DailyDirt: Placing Bets On Alternative Energy Technologies...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

As oil prices fluctuate, so do the opinions of what to do about shifting away from fossil fuels. Gas prices seem to be going up, and that has boosted the calls for investment in alternative energy projects. Unfortunately, there's no clearly superior technology that's poised to take over. But there are plenty of opinions being thrown around -- here are just a few. As always, StumbleUpon can also recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 5:08pm

    Nuclear Power the cute way

    Actually thorium nuclear power is much cleaner then U-295 power. Also the plants are much smaller(small = cute).But alas you can't use Thorium to make weapons grade plutonium. Thorium is also much safer then Uranium/Plutonium. But hey, what are a couple thousand lives on the way to make a weapon :D

     

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    Michael Ho (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Nuclear Power the cute way

    I was wondering if someone would find a way to describe nuclear power as "cute" and now I have my answer... :)

     

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    Christopher (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 5:40pm

    Bill Gates is actually right on this subject. The fact is that MODERN nuclear power reactors basically cannot melt down... they are designed in such a way as to make it impossible.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 5:57pm

    CSP

    Concentrated Solar Power(CSP) is a pretty good alternative to Nuclear.


    I again wonder why we don't focus on efforts to reduce our energy use by dropping the reproduction rate of our species, but I guess being "green" is still the hip thing these days (and in no way actually saving energy compared to reducing the population.)

    We're either going to reduce the population per our control, or natural selection, but it isn't going to be pretty using the current methods.

     

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    Nicedoggy, May 5th, 2011 @ 6:23pm

    Why do we need an entire centralized power production that can be target or become overwhelmed?

    I don't understand the thinking of those people, no central means of production can adequately serve the whole range of the population, why are they doing those centralized projects?

    We should be moving to distributed creation of energy, food and care, with technologies that enable individuals to create their self-sustaining homes or more realistic today, partially self-sustaining homes.

     

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    Nicedoggy, May 5th, 2011 @ 6:33pm

    Re:

    Although type IV nuclear reactors are apparently safe in paper, I am a bit uncomfortable in negating the human capacity to screw things up. there is something we are missing here. It could be the amount of radioactive waste that needs to be stored that could meltdown like in one of the reactors from Fukushima or could be another thing.

    ps: I have nothing against nuclear, I even like the idea but I have reserves in calling it safe, there are risks.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2011 @ 7:41pm

    "Gas prices seem to be going up"

    Gee, ya think? Really?

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 5th, 2011 @ 9:36pm

    Nuclear Power—Just About The Only Way Left

    In spite of all the scaremongering over Fukushima Daiichi, the public health impact from that supposed “catastrophe” has so far been precisely zero.

    And look at how Chernobyl is quietly but surely turning into a thriving tourism industry. Did you know that, in spite of all the contamination, the wildlife is actually thriving now that nobody lives there?

     

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    Paul (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 10:03pm

    Re: Nuclear Power the cute way

    Pros:

    Thorium power does not produce the heavy radio active isotopes (thus no good for producing weapons) but also the radio active waste is "only" radioactive for hundreds rather than tens of thousands of years.

    Thorium power plants can be used to "burn" existing nuclear fuel (converting it into energy and less radioactive waste).

    Thorium power plants cannot melt down because you have to actually put energy into sustaining the reaction. Pull the plug and everything stops. Much safer than what we are seeing in Japan.

    Thorium power plants would produce much less waste. There is more energy to be had in the Thorium process.

    There are 100s of times as much Thorium fuel than uranium.

    Con:
    Thorium power plants have to be developed. They do not actually exist as a commercial technology today.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2011 @ 1:43am

    Re: Re: Nuclear Power the cute way

    Actually the system design for a thorium plant is akin to a u-295 reactor. All you have to do is switch the rods.

     

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    Ralph-J (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 2:13am

    Landscape Pollution

    Ironically, many people in the Netherlands call the energy-harnessing type of wind mills "landscape pollution". In one area in the South, where they are already particularly numerous, citizens actively protest against every new planning permission.

    Leaving the efficiency debate aside, does anyone here think that this should be a valid criticism?

     

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    Schmoo, May 6th, 2011 @ 5:18am

    Re: Landscape Pollution

    Yes, provided that the complaining party is able to accept and willing to admit that they're placing aesthetics over environmentalism. Fair enough, if that's their opinion - they're entitled to it, after all - but enough rationalisation already please, NIMBYs, you're not fooling anyone.

     

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    Ajax4Hire (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 5:44am

    Physics of energy density is missing from...

    Physics of energy density is missing from any discussion.

    The density of energy and power in Coal/oil/NatGas/nuclear is magnitudes greater than wind/solar. Waterfall and geothermal comes close. More power comes into you home thru copper/aluminum wires from the electric company than falls on you house from the sun.

    No amount of wind is going to make a passenger jet fly 600mph. No amount of solar can power cargo ship across the Pacific.

    Most of the "eco-friendly" suggestions look like toy batteries when you do the Energy/Power density comparison.

    Physics is a fact of life that you cannot legislate away.

    Remember, Al Gore's home state of Tennessee tried to legislate the value of PI=3.0, look how well that worked.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2011 @ 6:37am

    The physics of energy is being looked at, and it doesn't bode well for solar/wind.

    For solar panels, much of the heat that is captured by the panel isn't utilized and thus puts off heat, which is kind of what we are trying to limit.

    In terms of wind power, if we put up enough wind farms, what does that do in terms of draining the energy in our skies? Doing so could drastically change our environment. If the energy is drained from the wind and harnessed by the wind farms, of course there will be a change in our environment.

     

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    ChrisB (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 6:41am

    Re:

    > We should be moving to distributed creation of energy

    The economies of scale are the only way to feed and power the population. If everyone had to grow their own food or create their own energy, we'd be dead in a month.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Tennesse and wind power

    "Al Gore's home state of Tennessee tried to legislate the value of PI=3.0" - No they didn't.

    "If the energy is drained from the wind and harnessed by the wind farms, of course there will be a change in our environment."
    Interesting idea, trees convert masses of wind power into movement and sound, damn good we keep cutting them down to save the environment then.
    As for all those sailing ships; man it's a wonder we have any waves left.
    In the end of course wind farms will change the environment, we'll still have all the power stations running all the time in case the wind doesn't blow, but the land will be covered in windmills and not as quiet as it used to be.

     

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