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Comment: Re:non sequitur? (Score 1) 98

by Firethorn (#47718203) Attached to: How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

I did read the article, though not before my comment. In it was really nothing new. We've known for ages that with the development of the lithium ion battery that the only thing stopping EVs from being the obvious choice 90% of the time was the cost of the energy storage. From my research, if the giga-factory does succeed at cutting the cost of LiIon in half it's going to be a real game changer, and not just for the EV world.

Why? Last time I checked LiIon was down to below double that of Lead-Acid. That means that if you cut the price in half again lithium Ion will actually be cheaper than Lead-Acid.

That $100 car battery? A lithium-ion equivalent that's 1/10th the weight for the same capacity and probably even more cold cranking amps might be $80.

We've already seen the start of a revolution with nearly all cordless tools becoming LiIon devices rather than NiCd and NiMH.

Comment: Re:non sequitur? (Score 2) 98

by Firethorn (#47717927) Attached to: How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

He was making the point that lithium is not heavy. Other than that, it's hard to know what else he was trying to say, because the article doesn't give much context.

I know it's not XKCD, but there's relevant SMBC and PHD comics.

Roughly speaking, outside of very dedicated science reporting channels by the time you go from the scientist's representative trying to dumb it down, to the reporter trying to dumb it down, to the editor doing it yet again, accuracy sucks.

Maybe they're trying for a hydrogen battery?

Comment: Re:Well built homes (Score 1) 435

by Firethorn (#47701221) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Strange that europeans find those homes fiscaly efficient.

I've traveled the world a bit, you might not believe it but homes in the USA normally compare quite well insulation wise against the rest of the world. Yes, you hear about problems with poorly built homes, but that's because we like talking about them.

What I was talking about for an 'energy neutral home' is one that's been designed such that it needs little to no supplemental heating or cooling. Not even homes in most of Europe are built to this level because the costs are so high in order to do so. Many more homes are built to my more relaxed standard - highly insulated with enough mass inside that heating/cooling aren't necessary every hour of the day.

Comment: Well built homes (Score 1) 435

by Firethorn (#47699545) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Except that there's points, especially with tornados that 'not destroyed completely' is not any better, such as when the repair costs exceed the cost of just building a new home of standard construction. For example, just consider the expense involved with a few broken windows letting in sleets of water.

I like the idea of energy efficient homes, I just know there are points where said homes are not fiscally efficient.

Comment: Re:Cheap grid storage (Score 1) 435

by Firethorn (#47698995) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Given that I used Model S batteries, 'greater range vehicles' would account for it rather easily.

Recreating my work:
60 kwh (Smaller Model S battery)
29.7 kwh/day from 10,837 kwh/year

If you assume a 60 kwh battery will be retired to grid storage when it hits 70%, then recycled when it reaches ~40%, then assuming 50% average life remaining gives you ~30kwh to cover that ~29.7 kwh.

actual figures can vary wildly, of course. It might be 'worth it' to keep the pack even when it's only at 20% capacity. You might replace them when they reach 80%. But I figure that 30% degradation during EV use would be about the same time period as 30% degradation during fixed use, making battery durability not a significant factor so long as you're not losing batteries completely to failures too often.

Given the average of 2.28 vehicles per household..., you have enough for 1 day of homes if half of vehicles are electric, if 2 are(leaving ~12% of vehicles as something else) that should be enough to cover the commercial side as well, given that 37% of current electricity production is used by households, 34% commercial, 26% industrial. Some would be made up by batteries from pure commercial vehicles that don't belong to any household. Of course, if 88% of vehicles are electric that would significantly change electricity usage - my estimate was that the 2.28 vehicles would increase the average use of electricity by 50% going by averages for vehicles per household, miles driven per vehicle, miles per kwh, etc...

But I figure step 1 of any storage scheme would be to not charge EVs during a power shortage...

One note that I'm sure you'll love is that in a scenario where most of this electricity is generated with solar panels you'd logically want to charge all these EVs during the day as well. Would make for an interesting mechanic if it became a 'standard' benefit to provide charge for your employee's cars. I'm picturing solar car ports and shades...

Comment: Re:Self Serving Story? (Score 1) 267

by Firethorn (#47698805) Attached to: Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

a currency with zero transaction fees.

Except that there are generally transaction fees unless you're willing to set up and maintain quite a bit of your own infrastructure.

As for the theft rate for credit cards, I'd note that it's mostly fraud, not theft. Only a slight distinction, but still there.

The thing to worry about is the rate of theft/fraud. As somebody who's aware of bitcoin but not invested in it, I have to point out that it's my impression that my money is more at risk if stored as bitcoins than as US Dollars invested in a bank. That's a real problem, real statistics aside.

