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The Gulf Stream

32 posts in this topic

We here in South Florida live between two great rivers that flow in opposite directions. The Everglades "river of grass" flows South and the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean flows North. But how can there be a river in the ocean? It is said the Gulf Stream is bigger than the combined flows of the Mississippi, Nile, Congo, Amazon, Volga and Yangtze rivers. The Gulf Stream has no beginning or end. It is part of the Recirculation Gyre having different names in different parts of the Gyre. The Gulf Stream that flows North between Miami and the Bahamas is traveling between 2-5 miles per hour because the volume of water is funneled, like a venturi effect, between Miami, Bimini and Cat Cay. How about putting turbines on the ocean floor under the Gulf Stream to generate electricity. As long as the earth turns counter-clockwise which causes the trade winds to push the waters of the South Atlantic westward, there will be a continuous flow to turn the turbines. I realize this is not a novel thought but it seems less invasive than the wind turbines.

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I also read that the Stream produces on a daily basis 100 times all combined energy sources in the world. Benjamin Franklin, with a devious eye towards Britain in the Revolution, was devising a plan to alter the flow of the Stream so as to ruin the climate of the opposition.

Turbines sound like the way to go. Let's round up a couple of thousand and go to work. I doubt the Stream would even notice.It is an incredible thing whatever it is.

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This is some good idea but it is never to happen. Many persons who say petroleums are bad for the environment are against also this type of idea and any idea for energys from other ways.

They are against the idea of electricity from the wind (fans can kill many birds).

They are against energys from nuclears plants (they can explode and also the warm water of the plants change the environment of the ocean).

They are against energys from the tides and dams (the turbines can kill the fish, dams are very bad for the rivers).

They are against the solar energys (large areas of the cells change the local weather).

These people want every body to live like amish and mennonites people, to protect some snail or lizard or worm. And they have much political power.

With this idea they probaly say the turbines can kill the fish, make the gulf stream slow or change the direction and change the climate.

And they sue to stop it, like they always do.

Edited by Cristóbal
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Those are good points Cristóbal, but I think the biggest issues we face with alternative energy sources are their effciency and cost. Fossil fuels, while much more negative to the environment, are terribly reliable and relatively inexpensive to create. Of course, part of the low cost is the fact that the impact to the environment is largely externalized from its cost. Regardless, our goal at this point I think would be to continue R&D efforts to bring down the cost and increase the efficiency of alternative power generators. The other goal we should have is to find ways to cut down on the amount of energy we need to carry on our daily lives. Appliances, electronics, automobiles and machinery need to become more efficient which will make it easier to adopt alternative fuel solutions.

Regarding nuclear power (by Fusion ultimately), which I think is a great option, I have read that environmental and permitting issues can take over 10yrs and consume 1/3 of the total cost in the US, which makes it a non-starter.

Bubba/Pedro the idea of harnessing the power of the Gulf Stream is a good one, but as Cristóbal points out it would probably be an uphill battle in dealing with environmentalists and other special interest groups.

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I happen to way overthink this stuff too...

Look at the laws of thermodynamics... Eventually with enough energy removed from the North Atlantic Current we could alter it's course.

I still contend that solar is the best way to go. It is the ONLY source of energy that is introduced into the earth's closed system.

But solar has it's problems, storage and efficiency being the most difficult.

Wrap your head around this one... Not incredibly difficult to imagine.

A solar concentrator (super efficient!) aimed at a continuously circulating system of superheated salts stored in underground tanks (large enough tanks to store heat until the sun rises again the next day, voila energy storage in the dark!). The potential energy stored in the heated salts can be applied to a closed system container to produce steam which drives turbines and produces electricity all hours of the day and night.

electricity-1.jpg

My math tells me a 16-18ft diameter dish which can be easily placed in remote locations, a storage tank around the size of a Vdub (buried under your swimming pool ;) ), and a turbine or engine driven genhead that aren't much bigger that the standby most Floridians have on the side of their homes would generate more power than most households use.

Cost around 45-65k depending on energy requirements with a lifetime of around 50-60 years on most parts, the dish being the biggest maintenance probably needed regular cleanings for efficiency and replacements every 20-25 years followed by ceramic bearing wear on the small turbine.

