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Comment Re:Taking CO2 out?? (Score 1) 349

the total system cost for an advanced nuclear energy facility to be $108 per megawatt-hour of electricity produced, compared with solar energy at $144 per MWh; and offshore wind at $221 per MWh. Onshore wind is less costly, at $86 per MWh, but it’s also less efficient. The estimated total system cost for natural gas plants varied widely, depending on the type, from a low of $65 per MWh to a high of $130. The variable costs for a natural gas plant are highly sensitive to fluctuations in fuel price, since fuel accounts for nearly 90 percent of its production cost. Fuel represents just 31 percent of a nuclear energy facility’s production cost, and the price is relatively stable.

Nuclear is cheaper than solar, off-shore wind, and middle-cost natural gas. Fossil-fuel-based steam turbines actually cost 46% more to operate, maintain, and fuel than nuclear; the up-front capital cost is higher for nuclear, though. Coal-fired plants can range $65 to $150 per MWh, so advanced nuclear facilities are actually cheaper than most of those. Nuclear is probably next-generation's base power.

Comment Re:Just curious... (Score 3, Informative) 199

And that is assuming it's a bright object reflecting a LOT of light from a very distant sun. If this thing is dark in color at all, the lumens available out at where they guess it is...

One astrophysicist basically said, IT would be easier to spot a flashlight that is on and pointed at the earth out in the OOORT cloud than to directly observe a planet out there. They need to look for stars that are being occluded and see if we can create a dataset, but if it is beyond the oort cloud, the orbital period may be measured in 1000's of years and will be even hard yet to detect

Comment Re:Fruits and vegetables (Score 1) 348

Because herding cattle across a wide area requires managing a wide area. That means more cattle-hands, more moving from place to place, more expending fuel, more maintaining machines, more trying to extinct wolves for eating your cattle (estimate total population in Washington is 90), and, essentially, more wages paid per pound of beef, meaning more cost and higher prices at the grocery store.

I'd rather pay those wages to buy another month of Spotify than employ 40 fewer engineers at Spotify and 40 more ranchers herding cattle and not have anything to replace Spotify.

Comment Re:Taking CO2 out?? (Score 5, Interesting) 349

Actually, with excess nuclear power, we can produce eDiesel. We've got new catalysts and high-pressure processes making eDiesel highly-efficient, about 70%; that means pipelines fed from eDiesel plants placed near nuclear and geothermal power plants would come in slightly less-efficient than electric cars at 15% transmission loss and 85% charging efficiency.

We can stockpile eDiesel; we can use it for airplanes (no way to make those battery-powered); we can generate eMethane or otherwise use eDiesel to run fuel cells, creating liquid fuel electric cars (possibly airplanes, but it's a tough job for an electric motor); we can use it to drive factories which need more power than the grid provides.

Newer tweaks to battery technology are targeting high-surface-area electrodes. Lithium ion batteries grow tin whiskers internally, creating more surface area for reaction, thus higher and longer power output; current research targets new structures and new battery chemistries to maximize this, essentially attempting to create an activated-carbon-style surface as the battery consumes itself. The processes in eDiesel similarly use catalyzed hydrolysis, and it's non-consuming: if we can manufacture high-surface-area electrodes using current or improved catalysts, we can raise eDiesel efficiency. The two efforts are semi-parallel, in that efforts in one give insight to the other, yet they're distinct in significant ways and so can't directly translate.

That means more-efficient batteries and more-efficient eDiesel generation in the future. If the overall efficiency exceeds 85%, eDiesel will beat any electric vehicle: transmission loss is 15%. At the same time, low-cost eDiesel will immediately replace more-expensive petroleum, as it's compatible with current, unmodified gas turbine technology; and eDiesel can feed or be modified to feed hydrogen fuel cells, which provide electricity, giving a method of feeding electric vehicles with a liquid or heavy gas (not hydrogen, which has storage and transport issues) fuel tank rather than a battery.

At the same time, plant and atmospheric petroleum (e.g. eDiesel) products such as polyester, rayon, plastic, and lubricating oil (PAO, Group-3) will sequester oil. Recycling carries costs and complexity; cheap atmospheric petroleum, once expended, can be incinerated for power or dumped into expended oil wells. Deep well dumping provides an attractive option: the expended liquid petroleum becomes a feed stock for later mining and refining, while effectively removing the carbon content from the atmosphere.

This is all stuff that will happen naturally, eventually. eDiesel will scale; a reduction in cost of nuclear, geothermal, and solar will outcompete oil; and refining waste oil into recycled stock will be less-efficient than producing new oil at the point where atmospheric petroleum has become cheaper than oil. The only question is when.

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