. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Even with the way these threads go on this forum, Eng-Tips still has the most reasonable and respectable discussion regarding AGW/Climate Change when compared to any other open discussion I see on the internet. I'm both gladdened and saddened by what I read here. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I see your 258 and raise you a 966. http://xkcd.com/966/ ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? rconnor, I understand that mass flow is not how heat escapes our atmosphere. I was referring to a smaller scale effect that traps warm gas in the lower portions of the atmosphere, but maybe that is not the case. Perhaps the warm overcast night is primarily the result of trapped IR radiation. I do not know. Warm air trapped below the clouds has just always been my own reasoned out explanation. Warm air would otherwise be free to circulate via convection into the upper layers of the atmosphere and carried elsewhere. But the cause is beside the point. Whether mass flow or IR radiation are restricted, clouds are vastly more effective at preserving heat than any clear gas. I would hypothesize that any planet with persistent 100% cloud cover would have a hard time dissipating much heat, regardless of the atmospheric composition. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? this discussion has devolved into an argument and then to contradiction another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? zdas04, their religion has already been proven wrong. Their predictions have been wildly inaccurate for the past 50 years. They can't even maintain a reliable and precise method of data acquisition, let alone processing. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 2 The other day, I had a wet piece of dirt with some plant matter on it. I was also analyzing the gasses around the clump of dirt, water, and plant matter. I put it in the microwave for 3 minutes on the High setting. The composition of the ambient air became more populated with CO and water vapor. The temperature also went up. Coincidence? I think NOT!!! The increase in CO and water vapor clearly is what caused the temp to increase. I quickly made sure to regulate all of the microbes in the clump of dirt and concentrate the allocation of power and resources to a few select microbes on the clump of earth. The next time I put it in the microwave, the same thing happened. I clearly didn't concentrate authority well enough. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? sorry, but the proof of the religion is despite their awry predictions the religion still has it's followers, and they get more devote every year. Mind you, the blasphemers are getting equally intransigent. One thing's almost sure ... in fifty years time one or other camp will say "see, I told you", assuming there is a world, and people in it, in 50 years time. another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 5 I can remember when this all started some 46 years ago. I Googled a bit and found this recap that pretty much expresses my skepticism. The article is much longer than the brief excerpts I've provided. 45 years of failed environmentalist predictions. http://thefederalist.com/2015/04/24/seven-big-fail... "It has been 45 years now since the first Earth Day. You would think that in this time frame, given the urgency with which we were told we had to confront the supposed threats to the environment—Harvard biologist George Wald told us, “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken.”" 1. Global cooling "We were causing the ice age and bringing the glaciers down on our own heads. Deforestation was going to increase the reflectivity of the Earth’s surface, causing light from the sun to bounce back into space without heating the Earth. Meanwhile, emissions of “particulates,” i.e., smoke from industrial smokestacks, was going to block out the light before it even got here. No, really: Life Magazine in 1970 reported that “by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.”" 2. Overpopulation "There were going to be an inconceivable seven billion people on Earth by the year 2000, and there was just no way we could support them all." 3. Mass starvation For example, "Peter Gunter, a professor at North Texas State University, in a 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness. Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine. 4. Resource depletion "Kenneth Watt again, with his present trends continuing: “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.'”" 5. Mass extinction "At the first Earth Day, its political sponsor, Senator Gaylord Nelson, warned: “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”" 6. Renewable energy "But all of the alternatives we were promised fall into two categories. There are those that are still too unreliable and expensive; Germany is about to be crushed by the massive cost of its renewable energy boondoggle. And then there are those which have gone from being the alternative championed by environmentalists to being the targets of the environmentalist anger. This is by far the most common trajectory." 7. Global warming "If we go full circle, back to the failed prediction of global cooling, we can see the wider trend. After two or three decades of cooling temperatures, from the 1940s to 1970, environmentalists project a cooling trend—only to have the climate change on them. After a few decades of warmer temperatures, from the 1970s to the late 1990s, they all jumped onto the bandwagon of projecting a continued warming trend—and the darned climate changed again, staying roughly flat since about 1998." "But by now you can get an idea for the major outlines of an environmental hysteria. The steps are: a) start with assumption that man is “ravaging the Earth,” b) latch onto an unproven scientific hypothesis that fits this preconception, c) extrapolate wildly from half-formed theories and short-term trends to predict a future apocalypse, d) pressure a bunch of people with “Ph.D.” after their names to endorse it so you can say it’s a consensus of experts, e) get the press to broadcast it with even less nuance and get a bunch of Hollywood celebrities who failed Freshman biology to adopt it as their pet cause, then finally f) quietly drop the whole thing when it doesn’t pan out—and move on with undiminished enthusiasm to the next environmental doomsday scenario." ADDENDUM: Every citizen ought to be chilled by this threat of abridgment of rights. Shades of 1984! http://dailysignal.com/2016/04/04/16-democrat-ags-... Skip, Just traded in my OLD subtlety... for a NUance! ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I don't find it surprising that one can dig deep and find examples of failed predictions. But I don't really see what it proves. I think for some people the idea that we can damage our planet through normal activities is just too much for them to handle. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/81525118/the-ba... has part of the news that the ozone hole over Antarctica is shrinking, 30 years after the initial ban on CFCs. Now, that may just be coincidence, but others can read into it that man-made pollution did have a deleterious impact on the atmosphere, and the elimination of that pollution did have a healing effect. TTFN I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) I have reviewed the papers that lead to the Montreal Agreement and found them to be based on very much non-scalable "experiments". If you throw a rat in a drum of liquid saccharine, the rat will die. Most likely from drowning, but he'll still die. That does not prove that saccharine will kill people. Saccharine may very well kill people but the non-scalable experiments do not prove that it will. Same with the ozone layer work. Dumping enough 100% CFC into a container of 100% Ozone to double the pressure will result in significant depletion of the Ozone. The experiments proved that. They don't prove that dumping 0.000000001 ppm CFC into 2-8 ppm ozone that exists in the stratosphere will have any impact at all. There is a measurable hole in the ozone. That hole is smaller today than it was 30 years ago. CFC use has been curtailed for 30 years. Three facts that may or may not be related in any way at all. No one will ever really know. If the hole starts getting larger again, the eviro-wackos will find another man-made chemical to vilify without removing the stigma from CFC's. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? #### Quote (rconner) It is an expected outcome of the effect of the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. It matches with observations. correlation <> causation. Period. ______________________________________________________________________________ This is normally the space where people post something insightful. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) SnarkySparky, OK, examples of failed predictions are not germane, could you humor us with examples of environmental predictions that were reasonably close to actual outcomes? The hole in the ozone is one that frequently comes up, but controlinvoice says "correlation does not equal causation". Silent Spring has been shown to have been made up from whole cloth. None of Malthus' predictions have come to pass. I just can't come up with a single concrete prediction (i.e., if a specific action does not take place, a specific outcome will happen in a specific time period) that has ever come close. Could you help us out here? David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? FoxRox, #### Quote (FoxRox) Warm air would otherwise be free to circulate via convection into the upper layers of the atmosphere and carried elsewhere. Your idea might explain local temperatures but does not explain global warming (on Venus or Earth). You’re just talking about how energy moves around the system, not the balance of incoming and outgoing energy. If “greenhouse clouds” (may I call them that?) prevent warm air from moving to another part of the planet, whereas without them the warm air would move, then we are still talking about the same amount of energy in the system (i.e. planet’s atmosphere), just distributed differently. This could not explain global warming. Blocking outgoing radiation does. So what you’re saying may be correct, in a local sense, but it is irrelevant (or inexplicable) in a global sense, which is the topic at hand. However, to return to your original point, the statement “the Venus analogy is a bit misleading” is not true and zdas04 denying that the greenhouse effect has an impact on global temperatures is still ridiculous. #### Quote (FoxRox) clouds are vastly more effective at preserving heat than any clear gas That’s not always true. On Earth (I’m not sure how it translates to Venus), low cloud cover has a net result of cooling the planet (less incoming radiation) and high cloud cover has a net result of warming the planet (less outgoing radiation) (see here for an explanation). It’s not clouds that are “vastly more effective at preserving heat”, it’s the higher concentration of greenhouse gases. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 2 Why is the side presenting facts and hypotheses being called the one with the religion? And as for predictions, the main thing predicted by global warming is that we will see a warming trend, which we have. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Has the discussion been dragged down so far that we've resorted to discussing talking points from THE FEDERALIST ? Are Facebook memes next? Disappointing... ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) canwesteng, Could it be that the "facts" being presented are made up of manipulated data and computer models? Just wondering. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I actually differ with controlnovice on the ""correlation <> causation. Period."" Because eventually it is... It's all we humans have to drive reasoning. hypothesis -> test -> refine hypothesis -> test ..... We unfortunately can't do that with MMGW.. But that is a digression. Here is the first example from a google search... And guess what the topic is.. http://www.universetoday.com/94468/1981-climate-ch... Now many say it got warm for some unknown reason. But how far to carry that line of reasoning. After all the entire universe cannot be known. Can it be claimed that a Vogon farted in 1980 and this is the cause. Seems awfully fishy to me that a known cause ( yes there is a greenhouse effect ) just happens to coincide with the expected result. Personally I believe it's solid science that greenhouse gasses are warming the planet. But I think it's less clear where this will lead us, although my gut reaction tells me it will be on balance very bad due to the fact that we humans have built up the planet based on a relatively constant climate pattern that will be upended, don't know how myself. