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Comment: Re:Antiquated grid and bidirectional load? (Score 1) 174

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49568979) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage
Depending on how you want to look at it there are 2 or 3 types of networks on the grid depending on perspective.

On way is by looking at the transmission grid and distribution grid. On the transmission grid where you see high voltage lines and generators and power flows both directions withing this network. You are correct in this respect. The problem arises on the distribution network side where instead of high voltage lines and generators you have customers and low voltage stuff. Here things are basically designed to flow one way, which is to the consumers.

The other way of looking at it is with 3 networks being high, medium, and low voltage. With this view things get a little more interesting as there can be bidirectional power flow within each level but it becomes problematic when it is between levels.

With either view of the power grid it really isn't too big of a problem* if you or a few nearby people are providing excess power that your neighbors are using as you are all on the same substation that is fed with medium or high voltage lines and provides you with your nice low voltage power. The problem is that if too many of you are feeding power back into the grid it may outstrip demand and now instead of that substation taking power from the medium voltage network it now is trying to push power up into the medium voltage network. This is not what the current grid was designed for and the equipment at the substation while it can do it doesn't do it well. The same thing can happen between the medium voltage and high voltage networks although it is rarer but has happened. This also ignores the grid management aspect of things which is all in software and is basically a traveling salesman problem solved as best as it can be continuously.

These are not unsolvable problems but instead are engineering ones that people are working on. Companies are already designing better switch gear, beakers, transformers, etc to handle bidirectional traffic. The modeling, management , and market applications are being developed to handle many more points as well as having them be bidirectional. Granted these now require substantially more computing power but technology has progressed where getting that computational heft isn't an issue.

*The one issue you have with large scale intermittent distributed power (rooftop PV) is what I like to call the rouge cumulus cloud. It is a nice sunny day and he decides to blow in over your neighborhood, and then out. All of a sudden your local substation goes from pumping power out to sucking it down, then back to pumping it out. It doesn't even have to be this severe, just going from low draw, to high draw, back to low draw presents similar although not as severe problems.This is murder on equipment and a real bitch to deal with from a grid management perspective. To prevent this some local grid level storage at the substation would help to level the load making it much easier to deal with. So again not an impossible problem but an engineering one.

Comment: Re:Why this whole article is pie in the sky bullsh (Score 1) 174

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49568623) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage
What about sodium and sulfur? those would seem to work for grid level storage and are actually being made and used currently even if not widely yet. Also that was a fairly silly assumption such as needing a battery to run the entire US for 7 days, but having a battery that could power 1/7th the US for a couple of days would probably be much more reasonable to avoid stuff like the Northeast blackout of 2003.

Comment: Re:A scrap of truth (Score 1) 78

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49545889) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War
I remember as a kid it was great to to one. Go digging in vehicles to see what you could find for change and toys. You quickly figured out what were rich people cars as they tended to have most amount of change in them and if they were a family car they would have the best toys. BTW my family was government cheese poor at times when I was little.

Comment: Re:Local recycling is dependent on a local market (Score 1) 78

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49545831) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War
Good to know. Even if you can't can properly with them you can still do jellies with a bees wax seal, use them for storing honey, or put dry goods in them. I have never understood why if your company makes something that is shipped in glass jars why you would care if they are reused or not unless you receive back the old jars like Coke use to do with glass bottles to refill and resell.

Comment: Re:Does that mean... (Score 2) 333

Given what I have seen out of the supreme court with their sometimes tortured rulings (it is a tax and not a tax in the same ruling) who are supposedly the most qualified to make those decisions I wouldn't put much stock in constitutional lawyers or constitutional law experts. There are other cases that are more nuanced that are very political and one side or anther will say is wrong but I still can't logically figure out how something can first be ruled not a tax, then in the very same ruling be found to be a tax. This isn't like a regular judge issuing an order and then immediately staying that order as things go to appeal to a higher court as this was the US Supreme Court.

Comment: Re:A scrap of truth (Score 2) 78

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49539771) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War
Old vehicles are great for recycling as you point out. They get picked clean of anything useable and then what ever is left is crushed, ground up, separated, and melted into new raw materials. I make regular use of the local salvage yard along with a number of my friends. It is a cheap way to keep our vehicles out of the salvage yard. $16 for a door window, $12 bucks for a window motor, $5 for the switches, and what ever else is needed to fix all that annoying crap that goes wrong all there for the picking.

Comment: Re:Local recycling is dependent on a local market (Score 1) 78

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49539669) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War
This is why if I buy a glass container of stuff I prefer it be a container that I can reuse and just put a new standard size of mason jar lid on (regular or widemouth) but it seems too few glass containers will take a mason jar lid and ring now. For most people it wouldn't matter and the container would just get tossed in the recycling but those who can stuff would do what I learned from my grandmother and reuse the damn things.

Comment: Re:Big brave man picking on the weak (Score 1) 255

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49539477) Attached to: Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis
Well here is just one example from the time I spent in Portland, OR. There was one panhandler who always sat on the bus stop bench in front of McDonalds and had some device that got WiFi signal and would ask everyone if they could spare some change from some food, not looking up from her PDA or early smart phone. Given the size of this woman she could go a few weeks without eating and it would probably have done her some good, as she lacked elbows from the rolls of fat hanging down. One day in the same breath she asked me if I could "Spare some change for food? Can I buy a cigarette?", so it doesn't seem like someone who is starving to me. There are a large number of soup kitchens and food shelves in Portland so if she really was starving she could have gone to them instead. Then there was the day when a new panhandler set up shop at the other end of the block and she was yelling at a cop that he needed to do something about this other panhandler because as she put "He is cutting off my business". There are places that can help these people if they really need or want help, I donate to them, but my impression is that a lot of these people don't want to help themselves as panhandling is just easier.

Comment: Re:So let me get this straight (Score 1) 680

by Bob the Super Hamste (#49537683) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden
Can't he be all of them. To me Snowden always seemed like a rather foul person but but that doesn't mean he isn't someone who did a great service to his country. Sadly he is probably just more honest of a person than most in government who are probably all just a foul but don't have the backbone to do what is right.

Comment: Re:Seems to be OK all around then (Score 1) 608

But what is even scarier is that I saw on CNN yesterday that even ISIS is keeping up vaccinations in the territory that it controls.

Don't bring that up. Now you have just exposed that vaccines are an evil ISIS / IS / ISIL plot to kill innocents and infect the west to convert them to Islam. [/sarcasm]

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