The biggest problems are locale (extremes towards the earths poles don't get regular sun in some seasons), getting mortgage lenders to see this as real property, and the extreme heat produced combined with knuckle headed owners ie safety.

(I know you guys like my schematic B) )

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OK,

So you shoot a pink lazer at the sun and it drips liquid energy onto your cat which becomes super charged with rainbow power and he drops a deuce into your cat sun lazer poo reactor which provides energy to your home.

Graphic1.jpg

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William,

They have photovoltaic systems and they have batteries for these systems. Why are you trying to shoot lazers at the sun and heat up a salty soup?

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I agree with most of Cristobal's comments. However, those same people who claim wind turbines kill birds probably own cats and cats kill millions of birds each year, more than all other causes combined.

And unfortunately, environmentalists don't have much influence on government - at least here in the US.

There are many options to oil but we aren't willing to make the investment. Every new house should be fitted with solar panels if they are in an area where solar is a viable option. Every new house should have grey water systems. Every city should lay new water lines for yard water and people should use recycled water for lawn watering.

I am an environmentalist and I want off the grid. Oil is the worst choice we can make and yet we continue to make it.

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I just fell out of my chair bro. Rainbow laser cat poo reactor litter pan!?! Flippin' sweet!

The reason for my over-complexness is because batteries fill up Mount Trashmore (I'm sure some activist has mentioned this once or twice) and the super heated salt method of storage doesn't require replacement.

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ohhhhh, I see. I still like the lazer/poo idea better.

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I agree with most of Cristobal's comments. However, those same people who claim wind turbines kill birds probably own cats and cats kill millions of birds each year, more than all other causes combined.

And unfortunately, environmentalists don't have much influence on government - at least here in the US.

There are many options to oil but we aren't willing to make the investment. Every new house should be fitted with solar panels if they are in an area where solar is a viable option. Every new house should have grey water systems. Every city should lay new water lines for yard water and people should use recycled water for lawn watering.

I am an environmentalist and I want off the grid. Oil is the worst choice we can make and yet we continue to make it.

My monthly power bill runs around $700/mo in the summer and thus I have gone to great lengths to try to find ways to get some of my consumption off the grid. So far I have found nothing that even comes close to providing any kind of reasonable ROI. Most solutions I looked at, if they even had an ROI, were usually +15yrs. Solar panels are not a good option in Florida since we apparently do not have enough usable sunlight hours to get any kind of yield. I also looked into wind and again Florida does not have enough wind to make very much power. And of course, neither are very reliable sources for continuous service. My conclusion is that solar energy probably will be the way to go, but the technology is a long way from being ready to provide any meaningful cost justifiable amount of power, at least for us in Florida. So my goal at this point is to make my house more energy efficient by further insulating the attic, installing smart thermostats, more efficient A/C's and appliances. Hopefully as the Obama administration pushes for alternative solutions, we'll start to see some real progress in the near future.

One promising thing is that it will soon be possible to buy a car that can get 100/mpg (ie the Volt).

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$700/mo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh no no no no no no way!!!!!! Why won't solar panels work? They produce electricity even on cloudy days if it's bright out.

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Let's round up a couple of thousand and go to work.

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$700/mo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh no no no no no no way!!!!!! Why won't solar panels work? They produce electricity even on cloudy days if it's bright out.

Just so you know I am not making this crap up. Here is my last bill in the cheap months. Its normally about $500/mo this time of the year since the A/C is not running. This bill is higher because of the heater was running for 5 days in Jan.

post-1490-12660005826227_thumb.jpg

Right now my average consumption in the summer is around 5500-6000kwh. In Florida there is an average of roughly 5.25 hrs per day of peak sunlight. So a 200watt panel on average should generate a little over 1kwh per day. I am consuming around 190kwh/day. To go off grid I would need at least 200, 200w panels. Let's say a 200w panel costs roughly $500 installed. Add to that the cost of the inverter and other hardware including the install, say $50k, you are at total cost of $150k. Divide that by monthly bill (let's use the peak $735) and you get a payback after 17yrs. This of course does not consider the time value of money, which would only make the calculation worse. This also does not consider that my roof probably is not big enough to hold 200, 200w panels. Even if you slice it down to say only 25% of my monthly usage, the ROI is still around 17yrs.