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? controlnovice #### Quote (controlnovice) correlation <> causation. Period. Yup. Also, correlation <> ~causation. The real question is how do you turn mere correlation into causation. While there is no one true answer (ask any two epistemologists or philosophers of science and you’ll get two different answers), most would agree (I think) that consilience of evidence (see my post here at 11 Feb 16 03:21) that supports the theory and works against the null hypothesis (“it’s natural” – see my discussion here at 12 Feb 16 04:30 (with Panther140) or at 27 Oct 15 18:27 and 28 Oct 15 22:03 (with ornerynorsk)) and other competing theories (i.e. “it’s solar” – see my comment to Panther140 below) provides confidence to turn mere correlation into causation. Panther140 #### Quote (Panther140) put it in the microwave for 3 minutes on the High setting. You’re trying to say (sarcastically) that increased solar energy is responsible for the warming, not greenhouse gases? You’re aware that solar activity has been declining since ~1970 while temperatures have increased? You’re aware that if solar activity was responsible for the warming we’d expect to see the stratosphere warm as well as the surface (in reality the stratosphere is cooling) and we’d expect the Southern Hemisphere to warm faster than the Northern Hemisphere (in reality we observe the exact opposite) and we’d expect to see days warming faster than nights (in reality we observe the exact opposite)? Solar activity is of course the most important aspect in an absolute sense but the changes in solar activity are too weak and are working in the wrong direction and don’t align with the observed changes in climate to explain them. Hey controlnovice, does ~correlation = ~causation? canwesteng #### Quote (canwesteng) Why is the side presenting facts and hypotheses being called the one with the religion? You see…because…ahhh…hmmm…GALILEO! Because Galileo fought against the church and they are fighting against the science and they consider themselves Galileo 2.0, the science must be a religion! Don't you get it! Serious answer – ideology. When the proposed solutions to a problem go against your ideology you either have to accept it or convince yourself that the solution and problem are wrong. Most choose, due to cognitive dissonance, the latter. JNieman, #### Quote (JNieman) Has the discussion been dragged down so far that we've resorted to discussing talking points from THE FEDERALIST ? But don't you see, libertarian blogs are the last bastion of truth ever since NASA, NOAA, National Academy of Sciences, Royal Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Physics and 197 national science academies/institutions "have degraded the concept of "science"" by joining the "Church of AGW"! ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? rconnor, I'm not saying solar energy output has increased. I'm saying that there are many other factors being changed. I think there are too many other factors changing with the data acquisition and processing methods ALONE for us to come to a conclusion. Solar output =/= net energy input to the earth. You're thinking globally and steady-state. We have 2 hemispheres that are vastly different in their composition. The earth is not a uniform mass in a steady-state experiment (It tilts). Did you know that our orbit changes shape? Combine the axial tilt effects with Perihelion and Aphelion. Consider the temperature data acquisition procedure changes. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 2 Global warming, global cooling, so what. The fact is that dumping carbon into the air is going to change something, and maybe it is self correcting (how else did all the carbon get in the ground in the first place). To me it seems that we keep predicting things, (and inflating those predictions), to come up with conclusions that some people wanted anyway. The reality is what we call renewable seems to be short term replacement (what is short), by nature (?), use of something as an energy source. The question to me is how much energy goes into the manufacture of the things we use to make use of this renewable energy. Is this of a real value, or would you be better off just using FFs? The problem looks, from one perspective, that much of the renewable energy case is a mandate to create jobs and money for a few people, while the rest of us pay for it. The accounting of energy used to make renewable energy available is not one of the numbers presented. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) SnarkySparky, Interesting paper on a paper. It seems like the sections that were copied had a lot of self-fulfilling prophecies and seriously missed predictions. For example, statements like: #### Quote: “CO2 effects on climate may make full exploitation of coal resources undesirable,” the paper concludes. “An appropriate strategy may be to encourage energy conservation and develop alternative energy sources, while using fossil fuels as necessary during the next few decades.” have led the current administration to implement largely illegal regulations on the coal industry that are killing the industry in favor of unreliable and wasteful "alternative energy sources". I say "largely illegal" because the explicit language in the Clean Air Act prohibits the EPA from classifying either CO2 or CH4 as pollutants to be controlled under the Clean Air Act. The EPA is using the Clean Air Act as justification to control CO2 and CH4 as the cornerstone of this administrations efforts to kill the coal industry. A graph that portrays contemporary measured CO2 data that are significantly above the model output that was in the paper would indicate to me that the models in 1981 should have underpredicted warming from CO2 (if CO2 is in fact forcing and dominant) instead of significantly overpredicting warming. The quote #### Quote: It is shown that the anthropogenic carbon dioxide warming should emerge from the noise level of natural climate variability by the end of the century simply didn't happen. Claiming that the California drought is proof of the statement: #### Quote: Potential effects on climate in the 21st century include the creation of drought-prone regions in North America and central Asia as part of a shifting of climate zones is just nonsense. The California drought was caused by wrong-headed manipulation of water resources in the name of "environmentalism". Further, the quote #### Quote: consequent worldwide rise in sea level also has not happened. In short, this "eerily accurate" paper is just more of the same, much like Nostradamus predicting Kennedy's assassination, use words that are vague enough and you can call them "accurate predictions". David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Please explain how the California drought was caused by environmentalism, I'm interested to hear that. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Well I disagree with your assertion that the temperature has not climbed out of the noise. Nearly everyone agrees that the climate has warmed. If I showed you the same graph for an entirely unrelated issue and asked you if you though something changed I bet you would point to the 1980 time frame. That temp rise that was predicted in 1980 has in fact happened. There has been a break of sorts in the rise but to me it does not look like it breaks the trend. I also disagree with your assertion about wasteful alternative energy sources. This one I am curious about. " The California drought was caused by wrong-headed manipulation of water resources in the name of "environmentalism"." Silly me I though it was about rainfall. I think you would be more credible if you re considered some of your more outlandish positions. The very same can certainly X10 be said of certain factions of the environmental movement. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I think the most humble position to take here is skepticism. Theories and concerns about potential risks are always welcome. Conclusions should be reserved for repeatable experiments. I think that legislating any further on this would bring more risk of destruction and elitism to our civilization than the actual "change" in climate could. I have felt no effects of this "unnatural climate change", but you better believe I have felt a huge impact from the legislation concerning it. Don't get this confused with standard pollution control, which I understand and accept as a net benefit for society. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? " The California drought was caused by wrong-headed manipulation of water resources in the name of "environmentalism"." This is just political BS at its "finest." How did "environmentalism" make our snow pack so thin? Why not simply blame global warming on "environmentalism" instead of denying physics? If anything, we've not had sufficient "environmentalism," which would have forced the large cities and the Central Valley to take drastic measures to conserve water. And despite many years of drought, we've still not gotten anything in the regulation of water usage. You may not have noticed the drive on I-5 consists of rich GREEN fields interspersed with dead fields. This was not due to Congress, despite the signs that claim the contrary, but due completely to adhering to the antiquated water-rights handed down by the Spanish more than 2 centuries ago. Those that have them spray water like drunken sailors and have ZERO vested interest in conserving water and low-water farming techniques. Los Angeles is mostly covered with concrete or asphalt, so all its direct rainfall simply gets pied back into the ocean; whereas, if the environmentalists were really in power, we'd have mandatory catch basins and cisterns for every building and large lot, and we'd be recycling gray water like crazy, and everyone would have to replace their lawns with astro turf. TTFN I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) Two examples out of many. At a time when entire crop types (a friend's almond groves for example) were failing from a prohibition against irrigation (Almonds were seen as non-essential "luxury" crops) millions of gallons of pure water were being released to the ocean to protect a particular fish habitat. The danger to this fish was prospective, and no one could answer the question "if that fish is so delicate how did the species survive the last few hundred droughts?", the people in charge of the water supplies simply bowed to pressure from environmentalists and allowed the outflow to be maintained markedly higher than engineers recommended. In the area around Bakersfield waste water from Oil & Gas operations has been used for irrigation for decades. When farmers suggested expanding this sensible practice of using water whose TDS and SAR were both acceptable for irrigation to other areas the environmental lobby lost their minds. Several law suits were filed and for about a year the farmers in Bakersfield were terrified that the insanity was going to cut them off from using this perfectly acceptable water. Water management in a semi-arid region is a difficult undertaking. Every proposal to allocate the limited water to maximize the impact of the water was met with some flavor of "environmentalist" protesting, sabotaging, and filing law suits. Divert water away from a swamp and the Audobon Society files suit in behalf of migratory birds. Slow the flow of a river that has historically dried up in the summer and PETA sues to protect wild deer. Find a perfectly acceptable water source and Greenpeace sues to keep from "spewing industrial waste on our food supply". The drought was a bad one, but far from unprecedented and made much worse by environmentalism. As to the assertion that the "temperature has climbed out of the noise" it simply hasn't. If you look at data without the recent "restatements" you see that temperature has not risen in this century and to satisfy the assertion that it has risen out of the noise it would have to be nearly 2 degrees warmer today than the data seems to indicate even after all of the unpublished "adjustments", all of which are upwards. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I wonder if we're overthinking this. What about our assumption that "the atmosphere is a heat sink" that we start with in every Thermodynamics, Heat and Mass Transfer, and HVAC text? We have many more mechanical systems that dump excess heat into "the atmosphere" or "the surroundings" in use than there were 60-70 years ago. Perhaps the temperature of the atmosphere has increased a bit because we're just throwing more heat at it? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? With ALL due respect to ALL the given information surrendered in this thread... I cannot begin to associate with the discussion of IR radiation, greenhouse effect, mass flow, convection, conduction, solar fluxes, albedo, AU/Astronomical Units, anthropogenia, stigma from CFC's, e-NGO’s, NCO’s & NCOIC’s, SO2, CO2, CH4, bolide impact, spectral transmission and absorption, quasi-stable energy, Princess Peach reptilian quests, caloric values, photovoltaics, carbon cycles, IC engines, geothermal primordial radioactive decay or CO2E/kWh ratios, correlations and causations. Please forgive me for EVERYthing that I have left out. I respect the opinions in the respect that we all have opinions. Can we prove any of these opinions? Some information on this thread is presented as facts. What are these “facts” based on? Can we prove these facts? Do we consider that information by any department, organization, union, institute, academy, society, politician, party, church or religion, published in any magazine, abstract, paper or internet website as unquestionable fact? Generally speaking, there is equally opposing “reputable” sources on all sides… in every individual’s opinion, that is. Regardless of how much anything has been (allegedly) extensively studied, researched, or tested outside of their own or a neighbor’s garage, basement, dungeon, backyard or kitchen, has anyone here actually applied any of the alleged findings of these physical properties or forces to a full scale arena? Wang, Liang, the Mann-Kindell Test, universitytoday.com, Richard Dawkins, Kenneth Watt, Gaylord Nelson, Ben Stein, thefederalist.com, Alfred Neuman, Malthus' predictions, Clement, Darwin, Lauer, Archie Bunker, Dressler, Orwell, Sherwood, Arrhenius, Galileo… they all have their own biased agenda(s), perspectives and desires as do each one of us. As has been “proven” – largely by way of what all venues of media allows to be revealed to us – in the past, while, what we individually consider facts, by all aforementioned, equally, there has been just as much information presented to the public, since what any of us understand to be the beginning of time, that has been “proven” to be false, corrupt, a hoax, etc. Who, here, has been to Venus? Mercury? Antarctica (I suppose a few)? Unless anybody contributing to this thread has been able to apply ANY of the alleged findings of these physical properties or forces to a full scale arena, then NONE of our input is anymore absolute than opinion. Flat earth, Human evolution, Man on the moon, GW, Chem trails, 9/11, Black budget, Mockingbird, Roswell, Vaccinations, Nayirah, Trilateral, Northwoods, Iran-Contra, Ishtar Leporidae, Gulf of Tonkin, Ajax, Snow White, Gladio, Church Committee, MH370, NWO, Bilderberg, Illuminati, Black Sox, Silkwood, Manhattan, Bohemian Grove, Paperclip, Dreyfus, Santa, Watergate, Federal Reserve, Big Brother, Iron Mountain, MK-Ultra, UFO’s, Flouride, Mercury Fillings, COINTELPRO, Goldman-Sachs, The Business Plot… the list goes on… with few exceptions, none of us can prove or disprove any of this! To stay on topic, it takes renewable energy to even visit this post… refocus… then return to work. BUT! It IS good dialogue, “(t)aint” it? Thank you... carry on... ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Much of that heat that is being thrown is from HVAC, or said another way, we could be causing atmosphere warming because we are using more air cooling equipment to keep us cool in the hot summer. Simple solution; Make people do without HVAC. Why has that not been proposed? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? cranky - of course it has been proposed. that is the (alleged) purpose of the carbon tax. make the price of energy so expensive we cant afford to run our air conditioning, especially the AC in the Suburban. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? "Two examples out of many. At a time when entire crop types (a friend's almond groves for example) were failing from a prohibition against irrigation (Almonds were seen as non-essential "luxury" crops) millions of gallons of pure water were being released to the ocean to protect a particular fish habitat. The danger to this fish was prospective, and no one could answer the question "if that fish is so delicate how did the species survive the last few hundred droughts?", the people in charge of the water supplies simply bowed to pressure from environmentalists and allowed the outflow to be maintained markedly higher than engineers recommended. " Again, that's political malarkey. There are plenty of almond groves that are still lush and green, even in the pit of the drought, so they obviously had no problems getting water in the same valley that your friends's field failed. You and your friend seem to forget that the net result of watering all those fields is runoff that's heavily contaminated with wastes and heavy metals, which didn't exist for the delta darts prior to the last century. The claim is that we should run the delta dry to keep all your friends' farms watered, but that would mean any shipping that can currently go from the San Francisco Bay to Sacramento and Stockton would have to be stop, as would the actual farming that occurs in the delta itself. Additionally, there are downstream users of delta water in the Bay Area, who would likewise suffer if the water supply were to dry up. The state made an economic trade-off in not revoking all the grandfathered water rights and in not messing up the delta economy itself. Your friend is a casualty of an economic trade off. TTFN I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Correlation <> Causation I can throw up a chart copied from the internet as good as anybody. Disprove it... Answer to the Global Cooling Warming...wait...what is it today? Oh...that's right... Climate Change Alarmists: We need more Pirates! Maybe Somalia can help.... ______________________________________________________________________________ This is normally the space where people post something insightful. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Need HVAC to control the temperature inside of a dyno cell while running engines through EMI cert tests. HVAC decidedly warms the atmosphere. Proof that EPA regulations are destroying the environment. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Correlation without theory is nonsense; your graph has the same problem as the actual climate in explaining the so-called "pause." "Need HVAC to control the temperature inside of a dyno cell while running engines through EMI cert tests. HVAC decidedly warms the atmosphere. Proof that EPA regulations are destroying the environment. " So, you've proven that it is AGW by that argument. TTFN I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? #### Quote (crank108) Much of that heat that is being thrown is from HVAC #### Quote (Panther140) HVAC decidedly warms the atmosphere. Firstly, HVAC doesn’t create much heat (or turned chemical or other forms of stored energy into heat), it moves it from inside the building to the outside. This is still, more or less, the same amount of heat energy in the Earth’s atmosphere. So, right away, HVAC does not decidedly warm the atmosphere. Secondly, waste heat from human activities (that release heat energy otherwise stored in a chemical or other form) are absolutely nothing compared to the amount of energy the planet is accruing due to the greenhouse effect. The forcing of waste heat from humans is +0.028 W/m^2 (Flanner 2009) whereas the greenhouse forcing is +2.9 W/m^2 (IPCC). To put this another way, the planet is accuring ~2.5x10^14 J/s (source , 2). That’s equivalent to humans setting off 59,751 tons of dynamite every second (assuming 4.184x10^9 J/ton). So, no, waste heat is not significantly impacting the amount of energy in the atmosphere. But the greenhouse effect sure is. #### Quote (controlnoive) Correlation <> Causation. I can throw up a chart copied from the internet as good as anybody. Disprove it... You know better. And I already told you the answer. But maybe this time you’ll bother reading what I said (I’m not banking on it though). To go from mere correlation to causation you need the following: • A theory that provides a physical mechanism, that agrees with known physics, (greenhouse effect) and makes predictions (see here at 11 Feb 16 03:21) • The various predictions align with past observations (yes and yes) as well as match future projections (yes), creating a consilience of evidence. • The theory has stronger explanatory power than the null hypothesis (yes – see the two references I already gave to you) • The theory has stronger explanatory power than competing hypothesis (yes – solar? see my comment to Panther140 – geothermal flux? See here at 16 27 Aug 14 12:48 – cloud cover? See my comment here at 28 Jan 15 16:58 – land use changes? See my discussion with beej67 here at 8 Oct 15 19:35, 4 Nov 15 06:37, 10 Nov 15 21:42) • If you have all those, then you have confidence that you have a causal theory that can explain the observations. The anthropogenic climate change theory has all of those, your “joke” doesn’t. To think that the two are at all equivalent demonstrates just how little you know about the subject. Of course that’s never stopped people from having strong opinions on the subject, just look at this thread. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? rconnor If you take heat energy from inside a building and move it to the outside... How is the atmosphere immune from being warmed by it? by the way, the EGTs on my car are about 1400 degrees. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? The heat came from the atmosphere, conducted into your building, and then AC moves it back into the atmosphere. Rinse and repeat. Unless you are heating your building while running the AC there is no new energy added, other than whatever it takes to run the compressors and pumps for the AC. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 4 #### Quote (Panther140) I think the most humble position to take here is skepticism. Or maybe the most humble position is not to assume that an entire field of experts, nearly every academic institution and major journal are incompetent and, instead, accept they might know better than you...especially when you think transferring heat, that came from the outside, back outside will warm the planet... ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) When all else fails, a call to experts is your last resort? I wish I felt that "nearly every academic institution" (actually it is a small percentage), "[every] major journal" and "an entire field of experts" (that is a real stretch) were simply incompetent and not venal. Problem is that there is simply too much money on the table and the only way to access it is to toe the party line. Were you to remove government funding from this field it would dry up like croplands aren't. Sneering at the idea that some percentage of the concentrated heat at HVAC heat exchangers has a different impact on the the environment than the diffuse energy that contributed to it (even if you exclude the idea that most of that exhausted heat comes from lighting, human waste heat, industrial processes, none of which have recently come from the sun) is beneath contempt. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 3 #### Quote (rconnor) entire field of experts Not quite (National Review): In an analysis of 12,000 abstracts, he found “a 97% consensus among papers taking a position on the cause of global warming in the peer-reviewed literature that humans are responsible.” “Among papers taking a position” is a significant qualifier: Only 34 percent of the papers Cook examined expressed any opinion about anthropogenic climate change at all. Since 33 percent appeared to endorse anthropogenic climate change, he divided 33 by 34 and — voilà — 97 percent! When David Legates, a University of Delaware professor who formerly headed the university’s Center for Climatic Research, recreated Cook’s study, he found that “only 41 papers — 0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent,” endorsed what Cook claimed. Several scientists whose papers were included in Cook’s initial sample also protested that they had been misinterpreted. “Significant questions about anthropogenic influences on climate remain,” Legates concluded. Just another religion. Can't prove a negative. ______________________________________________________________________________ This is normally the space where people post something insightful. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Does biased funding skew research in a preferred direction, one that supports an agency mission, policy or paradigm? how many of those 41 papers endorsing the hypothesis that AGW causes climate change were actually peer reviewed by somebody that was not receiving a federal research grant? That should be a readily available and pertinent fact shouldn't it? Apparently there is research going on to "prove" this fairly evident truth. https://judithcurry.com/2015/05/06/is-federal-fund... ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Most of the exhausted heat most definitely doesn't come from people or lighting - not to mention people would be releasing the heat anyway. In some cases industrial processes would be the major cause of heat to be cooled but the majority is obviously residential/industrial applications, where you are just cooling heat that came the outdoors. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Clearly ZDAS is pulling our leg now. Ha ha ha ha... ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? "actually peer reviewed by somebody that was not receiving a federal research grant" Why is that important? The peer review process is not public, and not available to government funders, so there is neither penalty nor motive to skew a review. We routinely get grilled by SETAs funded by the government reviewing our Government funded work. If anything, the bias is in the opposite direction, since the SETAs are trying to show that they're the right experts; if the process were truly that venal, then there's motive to savage everyone else's theories in favor of one's own, since there's always competition for dollars and venal scientists have zero motive to share the riches with competing scientists. You cannot argue venality and then claim they're all conspiring to help each other. TTFN I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? surely you jest? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) SnarkySparky, You've got 18 posts in 9 years here so you probably need some newby slack, but please understand that to paraphrase Men In Black "we deniers do not have a sense of humor that we are aware of". I was as serious as I could be. The amount of money on the table on the "warming" side is big enough to tempt Martin Luther King to join the KKK. Not just government money (although that is staggeringly huge), but the e-NGO's are simply tripping over stacks of donations. Take out the hysteria and much of those donations dry up. That is what makes 2015 "the warmest year on record" even though it was considerably cooler than a couple of years in the 1930's, the e-NGO's need the hysteria in order to stay relevant. Too many people have too much at stake to ever give up without the kind of fight that rconnor continues to put up. I have no idea if he is working this hard out of a consuming desire to convert the world to his point of view or if he has (or hopes for) a piece of that pie--there just isn't any way to transport pigs without getting some mud on your pants. I often hear that I'm obviously a paid shill for "Big Oil" to take the positions that I take. I'm not, but my saying it will not be convincing, I don't have a peer-reviewed reference to "prove" it. I often get paid by the American Petroleum Institute (API) to participate in the industry response to environmental regulations, but they don't pay (or encourage) me to spend time in these conversations, it is all unpaid. I do it because my work with the API has given me insight into the workings of the e-NGO's and other environmental lobbyists and I've gotten glimpses of their end game and it terrifies me. Anything I can do to foil their goals (like, for example, convincing a single engineer that AGW is a hoax invented for subtle goals that are not in the interest of freedom and liberty) then I'm happy to invest available time. IRStuff, Are you really that naive? I have been signed up as a peer reviewer with several journals. It is anonymous, right? I asked one of them why I never get papers to review and her response was "we read your engineering.com article on climate change, you understand ...". The editors pick the reviewers, and the editors salaries are based on circulation. Someone who works to tone down the hysteria reduces circulation and doesn't get in the door. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? If you think "federal grant" money is any more persuasive than private industry money, you're deliberately blinding yourself. If you think there is more money in "proving" climate change is happening, than in trying to prove it isn't - you're deliberately blinding yourself. If one side was so immensely more persuasive, we wouldn't be in this embarrassing stalemate preventing any progress in mitigating the trend or in learning to adapt. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I don't question the honesty of zdas04's belief in what he says. He's not a "paid shill", which to my mind means a person who is paid to say something on behalf of his benefactor that he himself does not believe. I do question his objectivity on this subject. He has a bias that has him denying fundamental physics when it inconveniently points in the wrong direction. It also has him strangely pretending that there is debate about settled issues such as the origin of the increased atmospheric CO2- a point which a sensible debater would concede because a) it is amply proven and b) it really doesn't matter to his primary point, which is simply that the excess CO2 is too little to matter anyway. Does the industry that employs him contribute to his bias? Certainly- but he's not being dishonest to anyone other than himself. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? #### Quote (rconnor) A theory that provides a physical mechanism, that agrees with known physics, (greenhouse effect) and makes predictions (see here at 11 Feb 16 03:21) Interesting that before 'the pause', the data was used to claim Global Warming. Once it showed a 'pause', all the alarmist say..."well, that data isn't sufficient...we really need to look at this over here." Prior to the 'pause', that data was being used for years to 'prove' a theory. Once the same data differed from models or theory...well, the alarmist become great Wizard of Oz....'nothing to see here, pay no attention to the data behind the curtain." and come up with some other data to show correlation as seen here: #### Quote (rconnor) The various predictions align with past observations (yes and yes) as well as match future projections (yes), creating a consilience of evidence. but the data that shows a pause is thrown out now because it doesn't match the intent of the author. ______________________________________________________________________________ This is normally the space where people post something insightful. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? #### Quote (zdas04) The amount of money on the table on the "warming" side is big enough to tempt Martin Luther King to join the KKK. Steady... ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Ok. So let's put HVAC aside. We'll say running a compressor contributes a negligible amount of heat to the earth. We'll furthermore assume that winter does not exist and nobody on the planet runs a furnace to generate heat. What about a car engine though? Most engines are ~60% efficient before parasitic losses IIRC. Doesn't that mean the other 40% is lost as waste energy (noise, heat, etc)? I'm just asking, has anyone taken the approximate heat dump of a few hundred million running vehicles, the specific heat of air, and approximate mass of the atmosphere to see if that might account for a non-negligible degrees/time contribution? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Well 100% of the energy is ultimately converted to heat, so the ~30% of the energy your car uses to accelerate itself eventually becomes heat on the brakes when you stop. FYI, car engines aren't 60% efficient, unless you are driving a combined cycle natural gas power plant. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? It's interesting about the money, because clearly, organizations such as Heartland and the Koch brothers have tons of money to fund people to write articles against AGW, but seem to refuse to fund serious efforts to come up with a full and complete physical model that explains their counterpoint. If money was such a big deal, dangling a billion or so out there should entice a bunch of scientists to bail from their positions and take up the mantle of the deniers. Even a 100 million endowment, which would be chump change to the Koch brothers, could fund a dozen or so researchers and their grad students indefinitely, and they could surely come up with a model that predicts the exact same trend using non-greenhouse gas mechanisms. If only 1% of the scientific community actually accepts AGW, then it should be trivial to fund any number of scientists to go the opposite way. TTFN I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Explain to me how the hot side of the AC unit transfers heat to ambient air without being warmer than the ambient air. Here is a really basic introduction to the refrigerator cycle: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/tools-produ... Go touch the back of your refrigerator if you still cannot grasp how an AC unit would warm outside air. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Did you GHG alarmists go to engineering school? I figured they would've covered that you can't transfer the heat out of the house without creating a temperature differential. Here is something from MIT http://web.mit.edu/2.972/www/reports/compression_r... At this point I am proud to have the opposing viewpoint to your theories on ANTYHING relating to heat energy. Here is some more information on how heat travels. http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/cosmic_classroo... Class dismissed. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) JNeiman, Do you really believe that? Here is a February, 2015 quote from National Review #### Quote: The federal government — which will gain unprecedented regulatory power if climate legislation is passed — has funded scientific research to the tune of 32.5 billion since 1989, according the Science and Public Policy Institute. That is an amount that dwarfs research contributions from oil companies and utilities, which have historically funded both sides of the debate. The article goes on to talk about "left leaning" foundations that only invest on the warmist side of the debate. 32.5 Billion from the feds in 20 years doesn't sound like much, but it has funded some amazing life styles. Say that there have been an average of 2000 people drawing on that pool (no one really knows, and the government records on who the checks are cut to is not available to the general public), that is 812k/researcher/year. People like Michael Mann (who has received 6 million according to the linked article) may skew the per capita number downward some, but 6 million only takes a bit over 7 years to be 6 million so maybe not. The source of this information is the Science and Public Policy Institute. That link goes on to add the amount spent on "climate technology" and "Foreign Assistance" for global warming bringing the total to 79 billion between 1989 and 2009. Not chump change. A couple of other factoids from the link: #### Quote: • Carbon trading worldwide reached 126 billion in 2008. Banks are calling for more carbon-trading. And experts are predicting the carbon market will reach 2 – 10 trillion making carbon the largest single commodity traded. • Meanwhile in a distracting sideshow, Exxon-Mobil Corp is repeatedly attacked for paying a grand total of 23 million to skeptics—less than a thousandth of what the US government has put in, and less than one five-thousandth of the value of carbon trading in just the single year of 2008. • The large expenditure in search of a connection between carbon and climate creates enormous momentum and a powerful set of vested interests. By pouring so much money into one theory, have we inadvertently created a self-fulfilling prophesy instead of an unbiased investigation? This amount doesn't include tax credits for renewable energy (which are easy to find in percents of purchase price, but very very difficult to find in total dollars, I wonder why?) or the biggest of all "net metering" of electricity (where the utilities have to pay retail prices for power that they don't need and is 3-7 times more expensive than wholesale power). David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Lets think about this consensus claim for at least one second.. We're all scientists, by definition.. Is there even CLOSE to a 97% consensus on this subject even within this thread? I highly doubt there is even a 50% consensus on any single part of this subject. Anybody claiming a 97% consensus is not a trustworthy source. Not only are they referring to one single bogus study from long in the past, but they probably don't even know the semantics of that survey or how the results were actually scored. They basically rejected all dissenters. In some circles, finding somebody willing to question the claims of the GHG Chicke-Littles is about as likely as seeing a nun with a copy of "The Origin of Species". Their punishments would be the same, and for the same reason. Blasphemy. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) Panther140, There are a large number of papers on the web describing the methodology that Cook (for one, there were others) used to come up with that made up number. One that I like (the fact that I wrote it does not color my thinking) is One Engineers Perspective on Global Warming David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? zdas04, thank you for the link. That article makes a lot of good points. I think everybody should read it "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Panther, I think everyone here grasps refrigeration a bit better than you... Obviously there is a temperature differential to take heat to the outside... there is also a temperature differential taking heat inside. That's where the heat on the inside is coming from. Look at your fridge. The back of it is hot, so surely it takes some energy outside the fridge, and it does this constantly, no? Although, stick your hand inside and you will find it is well above absolute zero. That is because heat enters the fridge through conduction. That heat is the same heat that the fridge circulated. The only net heat is the energy lost in compressors and pumps running the fridge. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Apparently my work here is not done, canwesteng. Picture this for a minute to help you understand: - Remove all of the atmospheric air from the earth, along with all of the heat energy contained within it. - Contain that air and heat energy separately for now-- Put is someplace empty. We'll call this container "Al Gore's head" - Substitute a new atmosphere that starts off at absolute zero (that means there is no heat energy present) - Allow that new atmosphere to reach equilibrium temperature - Pump all of the heat out of Al Gore's head and into the newly temp-steadied replacement atmosphere - Be sure to leave the cooled air inside of Al Gore's head - Insulate Al Gore's head extremely well and put it somewhere on earth You will see that you have doubled the energy content in the atmosphere. The heat that was originally taken from the atmosphere and put into the room was replaced/backfilled in the atmosphere organically. Then the heat was pumped back into the atmosphere, which is possible with the AC unit. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? That's the dumbest analogy I've ever read. So when you build a house you are removing the heat from the atmosphere? Then running AC you are adding it back? It isn't rocket science to see that AC units aren't adding any heat to the earth outside of the heat losses running their pumps. Running an AC unit in a closed system (outside of thermal radiation, the earth more or less fits that definition) doesn't create heat, it moves it around. Of all the things that humans could do to add heat to the atmosphere (physically burning combustible material for example), you pick the one that is obviously and demonstrably incorrect. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I'm not sure what the argument is about HVAC heating the atmosphere. To what significance, I am not sure and have not spent time looking into it. According to the US EIA, in 2015 about 40% of energy in the US was consumed by buildings (39 x 10^15 BTU), 20% of that by cooling and refrigeration (7.8 x 10^15 BTU). So 8% of US energy is consumed(transformed)in a refrigeration cycle to eventually become heat. Yes, the energy balance between heat source and sink is equal, but you lost entropy in the process, and all compressor input energy is converted to heat. The heat being pumped out of your refrigerator evaporator coil is equal to the heat pumped to the condenser PLUS heat of compression, plus motor / compressor losses. The fridge heats your house, and HVAC heats the atmosphere. Unless I'm missing something which is always a possibility. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Let me repeat: #### Quote (rconnor) Secondly, waste heat from human activities (that release heat energy otherwise stored in a chemical or other form) are absolutely nothing compared to the amount of energy the planet is accruing due to the greenhouse effect. The forcing of waste heat from humans is +0.028 W/m^2 (Flanner 2009) whereas the greenhouse forcing is +2.9 W/m^2 (IPCC). To put this another way, the planet is accuring ~2.5x10^14 J/s (source , 2). That’s equivalent to humans setting off 59,751 tons of dynamite every second (assuming 4.184x10^9 J/ton). So, no, waste heat is not significantly impacting the amount of energy in the atmosphere. But the greenhouse effect sure is. Even if the heat rejected from HVAC systems back to the outside was 100% waste heat from human activities (which it's not), it would be a fraction of a forcing 1/100th the power of greenhouse gases. Even if you deny the greenhouse theory, there is no way that waste heat from human activities is causing the planet to accrue 2.5x10^14 J/s, unless we are setting off 60,000 tons of TNT/second, every second. Furthermore, if we were increasing heat generated within the Earth's atmosphere, without influencing the energy balance at the TOA (Top of Atmosphere), the Planck feedback would likely cause the planet to radiate the excess heat, leading to a small net change. So I'll say it again - Heat rejected from HVAC systems or all other human activities combined does not have a significant impact on increase in global temperature. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? "build a house you are removing the heat from the atmosphere? Then running AC you are adding it back? It isn't rocket science to see that AC units aren't adding any heat to the earth " In essence, you are removing heat and air from the atmosphere when you build a house. Then you are adding only the heat back into the atmosphere. That means you concentrate earth's overall atmospheric heat content into a smaller amount of air. Go into a room that has a steady temperature of 300 Kelvin inside. Then bring in a refrigerator that contains 25% of the volume of total air within the room. Turn the fridge on to bring its internal air temp down to 0 Kelvin. You think the room around that refrigerator will stay the same temperature as it was before? You now have 75% of the ambient air as before, but you still have 100% of the original heat being contained in that smaller amount of air. This is an incredibly basic concept. I think you are over-thinking it. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? rconnor tell me what the carbon cycle's role is throughout this entire process of our sky falling and sending us into certain apocalypse. Is CO2 one of the four horsemen? "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? so we may not know what "renewable energy" means, but we sure as heck know how to pi off one another ! and to answer panther "yes", or rather he's riding in the chariot being pulled by the four horsemen another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Julius Mayer already has told us what renewable energy is. Google it or read a book or something. rb1957, does "Famine" pull the chariot with CO2 in it? Because I always thought lack of CO2 as kind of a cause of famine?? One thing is for certain, the omnipotence and omniscience that governments grant themselves in the name of "protecting" the environment GOES VERY WELL WITH CONQUEST. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? #### Quote (Panther140) In essence, you are removing heat and air from the atmosphere when you build a house. Then you are adding only the heat back into the atmosphere. That means you concentrate earth's overall atmospheric heat content into a smaller amount of air. ....WHAT? All you did was DISPLACE or MOVE air/heat. I can't wait to hear your explanation about the changing volume of air when you realize that trees grow from seeds into might giants... we should start "removing" forests so we can regain our valuable atmospheric volume! ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Children = renewable energy. Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA) ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? HVAC does heat the planet because it requires energy from another source, usually electric. To make that electric available it needs to come from somewhere (even on windless nights). I just don't see how a carbon tax is going to reduce usage of HVAC, (Headline of a new government program so poor children can afford HVAC in their homes), and in fact will only increase the amount of carbon consumed. People who have government help have less of an incentive to reduce their consumption. The carbon tax just unfairly hits the poor. The best solution is to come up with better ideas, and I'm just not seeing much of it here. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I see a lot things being said here that any respectable engineer should know are grossly incorrect. Mostly they are so wrong it is senseless to debate the points. Surely you guys are just baiting right ?? "Formal education is a weapon, and essential for advancing knowledge beyond the obvious" - Me In questions of science, the authority of a thousand may be of less worth the humble reasoning of a single individual on rare occasions, but it is very unwise to forge against consensus without reason. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist There Galileo I fixed it for ya. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? JNieman (Aerospace) 13 Jul 16 19:46 "....WHAT? All you did was DISPLACE or MOVE air/heat. I can't wait to hear your explanation about the changing volume of air when you realize that trees grow from seeds into might giants... we should start "removing" forests so we can regain our valuable atmospheric volume! " No you didn't displace air/heat. You displaced heat and heat alone. That's the entire point. In essence, you are removing heat and air from the atmosphere when you build a house. Then you are adding only the heat back into the atmosphere. That means you concentrate earth's overall atmospheric heat content into a smaller amount of air. Notice that I said CONCENTRATE, and not ADD!!! Go into a room that has a steady temperature of 300 Kelvin inside. Then bring in a refrigerator that contains 25% of the volume of total air within the room. Turn the fridge on to bring its internal air temp down to 0 Kelvin. You think the room around that refrigerator will stay the same temperature as it was before? You now have 75% of the ambient air containing the the same amount of heat that used to be distributed throughout 100% of the air in the room. You still have 100% of the original heat being contained in only a portion of that air. This is an incredibly basic concept. I think you are over-thinking it. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 4 I think I have some perfect renewable energy sources; Harness the heat from all the tempers flaring in this (and other similar) posts. Harness the pressure increases from all the ego inflation. Harness the cooling potential from all the cold disdain, sarcasm, disgust, etc. being shown. Harness the kinetic energy from all the mud slinging, finger pointing, hand raising, barb throwing. If one tenth of this energy could be harnessed, there would be no need for carbon based fuels (or any fuels for that matter). ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 5 Unfortunately, this is where Engineering is going (in the next 5 years) "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert" Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Guys I get it now. Panther is using those new AC units that have a coefficient of performance of infinity. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I'm the obvious winner about the AC pissing match. Its better to just stand down.. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? 3 and cue Jerry Springer . . . . It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? We should all agree it takes energy to move energy. And it takes energy to move mass. The question is how to reduce the amount of energy used, or where that energy comes from. Instead of thinking about the box, can anyone think outside the box? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? cranky108, It seems like that was at least somewhat the original intention of this thread. Whether you're a believer, skeptic, denier, etc... one thing is certain: We're fed a consistent bill of goods that all carbon based fuels are bad - to the point where it's becoming ingrained in our culture. Schools teach it to young children. Nearly all mainstream news outlets offer it as fact. The majority of people who accept it do so without any understanding of the underlying science and other issues discussed herein. Thus, the issue is stuck "inside the box". The burning of methane that would otherwise be vented directly to atmosphere is both renewable and GHG negative, but how many people do you think would believe that at this point? As soon as you mention "natural gas" and "burning", most people will default to a negative and dismissive viewpoint. Not the thoughtful individuals of Eng-Tips, of course, but the majority of the brainwashed population. Methane collection could turn out to be the salvation of humanity's energy needs and benefit the planet. It may not be likely, but neither is wind and solar energy solving all of our problems. The point is it's outside the prevailing metaphorical box. A rare thing. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? I agree methane can be renewable. Likely it may require a new term if it is Not renewable, but intercepted on it's way into the air. But if you accept methane, or natural gas can be renewable, then that might be a starting point to build upon. However, if you accept that not enough natural gas can be produced, developed, or delivered, or that natural gas is not a good fuel source for some applications, then we need to find other fuels, or options. Over the complaints of the negative impacts of wood as a fuel, it is renewable. But I have heard little discussion of improving the negative impacts. I also hear of using alga, or seaweed as a fuel source but little is being said. Maybe more study is needed. What we hear mostly as renewable is wind and solar panels, but very little of solar heating, or other disfavored sources. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? FoxRox better watch yourself!! What we clearly need is a draconian batch of laws with cruel and unusual punishment and no trial for offenders. "Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) Cranky108, This month's Mechanical Engineering (ASME's member rag) has an article that says that the Chinese are deploying 8 million small scale (the article wasn't specific, but it sounded like they were around 3 kW) anaerobic digesters this year. UC Davis has a 12 MW plant powered entirely by on-campus food waste (and landscape clippings). The article mentions several medium-scale (around 1 MW) projects in operation. 70 percent of the people in India do not have access to modern plumbing and uncontained human waste has led to recurring epidemics of typhus and dysentery, several researchers are working on projects to convert this dispersed waste stream into electricity. The average home in the U.S. uses about 11 MWh/year of power, that is a load that could be satisfied with a digester providing fuel for a 2 kW genset (Honda makes one you can buy for600 at Walmart) with enough methane left over to allow a compressor to store gas for cooking. A home could use one of these small units that the Chinese are deploying for under $3k using human waste, food waste, and yard clippings could supply all of a family's non-transportation energy needs. I have a swamp cooler so my winter/summer electric bill is pretty consistent at around$60/month. Gas is about $65/month (average winter/summer, the big load seems to be hot water) so I could be energy independent for non-transportation energy with the system fully paid off in 2 years, but there are no tax credits for implementing truly renewable energy with good economics, the government only wants to encourage wind and solar. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? it sounds fantastic ... maybe too fantastic ? all (even most) home energy from household waste. if true, and if it'd pay-off in a couple of years, why wait for a tax credit ? another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) With 8 million units going being installed in China, I'm betting that they are going to find some bugs that need to be worked out? Five years from now I expect this technology to reach a point where it really is ready for prime time, I'll look at it then. Making compression and storage bulletproof before too many people burn their families down is a big one. I really did not intend to make this look like a panacea, it isn't. It does look like a viable path beyond "the end of fossil fuel" whenever that happens (and it will). If the Church of AGW believes that they are right, then they should be howling for acceleration of the deployment of this technology instead of making me inventory pneumatic controllers on gas wells that vent 0.002 SCF/hour of methane into the atmosphere. Something on the order of 2000 times as much methane and CO2 is put into the atmosphere every year from decomposition of biological activities as industry emits. Capturing a very small percentage of that number would reduce the so called "greenhouse gases" by much more than all the Cap and Trade ever proposed. But it looks to me like the Church of AGW is more about punishing industry than fixing anything. Between "dry geothermal" and waste management, the future (without grid-scale wind or solar, and without net metering) looks pretty damn bright to me. I see myself (and virtually every competent engineer I've ever worked with) as the ultimate environmentalist since we dearly hate to see anything discarded until we've extracted every bit of value (in all forms) that we can get. Combined-cycle power plants reach efficiency levels 3 times conventional plants because engineers thought about how to keep from throwing 78% of their energy input up the smoke stack. That technology met with a lot of resistance in the early days and now it is widely accepted. It came about from engineers hating wastefulness. The people that embrace the title "environmentalist" tend to just hate humanity. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? It's hard to take you seriously, and to believe there's objectivity in your research, when you constantly repeat "Church of AGW" regarding anything you disagree with. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Anaerobic digesters are definitely useful, but if you want to run one for energy generation in a residential home you're talking about re-doing your DWV plumbing- not a small cost given that it's all buried. You'd need to separate your grey water (laundry, bathing and likely dishwashing) from your true waste water, and you'd need to flush using a great deal less water. Digesters need quite a concentrated stream of organics. You'd also be talking about doing complete source separation of all your food and yard waste, preferably with grinding. Then there's the undigestible solid residue that you need to remove periodically from the digester. Then there's the genset, and presumably you'd want some storage in there too. Don't forget that you don't get methane out of these systems, you get an equimolar mixture of methane and CO2, so any storage scheme is processing a lot of inerts which hurts the efficiency. Definitely worthwhile on a farm, but not sure if the average residence is going to want to put up with this. In comparison, some solar panels on your roof, with or without battery storage, is very easy and aside from perhaps a trip to the roof every once in a while with a hose and a squeegee- nearly maintenance free. Panels are now$1 CDN/watt and microinverters are around the same, and still getting cheaper.

