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My Power Plant
... Astral Musings
(rickatech), October 2008 [edit]

Three type of energy consumption

  • Transportation fuels: based on oxygen burning refined liquid fuels (diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, ...)
  • Residential/commercial grid power: ubiquitous electric power distributed regionally/nationally via centrally operated power grid
  • Self power: esoteric, cottage industries (expensive)

Types of Energy

  • Natural fuels: natural gas, coal, oil (stinky, foreign based)
  • Large natural works: hydro, wind, solar (intermittent, not demand based)
  • Nuclear (environmental concerns)
  • Geothermal (limited total capacity)

New Energy sources

  • Hydrogen (horrible choice for transportation)
  • Methane capture (excellent way to reduce green house gasses, limited total capacity)
  • Renewables (indirectly based on the power of the sun: solar, wind, ocean currents)

Time shifting/storage

  • There is an increasing need for ways to allow intermittent energy sources (solar, wind, ...) to be better integrate with steady energy demand needs.

Integrated solution: Develop hydrogen transportation systems that augment/replace commercial and residential power grid.  Hydrogen can be generated from renewal energy sources and distributed by pipelines anywhere.  Furthermore homes, offices, and industrial uses can replace electric transport grid with a hydrogen pipeline grid.  This allows solar and wind generated energy to be distributed through out communities, producing hydrogen for local use with excess pushed into a pipelines to central industrial scale storage.

This is similar to how a revolution with personal computers made them ubiquitous and challenged the main frame origins of computing.  With so many personal computers the Internet sprang up to harness the latent power of them to connect and share information.

When solar and wind power becomes miniaturized and distributed in local communities, and is married with small scale hydrogen production you get a personal energy plant.  Where PC's producing and consuming information created a vacuum that was filled in with the Internet, personal energy plants produce and consume hydrogen in a way that will create demand for a hydrogen pipeline grids connecting residential, commercial, and industrial users together to address their combined total energy production and consumption needs.

Lastly, centralizing large scale technology projects is really only feasible in times of war when all or nothing stakes are in play.  In reasonably peaceful times consumer demand drives incremental small scale product technologies and investment.  Nuclear fusion has been a pipe dream for decades to allegedly supply limitless energy - yet the massive capital and technology required for such innovation can only proceed and a snails pace.  As personal power plants spark the interest of consumers, incremental technology innovation likely what drove the PC industry becomes possible.

Astral Musing

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