Comment: Re:Checked my own state (Score 1) 264

The problem I see is that the wacko isn't likely to be calmed down by a robot, even with a person talking on a screen with it.

A tossed cell phone probably does as well as a really expensive robot. You just have the wacko exit the building/shelter without the weapon.

Comment: Re:Self Serving Story? (Score 2) 267

by Firethorn (#47692737) Attached to: Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

I just don't agree with him. Bitcoins have some serious issues.

Indeed, I'd rate all the thefts of bitcoins to be killing it's credibility more than anything else. If it's seen as substantially less safe than traditional investments...

I might participate in the bitcoin market, but it'd be strictly transitional - buy bitcoins, use them to pay. I'd actually 'own' them for as short of a period as possible.

Comment: Averaged appliances (Score 1) 435

by Firethorn (#47690627) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

I'd argue that staggering appliances as described would be a form of storage anyways. For the most part we're talking about thermal storage here - hot water heaters, house temperature, etc...

It's quite possible to build a house that will remain comfortable with minimal power expenditure in most areas, but this is extremely expensive in terms of money and resources. A halfway point would be to use construction techniques involving having lots of mass inside the insulation to help maintain temperatures even while the HVAC system is offline. But at that point you're putting thermal storage systems into all the homes, even if it's dual purpose.

Comment: Cheap grid storage (Score 4, Interesting) 435

by Firethorn (#47690569) Attached to: Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?

Keep saving those AA's. Your gonna need them.

Heh, I laughed at this because one of my ideas is to use old but still viable EV batteries as grid storage devices, and the Model S, with the biggest batteries, uses the Lithium-Ion equivalent of a AA.

If you figure that the battery is retired from the car at 70% capacity and kept as a grid device until it's around 40% capacity this would give you massive storage capacity if only 10% of people drive a Tesla type car.

Of course, this would be a 30 year solution - 5-10 years for the batteries to degrade to the point they're no longer useful in a car, plus 20 years for EVs to actually penetrate the market enough to provide enough batteries.

Comment: Update on the mule (Score 4, Interesting) 264

Okay, had a brain fart - I look up the rifle by NSN, and forget to check the mule, merely guessing.

Well, it's a Kawasaki mule model KAF400A per the NSN*

Going by the state that I remember us operating them in, I'd guess that the thing was probably a non-functioning worn out POS by the time the military lets go of it.

*National Stock Number.

Comment: Re:Checked my own state (Score 2) 264

Considering that any police department can purchase those firearms from almost any gun store, or off the internet using department letterhead if they want full-auto operation, I'm not too worried about those. I'm not going to say that an officer shouldn't have a patrol rifle or shotgun 'just in case'. $499 isn't much anyways. Looking it up, the NSN for the 7.62 rifle valued at $138 identifies it as an M-14. Most are probably shot to heck, but if you get one in good condition it can be a good pick for a designated marksman role.

The target designators might be weird but, they can also be used for spotting purposes - IE it can be used to point something out to a helicopter with the right equipment.

EOD bots? Again, not too worried, it's not like they're useful for oppressing civilian populations unless you're really creative, and it's something many departments should have if they're big enough to have a bomb unit. This ends up being most county and larger police departments due to the constant danger of idiot teens and pipe bombs. Same deal with a MRAP. It's not really useful for it's intended role, but if I was the police I'd use it as a rolling barricade if I have one or more people holed up in a building taking shots at my officers. It'd enable me to get people closer to the building, maybe even burst in if necessary.

One incident I remember where an armored vehicle would have been handy was were they had a shot officer bleeding out, but they couldn't get anybody there to rescue him because there was an active shooter with a rifle trying to kill anybody who tried. With an armored vehicle you pull it between the shooter and the person you're trying to rescue.

For mule - it might not be a M274 truck, but a Kawasaki 'Mule', IE a sort of ATV mini-truck. They're handy for tooling around on military bases.

Comment: Re:Too much surplus (Score 4, Informative) 264

Have you never bought something that it turned out that you didn't need? Amplify that to the scale the DoD operates on and you get some serious amounts of 'surplus'.

Add in that the military has to operate on the principal of being prepared, and thus have stocks in case of danger, it makes sense for durable goods to still be useful when declared surplus.

For example, rather than having eight types of truck around, cut it down to 2 and surplus the rest. Individual departments with ONE armored vehicle can worry about the parts it needs, and if it breaks down it's not normally that big of a deal. Meanwhile the Army has to worry about hundreds of them, and if they break down too often due to age it's just not worth it.

If you have to ask how much it is, you can't afford it.

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