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Maybe if the turbines on the Gulf Stream sea floor aren't feasible, possibly a couple hundred of these in the back yard will do the trick (at least on the individual level).

greenenergy.jpg

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Ron,

Our bill is no where near $500, has never been near that. And we live only a few miles from you! We haven't had the air on in a few months and I refuse to run the hear unless it is predicted to be in the 30's. And then I turn it off during the day. Our bill averages $150/month. We have fans in every room. We keep the temp at 78 in the summer. I don't know how yours can be so much higher.

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Ron,

Our bill is no where near $500, has never been near that. And we live only a few miles from you! We haven't had the air on in a few months and I refuse to run the hear unless it is predicted to be in the 30's. And then I turn it off during the day. Our bill averages $150/month. We have fans in every room. We keep the temp at 78 in the summer. I don't know how yours can be so much higher.

I wish I knew too. My clue when I bought the house should have been the 400amp panel. I have replaced every appliance that came with the house. I put in very efficient a/c's and water heaters. My pool uses very efficient pumps. My house isn't all that big but it does have an east/west exposure and quite a bit of glass on the back (but the palms and shutters block most of it). My guess is what has increased my electric consumption is the metal roof I put on in 2005. We renovated the house before moving in and put on the roof during that time, so we never had a really good understanding of what the power costs were prior to the roof going on. I am going to get the attic re-insulated in March. But still, even with that, I don't think I will get below $400/mo.

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I agree with most of Cristobal's comments. However, those same people who claim wind turbines kill birds probably own cats and cats kill millions of birds each year, more than all other causes combined.

YES!!! And these same people will turn around and - with a flippin straight face - lecture you on planting "non-natives!" :rage:

Back to the oil / alt energy discussion - Rozpalm pointed out the real dilemma: right now (but not much longer) oil is cheaper than the alternatives. I believe it is totally possible to bring the cost of alternatives down - look at the link William provided, people are already working on cost solutions. But it takes time - LOTS of time... and research. Meanwhile, oil is available, cost-efficient, and everything is made for it.

If everyone in a position to influence the course of research would abandon their agendas, and admit that yes, there will be a time when oil is no longer plentiful and no longer cheap, then serious work could commence on AFFORDABLE renewable fuels.

It's gonna take a long time, but it CAN be done. Seriously - we put people on a space station for crying out loud we can develop cheap renewables. We just have to decide to do it. Now. Before oil supply becomes a problem. If we wait, we create a period of misery for many people when the oil supply depletes and the prices begin the irreversible upward climb.

I'll say one thing: the countries that have figured this out will be the ones to make the most money - loads of it - on the technology that frees us from reliance on a dwindling supply of oil. And some countries have already started in earnest. Too bad we've spent a little too long being the "can't do" nation, in order to placate Big Oil.

Btw, William, thanks for the link - that was intriguing. I bookmarked it to show my husband.

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Ron,

Our bill is no where near $500, has never been near that. And we live only a few miles from you! We haven't had the air on in a few months and I refuse to run the hear unless it is predicted to be in the 30's. And then I turn it off during the day. Our bill averages $150/month. We have fans in every room. We keep the temp at 78 in the summer. I don't know how yours can be so much higher.

No, our bill is nowhere near that either. But we do have a small home and don't have kids - that's most of the reason I'm sure. Also, we don't have central A/C. I prefer wall units and we have 3 of them - they're much more efficient than they used to be, and for the way we live. Of course, we turn them off when we're not home, and try to run them only on "fan" when possible. (Sorry, but I personally couldn't stand having my inside temp set up at 78, not any more.)

One thing we found that saved us serious $$ was to turn the water heater off by day. My husband put a switch on it, and when we started turning it off in the morning, we saw a drop on our power consumption. And we don't use a dishwasher - that's another heavy power consumer. Also - when we're done with the tv, microwave, computer - anything digital - we try to turn off the power strips they're plugged in to. When digital equipment is turned off, if the power is still going to it, the equipment is actually on, and consuming energy.

