Author Topic: Britain goes coal-free for a whole day, first time since Industrial Revolution  (Read 430 times)

Offline Hydra009 (OP)

Some positive climate change news for a change:
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Britain went a full day without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the National Grid says.
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Britain's longest continuous energy period without coal until now was 19 hours - first achieved last May, and again on Thursday.

The government plans to phase out Britain's last plants by 2025 in order to cut carbon emissions.

Friday is thought to be the first time the nation has not used coal to generate electricity since the world's first centralised public coal-fired generator opened in 1882, at Holborn Viaduct in London.
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-39675418

Offline Sorginak

I thought coal was obsolete.  Almost like petrol is about to be.  Goodbye drivers.

Offline Baruch

I thought coal was obsolete.  Almost like petrol is about to be.  Goodbye drivers.

Goodbye food supply.  Unless you live on a farm and have a horse to pull the plow ... are you Amish?  Actual renewable technology is a horse and buggy.  Man and woman also self renew ... you know how ;-)  Pure solar/wind power ... without evil corporations and governments.
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Offline trdsf

A step in the right direction, at least.
"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning." -- Calvin and Hobbes
"I thought I committed regicide today, but I committed deicide!" -- Sadie Doyle, Beyond Belief

Offline Baruch

A step in the right direction, at least.

The alternative is nuclear, with breeder reactors to make lots of plutonium.  There are no nice alternatives, with a world population over 1 billion.  Thermal pollution, it isn't just CO2 ... happens by the consumption of power in all forms.  Even solar cells and wind farms raise temperatures.
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Offline Hydra009 (OP)

The alternative is nuclear, with breeder reactors to make lots of plutonium.  There are no nice alternatives, with a world population over 1 billion.
There are lots of alternatives, and while nuclear power is better than coal and natural gas, it carries a huge stigma and remains a political hot potato.  That's a shame, because it would've been a great stepping stone in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources.

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Thermal pollution, it isn't just CO2 ... happens by the consumption of power in all forms.  Even solar cells and wind farms raise temperatures.
Waste heat, huh?  That's practically nothing compared to the greenhouse effect of fossil fuels.

Offline trdsf

There are lots of alternatives, and while nuclear power is better than coal and natural gas, it carries a huge stigma and remains a political hot potato.  That's a shame, because it would've been a great stepping stone in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources.
My attitude toward nuclear is that it's distasteful but necessary (said growing up in the shadow of the Davis-Besse plant, responsible for two of the five worst incidents at commercial nuclear power generating facilities).  Just don't site them in seismically active areas, and let them carry some of the load until renewable, cleaner, greener, and non-long-term-waste-producing systems can fulfill demand.
"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning." -- Calvin and Hobbes
"I thought I committed regicide today, but I committed deicide!" -- Sadie Doyle, Beyond Belief

Offline Hydra009 (OP)

Yep.  And newer nuclear reactors are far safer and generate less nuclear waste per unit than older reactors.  But the general public doesn't look up that sort of information.  They know about Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island and Fukushima and assume any nuclear plant is a ticking time bomb.

Meanwhile, coal plants belch out pollutants into the air which kills thousands of people every year.  But that's not the kind of thing people worry much about.  It helps that those deaths are typically from a lengthy, mostly invisible process compared to the far more photogenic nuclear meltdowns.

It's so strange how people's perception of danger and actual danger often don't match up.  Like people people who are terrified of flying in a plane but don't bat an eye at going on a 5-state road trip.  Why can't more people look at this stuff rationally?

Offline Baruch

There are lots of alternatives, and while nuclear power is better than coal and natural gas, it carries a huge stigma and remains a political hot potato.  That's a shame, because it would've been a great stepping stone in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources.
Waste heat, huh?  That's practically nothing compared to the greenhouse effect of fossil fuels.

Do you walk to work?  If not ...
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Offline Hydra009 (OP)

Do you walk to work?  If not ...
The old hypocrisy argument (which fyi, can be used against changing anything)  That argument never gets old.  I thought at last you had abandoned it after the last time it blew up in your face.  No such luck, it seems.

