2021-07-31 Bipartisan Reports

The fossil fuel industry trying to get congress to reinstate the XL pipeline?? And other political meddling.


2021-07-31 New Tesla Model Produced In Shanghai?

Rumor said that Tesla’s new low priced – $25,000 – “model 2” or whatever it will be called will be produced on GF Shanghai. It will be based on the model 3.

To reduce the cost of the battery pack, which is the most expensive part of the car, the cells will have to be LFP cells. That could mean a somewhat reduced range. That’s not a major issue because most driving is short range. As long as there are plenty of supercharger stalls available!

John D’Orto Said, “they will have to use 4680 cells” because “4680 costs about half of the current cells”

There are several factors that influence the cell costs, and they are cumulative — they may add up to saving half the costs.

But Tesla could sub out the batteries to a Chinese company, and get prices for LFP batteries that are very cost competitive no matter what the format. In fact, CATL could sell Tesla LFP battery packs made with prismatic cells – rectangular ones that are not even cylindrical. I would give even odds that that’s what Tesla will do. Because the LFP prismatic cells are made in huge quantities and are low cost.


This article talks about the LFP module-less designs, LFP’s low costs and safety, the Chinese IP restrictions on LFP cells untill 2022. Also ESG – Environmental Social Governance.


2021-07-30 Battery Puts Out AC – “AC Battery” Sort Of

The actual cells are DC but the BMS acts as an inverter. They’re finalists for getting a design award.


2021-07-30 CATL Makes Sodium-Ion Batteries

CATL has developed and produced sodium-ion batteries almost as good as LFP batteries. The 1st generation are 160 Wh/kg as compared to 200 for LFP.

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2021-07-29 Heathkit IP-18 Power Supply Re-Cap

Last week I saw an old Heathkit IP-18 power supply on eBay for $50 OBO, free shipping. I don’t really need another PS, but I’m a Heathkit builder and a big fan. So I offered $30, thinking the seller would not take it. But a few hours later the message came that the seller had accepted the offer. So today it arrived on my doorstep.

It puts out 1 to 15 volts at up to 1/2 amp. The current pot allows it to limit the current to as low as 10 mA according to the specifications.

I didn’t bother plugging it in; I opened it up to see if it was assembled properly. I was relieved to see it was okay. But the main filter capacitor had grunge out of the end, so I unsoldered it and found it was only a thousand picofarads instead of 2500 microfarads – completely open. So I found a couple capacitors to put in parallel to give about the same capacitance — the old cap was the size of a C cell so there was plenty of room.

I didn’t see any grunge on the others so plugged it in and put a DMM and load resistor on it to see how it worked. Well, it worked so-so — the regulation wasn’t very good. So I unplugged it and pulled other electrolytic capacitors and measured them and found they, too, only measured a few thousand picofarads. So I scrounged around for some decent substitute capacitors and got them soldered in.

After that, I hooked it up with the DMM and load resistor, and wow! The fresh capacitors made a real difference. The old timer is barely noticing when I turn it to 10 V and put a 30 ohm load on it — the voltage barely changes. The regulation is now very good with 1/3 amp load. And the current control allows it to be adjusted down. It’s as good as new! 😉

The one thing it lacks is a meter for adjusting the voltage. But I have a cheap, tiny DMM PCB that runs on 4 to 15 volts. I’ll glue it to the front panel. 👍👍


2021-07-29 The Real Reason For Vaccines Is The Economy

From my YT comment

The truth is that “saving peoples’ lives” is just secondary to the real reason why the government wants people to get vaccinated. The real reason is . . . It’s the economy. The government wants to end this pandemic and get people back to work. It wants to empty all the hospital beds that are filled with sick and dying CoVID19 patients. It wants to end having renters and landlords fall behind on their payments because they can’t do their jobs while they’re taking care of their kids at home. It’s about all the businesses that had to go out of business because their customers couldn’t pay or there were no more customers. The government wants to stop having to pay out hundreds of billions to keep the economy from sinking. So in reality, *it’s all about the money.*

So get vaccinated so we can end the mess we’re in and get back to normal. If you’re not vaccinated, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

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2021-07-29 Republicans Hate Educated People

I wrote:
Actually they hate educated people, because the more people know, the less likely they are to vote for Republicans. Their whole premise is to treat people like mushrooms: keep them in the dark and feed them BS!

<<They hate anything that makes sense, is positive, is good for the country, scientific, educational, …>>

<<They couldn’t win elections if it weren’t for the uneducated.>>

<<It’s harder to brainwash educated people.>>

<<[Republicans] hate figuring things out. Especially when it challenges everything they know [which is misinformation].>>

<<It has been the revenge of the dumb for 4 years. Hopefully that’s behind us.>>

<<You have to keep people uninformed so they’re easy to manipulate and keep under control. >>


2021-07-28 Concentrated Solar Power, Solar PV

Thread from FB

<< Michael Burns

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is a totally different technology, which has a lot of operational advantages over PV, but still many disadvantages compared to other generation types. Functionally, CSP is simply thermal energy storage, so like a battery, when it’s “charged”, it can be included in the short term operational plan, and dispatched like any other source. However, also like a battery, it can’t be figured into long-term capacity planning, because it’s state of charge can’t be guaranteed at any given future time. Therefore, for long-term planning, it still needs spinning reserves to back it up, which adds significantly to the cost, and sort of defeats the purpose.