We use a lot more energy in my climate for heating than in the form of electricity- obviously your climate is the other way around. Solar makes even more sense for you than it does for me.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

2
(OP)
JNeiman,
I'm not selling anything at all, and you are quite welcome to disregard everything I say. I don't care. There are many things that I disagree with that I do not attribute to the non-scientific blather of politicians, non-technical media, and well meaning fools that make up the hysteria-machine that I call the Church of AGW.

Moltenmetal,
Like I said, there will be bugs to work out. I would think the 8 million units in China are focused more towards village and family-group than individual home, but the article was non-specific. Few of the homes in rural China have DWV systems so I'm thinking it more like an outhouse than a modern bathroom (no flushing water at all). The way I picture this deployment I would expect the smells to be horrendous for the first generation.

Looking at the anaerobic reactions, the CO2 comes from aerobic bacteria using up the last of the air. I expect that future generations of this technology will take steps to minimize the amount of air that gets to the digester proper (maybe through a pre-treat vacuum chamber?) to improve the energy density of the gas. I have successfully run engines on 30% CO2, and have seen specs for a "digester corroborator" that can run on 60% inerts and fully saturated with water vapor and still deliver full rated hp. The inert component is just a problem with energy required to compress the gas and the size of the storage, but as you point out those are not trivial problems.