I suppose you'd need to change the subject considering how terribly wrong you were/are about waste heat.

Offline Baruch

The old hypocrisy argument (which fyi, can be used against changing anything)  That argument never gets old.  I thought at last you had abandoned it after the last time it blew up in your face.  No such luck, it seems.

I suppose you'd need to change the subject considering how terribly wrong you were/are about waste heat.

Depends on definitions.  Not counting nuclear power ... waste heat = heat generated from prior solar energy or heat generated from current solar energy.  Of course if you don't consider current solar energy as "waste" then only heat generated from prior solar energy is "waste".  You are a sophist, not an engineer.  You argue words, not equations.  And yes, the whole human race are ape people ... not evolved enough to be hypocrites.  Large scale solar power, requires a decrease in the albedo of the Earth's surface.  Large scale wind power converts wind energy into mechanical energy and hotter air.  Entropy rules, not rhetoric.  Thermal consequences don't matter, if there are only a million people ... but with billions it does, particularly if everyone gets to live like Elon Musk.  The answer is ... get rid of 7 billion people.  Then the engineering problem is much smaller, if not simpler.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 06:49:22 AM by Baruch »
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Offline Hydra009 (OP)

Depends on definitions.
No, it doesn't.  I sent you a link for a reason.  You are dead wrong.  Period.

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You are a sophist, not an engineer.  You argue words, not equations.
Then why is it you're the only one doing just that?  The kettle calling the orange black yet again.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 09:19:50 AM by Hydra009 »

Offline Baruch

Show me an equation, word-smith ;-)  You can't define albedo, or make a order of magnitude estimate as to how one solar roof vs a billion, isn't the same.
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Offline Hakurei Reimu

Show me an equation, word-smith ;-)  You can't define albedo, or make a order of magnitude estimate as to how one solar roof vs a billion, isn't the same.
I'll step up.

The current albedo of the earth is about 0.3. The earth's diameter is 12,742 km, so it has a cross-sectional area of 1.275e14 m^2. With a solar constant of 1.361 kW/m^2, that gives us 3.745e21 kW over the earth's surface, 30% of which is reflected back out into space. That leaves us with 2.621e21 kW, or 2.621e12 TW, that is absorbed by the earth.

On the other hand, in the year 2013, it is estimated that the world energy consumption of the world was 13,541 Mtoe (568.722 EJ). So, that gives us an average of 18.023 TW (568.722 TJ/yr / 3.154e7 s/yr) energy consumption over that year. Our current energy consumption is maybe an order of mangitude more, so ballpark 180.23 TW. If we were to draw all of this power from solar radiation, then it would increase the absorbed amount of power by one part in 14 million. The decrease in global albedo would be about the same order.

Put another way, the current radiative forcing from the greenhouse effect is 2.9 W/m^2, or 0.2% of the solar constant. The waste heat from our activities is 0.028 W/m^2, or about one one-hundredth of that. But remember that 0.028 W/m^2 would be new heat added to the system (although it is in effect stored sunlight, it was effectively gone until we burned it for energy), instead of heat that would have been absorbed anyway from the sun.

There's also the fact that we can choose to cover low albedo areas with solar panels. You know, the solar radiation from those areas would be mostly absorbed anyway, but at least we'll get some useful work out of it.
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Offline Munch

The alternative is nuclear, with breeder reactors to make lots of plutonium.  There are no nice alternatives, with a world population over 1 billion.  Thermal pollution, it isn't just CO2 ... happens by the consumption of power in all forms.  Even solar cells and wind farms raise temperatures.

list 25 did an interesting sum up of what would happen is humankind just disappeared, one of the more damming parts being there would be nobody around to maintain the cooling systems in nuclear plants, and they'd all eventually blow up. As a species we pretty much fucked up the environment guaranteed, dammed us being here, dammed without us.