When we replaced our oven, I made the mistake of getting one that's digital. No way to turn it off completely, and that increases our power use unfortunately.

Hope this helps a bit. The cost of electric is soaring, without regard for many who are having trouble making ends meet. :angry:

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I think this is where the government should step up to the plate and offer real tax incentives to alternative energy R&D and implementation. Isn't that what the government is supposed to do, ... lead us?

But they'd have to admit to having their hands in other's pockets for their own interest instead of actually doing their job with the people's best interest at heart.

Sunny, Check this one out!

http://www.stirlingenergy.com/index.htm

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I think this is where the government should step up to the plate and offer real tax incentives to alternative energy R&D and implementation. Isn't that what the government is supposed to do, ... lead us?

But they'd have to admit to having their hands in other's pockets for their own interest instead of actually doing their job with the people's best interest at heart.

Exactly! The people's best interest - and the nation's - that should be their focus. but all too often isn't.

Sunny, Check this one out!

http://www.stirlingenergy.com/index.htm

Wow - that's impressive, solar energy on that kind of scale. I'm bookmarking that one, too.

What would really be excellent is, if solar panels could be produced more efficiently using the new, more cost-efficient film (wish I could find the article and provide a link) and marketed directly to residential customers, so that it would be affordable to cut back on reliance on the power grid. Imagine: saving the big bucks on air conditioning in summer - or heating your greenhouse in winter - without breaking the bank on installing panels. Something to hope for!

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Wind power can work fine, you just have to use the old noodle, and decide it's the way to go.

Exhibit "A" is Denmark: click here for link to Denmark wind power

One major innovation they made to get rid of the NIMBY problem was to make available low-cost investment opportunities for people who might otherwise have bitched. A brilliant solution!

Hmm. As for the people of Nantucket who opposed that wind-power scheme . . . .

Use eminent domain to obtain the property from the bitchy property owners and turn it into a totally cool wind park.

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Wind power can work fine, you just have to use the old noodle, and decide it's the way to go.

Exhibit "A" is Denmark: click here for link to Denmark wind power

One major innovation they made to get rid of the NIMBY problem was to make available low-cost investment opportunities for people who might otherwise have bitched. A brilliant solution!

Hmm. As for the people of Nantucket who opposed that wind-power scheme . . . .

Use eminent domain to obtain the property from the bitchy property owners and turn it into a totally cool wind park.

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Hmm.

Some birds should be extinct . . . . :)

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Great graphics Bill and Matt!

As long as crude oil and the combustion engine are cheap to produce, alternative fuel sources won’t be viable. Alternatives to fossil fuel definitely need to be developed now so we will have the technology when we need it.

One of the biggest impacts we (as individuals) can have now is to conserve energy.

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Use eminent domain...

Noooooo!

:sick:

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Use eminent domain...

Noooooo!

:sick:

And why not?

That's a good use, if ever there was one.

Why not?

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We here in South Florida live between two great rivers that flow in opposite directions. The Everglades "river of grass" flows South and the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean flows North. But how can there be a river in the ocean? It is said the Gulf Stream is bigger than the combined flows of the Mississippi, Nile, Congo, Amazon, Volga and Yangtze rivers. The Gulf Stream has no beginning or end. It is part of the Recirculation Gyre having different names in different parts of the Gyre. The Gulf Stream that flows North between Miami and the Bahamas is traveling between 2-5 miles per hour because the volume of water is funneled, like a venturi effect, between Miami, Bimini and Cat Cay. How about putting turbines on the ocean floor under the Gulf Stream to generate electricity. As long as the earth turns counter-clockwise which causes the trade winds to push the waters of the South Atlantic westward, there will be a continuous flow to turn the turbines. I realize this is not a novel thought but it seems less invasive than the wind turbines.

old thread but when bill brought it up I remembered reading about FAU trying this. I haven't heard any updates however. Hear is a link to the story http://www.palmbeachpost.com/money/fau-to-experiment-with-using-the-gulf-stream-1510843.html

And a youtube on the solar towers

Edited by redant
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