I find solar panels without storage (and their facilitator, "net metering") to be an immoral demand on your friends and neighbors to fund your delusions. It is not sustainable and I'm confident that sometime in the future society will look back on those perversions with disgust. I install fully independent systems on wellsites without tax credits, buyer's incentives, or net metering and the economics make sense because connecting the wells to the grid is expensive. I'm all for anyone who wants to follow the same model. Taxpayer and ratepayer funding of panels on my roof is simply enviro-welfare and I hate it.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

I'm interesting in information; the more honest, the better. I appreciate all the information you provide. Renewable methane was something I hadn't read much about before and it's been interesting so far. It's just that as you're definitely aware, there's plenty of 'information' out there that is just research intended to justify a conclusion already-made, rather than research conducted in earnest, to come to an impartial conclusion. I'm really only interested in the latter. When someone starts 'mud slinging' any other side with derision, it devalues their position. It may have had something to do with your 'exclusion' from peer-reviewing papers, rather than the substance of your writing, even. Self-fulfilling doubts, so to speak. I certainly wouldn't consider someone writing as you do to be a fair and impartial reviewer.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

JNieman,

I agree that the term "Church of AGW" does not have a place in a serious conversation about climate change. However neither does the term "denier". Denier is connotative of Holocaust deniers, moon landing deniers, and conspiracy theorists in general. It is not crazy to be skeptical of climate science. Our understanding of the climate and its drivers have certainly improved, but no scientist would argue that it is perfect or even that we have all the pieces of the puzzle. There is too much at stake for too many industries, institutions, and politicians for this to be an objective issue. Dishonesty and deceit are in no short supply when money, power, and influence are on the line. It is impossible to thoroughly review all the information out there and make infallible conclusions when everything must be taken with a pound of salt. I have no doubt that science will ultimately prevail in the culmination of this debate, but that will likely be many years from now. It wouldn't surprise me to see more flip-flops, new discoveries, and revelations along the way.

For the record, I'm not accusing you of using the term "denier". I didn't go back in your posts to check. I'm just speaking generally. It is a term that gets thrown around a lot - much more than the religion metaphor.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

@FoxRox

Agreed. I don't mind either term in certain contexts. I've used either types of comments, I'm sure, in various casual conversations. I just think that if we're having a serious conversation about evidence, data, analyses of technical information, etc, it deserves a bit of professionalism or I doubt the integrity of the person proposing it. I speak on this forum as I would 'as a professional' which is certainly different from how I'd discuss it with a buddy at lunch over beer and burgers.

Also very much in agreement that there's no shortage of high grade bovine-scat from every side of the debate - which is why I cherish objective sources when possible, and this forum is often a great source of varying viewpoints discussed from multiple directions by intelligent people with a variety of specialized knowledge.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

anaerobic digesters, I do believe they would need cleaning at times, but with my most recent event with a septic tank, I would guess it would be on about a three year basis. And why would such a device not have a discharge into a leach field like a septic tank?

But the almost $900 for a cleanout might make people think twice for such a device. Another factor for the digesters is the sulfur rich other gases that can cause corrosion of equipment. If a generator needs to handle a larger inert gas load to produce the same amount of power, then I would think the engine size needs to increase to produce the same amount of power (but not the generator). So the$600 generator from Walmart might be more like $1200 generator from Walmart. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? zdas04: no, I think you've misunderstood the chemistry. Think of anaerobic digestion as the organisms disproportionating the carbon in their feedstock because the easy, efficient electron acceptor for the electrons generated as an end result of respiration (oxygen) is absent. In fact, they usually avail themselves of every other electron acceptor available first, before resorting to wasting half of their feedstock as a waste dump- they will reduce Fe+3 to Fe+2, NO3- to NO2- and of course S species such as SO4-2 to S-2 in the form of H2S, hence the horrible smell. If they go fully anaerobic, half of the feed carbon is reduced to methane, and the other half is oxidized to CO2, hence the nearly equimolar mixture in the product biogas. It is a very inefficient process in energetic terms, which makes it a wonderful waste disposal process- you don't generate a whole lot of biomass which you would need to dispose of. The O in the CO2 doesn't come from air- it comes from either the water or O in the carbohydrates of the feedstock. The presence of sufficient oxygen shuts down anaerobic metabolism and often kills the anaerobes themselves. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) moltenmetal, If I've misunderstood the chemistry, where does the energy come from to decompose the water and carbohydrates? Both processes require significant energy inputs. Aerobic decomposition is exothermic, Anaerobic decomposition is endothermic. With oxygen present, the process goes toward generating CO2, H2O, and heat. Without free oxygen present the process goes toward CH4 with the addition of heat. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? If I recall, there are two zones where different anaerobes types which operate in different thermal zones. In the lower thermal zone the process operates much slower than the higher zone. Not that I am an expert, but from what I have read. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Quote from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_digestion "The digestion process begins with bacterial hydrolysis of the input materials. Insoluble organic polymers, such as carbohydrates, are broken down to soluble derivatives that become available for other bacteria. Acidogenic bacteria then convert the sugars and amino acids into carbon dioxide, hydrogen, ammonia, and organic acids. These bacteria convert these resulting organic acids into acetic acid, along with additional ammonia, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. Finally, methanogens convert these products to methane and carbon dioxide.[6] The methanogenic archaea populations play an indispensable role in anaerobic wastewater treatments.[7]" It's not as simple as the model I presented, in that if you take glucose (C6H12O6) and convert it to 3CO2 and 3CH4, the result is a positive dH, i.e. the process is endothermic as zdas04 indicated- but not by much. The CO2/CH4 balance has to be shifted by the organisms in order to achieve a net negative (exothermic) dH of reaction from feedstock to products, because the organisms need to use some of that energy of reaction to do other reactions, i.e. making bug parts for lack of a better way to say it. The energy which is used by the organisms to keep them alive is actually a surprisingly small fraction of the energy in the feedstock- a surprisingly large fraction of the feedstock's chemical potential energy ends up in a useful form, i.e. the LHV of the product methane. Regrettably, a brief search didn't turn up decent data for what that feed to product energy efficiency actually is, i.e. what fraction of the energy you would get by burning the dry fraction of the feedstock ends up in product methane. Regrettably, the CO2 comes along for the ride, reducing the efficiency with which you can use the product methane. You can either expend energy separating the CO2 from the methane or just take the efficiency hit, but you can't get the bugs to NOT make CO2- the production of CO2 is actually where the energy that keeps the bugs alive is coming from. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) I have no problem with the CO2 coming from the breakdown of glucose (and other sugars and carbohydrates) now that I think about it more. I just wasn't getting a combustion-like source from the breakdown of water. David Simpson, PE MuleShoe Engineering In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? "renewable" implies a time frame. thus all sources are "renewable" with a long enough time frame to replace the energy source used, and equally none are (for a short enough time frame). Thus it makes more sense to talk about the time frame required to renew the energy source. i think we use "renewable" to refer to sources of energy that we would generally not harvest (like sunlight and wind). But this is more like harvesting a resource that would normally go to waste. HVAC ... good grief ! it's easy to know how much heat we're adding to the environment ... the calorific content of the fuel another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Generally we tend to mean renewable on the human timescale, i.e. within a human lifespan or fraction thereof. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? For human scale, that may or maynot include wood, or some forms of thermal capture like geothermal or ocean thermal. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? a little "human"-centric but ... but then are solar or wind "renewable" ? sure, the energy is (probably) there tomorrow to harvest ... maybe then in the sense that light and wind will be available again as opposed to FFs that will take millions of years to reappear. but a different sense of "renewable" is needed for grown fuels ... the grown fuel resource reappears after only a few years (months ?) another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? The harvest of wood or other biomass can either be sustainable or unsustainable- depends on many things including the nature of the cultivation and harvest, where the nutrients are coming from and going to etc. It's clear that harvesting just the wood from tree boles from a mature forest is a very different proposition from stripping all the biomass from land of any kind. Geothermal heat is roughly half primordial heat of the earth from its formation and half radioactive decay of elements in the core, so in the strictest sense neither is renewable. Passive annual heat storage and geothermal are different but related things. Solar and wind are both renewable, for the next billion years at least, as are wave and tidal energy. That's not to say that the large-scale exploitation of either wind or solar PV would be without knock-on environmental effects, either local or global. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? of course, we're talking about replacing the material we've removed. and, of course, when you're talking about nature impacting things, then you need to talk in terms of typical replacement time. If you grow crops under very controlled conditions, then the variability is reduced. and you are clearly replacing (renewing) the resource. "sustainability" means something pretty similar ... in that if you exploit the resource at a unsustainable rate, then there's less to harvest each time, but the resource is still renewable. with that definition of renewable, I don't think sunlight or wind fit the bill. I guess you could say that the sunlight is replaced (renewed ?) the next day (as the earth turns), but that's less clear than seeing a crop grow ... the crop is harvested, it grows back (is renewed), and is harvested again. The sunlight is there (or not) whether we exploit it or not. another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ? ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? Needless to say hydroelectric is renewable, as it keeps raining (and snowing) at higher elevations. I would not say solar and wind are without knock-on environmental effects. Just how many birds and bats are killed each year because of blade strikes. And at least one solar plant is known for frying birds in flight. And because of the short life of both, they will be needing renewing or replacing which will create some waste products. And if too widely installed would require support from FF or storage which can create waste. Tidal energy is very thinly used at present. And wave energy has the potential to harm fish. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? cranky, my wording may have been awkward- I was agreeing with you that the large-scale exploitation of any energy production technology including wind and solar MUST have knock-on environmental effects. The only thing we can do that guarantees a net reduction in harm is to improve energy efficiency, and then only if we do that the right way. Bird kills aren't a real issue in my view- if you care about birds, the first things to deal with are pet cats and buildings along migration routes with lit windows at dusk or dawn. Bird kills by either wind turbines or solar arrays are minuscule. ### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means? (OP) moltenmetal, A single Canada Goose landed in an Oil & Gas evaporation pond and died of unknown causes near where I live in 1999 (it might have just landed to die since everything eventually dies, and there was no oil in the pond). One migratory bird. The site was shut down for nearly 5 years while a half dozen agencies investigated it. The company paid over$100k in fines. The site was picketed by environmentalists. That bird was far from trivial.