CSP is limited mostly by siting options. You can build them in the desert, but that’s about it. Also, since it’s using a steam cycle, you need an abundant source of water for condensing the outlet steam back into water. Ironically, the regulatory changes pushed by the Obama administration EPA related to water usage for thermal power generation actually made it even more difficult to find viable sites for CSP…

The theme of this entire discussion is… this shit’s not as simple as policy makers would like you to believe. Anything can be done with sufficient resources (time & money), but it’s super important that we keep energy affordable for both individuals and businesses. It’s absolutely possible to shift to 100% renewable energy sources, but to do so while maintaining our current level of reliability would/will be ridiculously expensive, and I don’t think that’s the approach we should be taking. >>

* * * * *

I’ll discuss several changes that individually may not solve the problem but together they may be able to.

Q1.) It’s necessary to have this generation source that is dispatchable, by that meaning that it’s available 24 hours, 7 days. The solar plus storage at this time doesn’t have more than about 4 to 6 hours storage. This can be addressed in more than 1 way.

A1a.) Redox flow batteries can have multiple storage tanks to store the electrolyte so as long as there is ‘charged’ electrolyte the battery can discharge to the grid. Discharge time is limited by the stored electrolyte.

A1b.) The excess solar power generated is used to generate green hydrogen, which is stored underground, in the same salt caverns that are now being used to store natural gas. The hydrogen will be used to power the existing gas turbines that are now being used. GE is developing a gas turbine that will run on hydrogen. Early on, hydrogen will be added to natural gas to lower its CO2.

The hydrogen will be stored for months so that when daylight is shorter during winter the deficit will be made up by hydrogen.

* * * * *

Q2.) << It’s absolutely possible to shift to 100% renewable energy sources, but to do so while maintaining our current level of reliability would/will be ridiculously expensive…>>

A2a.) Researchers recommend that wind or solar capacity be 3 to 6 times the load so that there is enough to supply the load and the needs of the storage batteries, redox flow type for long term storage. Also if the renewables are 5 or 6 times, the excess will be used to generate green hydrogen, to be sold to the customers who are now buying gray hydrogen (from fossil fuels). Again the storage will be underground where natural gas is now stored.

The expenses for building the excess renewables capacity will be paid for by the money that *was* being used to buy coal or natural gas for the (now decommissioned) fossil fuel plants.

The researchers have found that the cost of building a new utility scale solar plant is less than the cost of fueling a thermal power plant.

Utilities (PG&E for example) are opening PPA bids for a certain amount of power at a certain location. The solar and wind are underbidding the natural gas turbine plants.

Tesla among others is piloting the VPP virtual power plants. The millions of Tesla EVs are able to join the VPP if they have a bidirectional charger. This will make a very large virtual power plant.

* * * * *

Q3.) << …it’s super important that we keep energy affordable for both individuals and businesses. >>

A3.) There are *no* ongoing costs for fuel for renewables. Solar has almost no moving parts so maintenance is low. Automated glass cleaners can work all night. But the biggest cost for solar PV is installation and it is lower cost than the ongoing costs of fuel for thermal power.

The excess solar capacity used to generate green hydrogen will earn money when hydrogen is sold to the customers that are now using gray hydrogen — which they will no longer be allowed to use. The absence of ongoing fuel costs earns money for the solar or wind plants.

* * * * *

New nuclear power plants in the western world have had tremendous cost overruns and delays in construction: costs have skyrocketed to tens of billions of dollars and delays of more than 10 years. Utilities have seen this and are unwilling to enter into contracts for new NPPs knowing that there’s a better than even chance that they will have the same problem. It’s a sad and unfortunate fact that the nuclear power industry has done such a bad job, and ruined the industry; Westinghouse has gone bankrupt and put utilities at risk of further financial ruin.

Other new nuclear technologies have taken decades to get to the points of approval to begin construction. And the public has fought to prevent construction in their areas. This has made utilities even more wary of new nuclear plants.


2021-07-28 CO2 Capture And Sequestration

Utilities should capture CO2 directly from power plants, while it’s still highly concentrated. The following is from:

<< As estimated in the U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, more than 40% of CO2 emissions in the United States are from electric power generation. >>

<< According to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, CO2 capture is currently occurring at over 120 facilities in the United States, mainly on industrial processes, and the CO2 is used for a wide range of end uses. End uses of CO2 include enhanced oil recovery (EOR), food and beverage manufacturing, pulp and paper manufacturing, and metal fabrication. >>


2021-07-28 New Johnson Campus Center Reopening

2021-07-27 — I went to Santa Ana College this afternoon to the Grand Reopening of the new Johnson Student Center. Beautiful 63,600 sq. ft. building, cost $60 million. I started working at SAC when they were building the original Johnson Center which then opened in 1981. So from ’81 to 2015(? A year or so after I retired), or about 34 years the old bldg served as the cafeteria, bookstore, etc. That’s not a very long time — usually these bldgs last for 50 or more years. The E bldg is just west of the Johnson Center and it’s been standing since 1947. The gym is from 1954. But the original Johnson Center had some serious deficiencies, one was it had a lot of windows, all single paned. And that meant it used a lot of heating and air conditioning. The new bldg has a lot of windows but they’re double paned. Lots of open ceilings with the ducts and conduits painted black. But it looks nice. I went in and walked around and ran into Hugh and Linda. So we walked around and visited and I bought a SAC T-shirt and got a free SAC hat and frisbee. 👍🤗 Afterward we went across the street and ate at Chipotle.

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