Archive for February, 2014

Solar Thermal Power: Radiators

February 13, 2014, AP carried a story “Huge US thermal plant opens as industry by Michael R. Blood and Brian Skoloff.  Personally, I am happy to see that someone is addressing the depletion of our natural hydrocarbon resources.  Their waste as fuel for any venture is scandalous.

This article reports that we have decided to back with tax payer money the idea of giant radiators to generate steam for our power turbines.  Yes we our going to heat water with sunshine to produce steam.  The steam will then drive turbines to generate power.  This plan could be considered encouraging.  No hydrocarbons are used as fuel.

The environmental issues were the usual items about wildlife in the desert.  They seem to be resolved.  However, the economic issues seem to have been just glossed over in our haste to green power.

A typical hydrocarbon fueled electric power plant operates at a cost of approximately $100 per one megawatt of power.

This new solar thermal plant will (is projected to) operate at $261 per one megawatt of power.  The operating cost is not firmly established as the plant started up in September 2013.

I am not quite certain who is going to equalize these costs but I believe tax revenues will be involved.

Our economy must be doing better than  I thought.  It seems that we can pay 2.61 times the going rate for power.

While we are handing out tax revenues, we should perhaps consider revisiting the physics of converting directly from sunlight to electricity.  Going through the heat cycle is very inefficient as any second year chemical engineering student can tell you.  Thermal Dynamic laws will not be broken no matter what environmentalists and politicians opine or orate.


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Friday, February 14th, 2014 Green Energy No Comments

Solutions not Blame

The United States is not without problems.  As of February 8, 2014, we have a sluggish economy, an aging population, an ineffective government and questionable involvement in the affairs of numerous foreign countries.  We have a clusterf**k in Washington on just about all subjects.  And 435 + 100 + 2 elected government officials who cannot agree on anything.  And finally we have a greed mentality in Washington that knows no bounds.  All the media and Washington politicos want to do is assign blame.  It seems to be beyond the functioning IQ of Washington to solve a problem, any problem, large or small.

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Saturday, February 8th, 2014 Governing or Campaigning No Comments