The EPA and Department of Interior have officially given the wind turbine industry leave to kill up to 6800 Bald and Golden Eagles each year. Compared to the number of eagles killed by windows and cats (heck, a golden eagle is more likely to eat a cat than vice versa) 6800/year is a HUGE number. Giving the wind industry a pass on killing endangered bats and owls is unprecedented. Yep, a bacteria is as much a miracle of life as a Bald Eagle, but to say that killing a single bacteria is the same as killing a Bald Eagle is a bit of a stretch.

No one really knows how many starlings bash into windows. A Washington Post article from 2014 puts the number between 365 and 988 million birds/year in the U.S.--a factor of 3, in other words an absolute guess, but wind turbine apologists always use the higher number, I wonder why? Sibley Guides puts the number at 97 to 976 million/year. Glass Collisions round the higher number up to 1 billion. The Bird Conservation Network calls it 100 million. The BBC calls it 100 million in the entire world.

USA Today (that fine example of journalism) says 3.7 billion birds are killed by domestic house cats which is based on a Smithsonian Institute study of 42 bird deaths out of a studied population of 69 birds at 3 sites within a few miles of each other. It seems a stretch to get from 69 birds studied to 3.7 billion birds/year dying.

The small-bird's place in the food chain is pretty low, millions of mammal, reptile, and avian predators eat them which is why they have evolved to breed rapidly. Not so with the large raptors that are the big concern of people who condemn wind turbines for bird deaths. They are towards to top of the food chain and consequently live longer and breed slower.

Arguments against holding the wind industry accountable for killing migratory and endangered birds and bats sound to me like an argument that "we use household chemicals to kill tens of billions of ants each year so we shouldn't be concerned if the occasional child dies from drinking household chemicals". Either argument is equally as invalid.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

My point is that often the favored renewable is not as clean as the promoters make them out to be.
If we gloss over the details, they look great. But the details are important to look at.

After all an ATM is great, if you gloss over the fact that you must put money in the bank ahead of time.

Likely the best renewable maybe waste wood usage, as this reduces landfill mass, and was harvested likely for some other process, or was preused. Another that is not available to most people is straw bail burning for heat.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

No energy production technology is without its environmental impact- that was my point. Yes, it's sad that raptors are killed by wind turbines- some of those populations are still recovering and the loss of even a few mating pairs is a tragedy. But how does that stack up against the people who die prematurely yearly as a result of coal combustion? People frequently make the error of choosing the wrong alternative when evaluating a new technology.

As to the death of a Canada goose- they're far from endangered and are frequently culled by coating their eggs. Clearly the concern over the death of one bird near your place was overblown- not the first time that's happened. Entirely a different matter when talking about oilsands tailings ponds, where bird management is a huge problem.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

"you must put money in the bank ahead of time". Bloody heck, that's what I've been doing wrong! Sorry, long afternoon, needed a comedic relief.

As cranky mentioned wood and straw, I'm really surprised that briquetting and pelletizing isn't more common than it is. Now with O&G in the tank, as it were, I don't suppose anyone will be investing in it anytime soon. In our neck of the woods in the late '90's and 2000's it was quite common to have a pellet stove or boiler. Nowadays not so much.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Ornery,

Pellet stoves lose to natural gas or oil furnaces on a cost and convenience standpoint, while having none of the side benefits of a real, old-timey wood stove (you get an excuse to run a chainsaw, warms you twice, get to watch the flames, thrill of occasional chimney fires, etc.)

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

The problem, that I see, with pellet stoves is that the pellets are normally sold in bags. If one had a setup like the old coal shoots and storage, along with a weekly or monthly delivery truck, they might be better accepted. Also you know what happens when your plastic shop vac sucks up hot ash.

These problems can be solved, if someone wanted to solve them.

Oil stoves and propane stoves have the same delivery and storage issues, but someone wanted to solve those problems.

Have you ever sat and watched an oil or propane fire through the window of the stove? That's one of the attractions of a wood or pellet stove.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Since Pascal we were taught that nothing is lost but that everything changes ... Maybe this situation will continue until the planetary balance, around the sun, will not change. After the extinction of "Dinosaurs" “others” have appeared which are now, known as "men."

lm

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

I am impressed (in other words, most of it is over my head) with the hyper-technical scientific debate about the greenhouse effect but the comment that hit me hardest --- is humorous from whichever side of the fence you are standing or preaching. I almost lol'd:

#### Quote (zdas04)

"My arms are getting tired from all this arm waving."

I think z is laughing at himself and the doctrine?

Design for RELIABILITY, manufacturability, and maintainability

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Pellet stoves mostly don't work absent electricity.
... and hauling those 40# bags up from the basement every day gets old fast.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

Mike, you might want to see the rest of my comment.

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

humm...pellet stroves, I don´t think so...

### RE: Do We Know what "Renewable Energy" means?

The problem with energy, like money, is we don't see it, so we don't know how much we consume. We only see the energy bill, and we pay it with the money that is direct deposited in our bank accounts.

Even with gas for our car, we don't see it. We only see the bill.

The comments about carrying a 40 lb bag of pellets, is a reminder that we have consumed X amount of energy. Yes natural gas is easier, because we don't see or handle it.

Which is one concept that people should grasp to have an interest in reducing energy consumption. Try stacking 8 cords of wood at the side of your home. Would that remind you of how much energy it takes to heat your home?

It is hard to get the lounger people interested in anything that involves them getting out of there lounger (can I get a remote control for that).

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