2021-02-28 3 kW Solar + LiFe Battery For Under $3000

This is the kind of setup I would like to have. I would use it to run my heat pump / air conditioner and maybe a few other things like the microwave oven. And it would be used for charging my EV when it’s at home.

The two solar PV panels are 800 watts total. The controller is good for up to 3000 watts.

The batteries are good for >3000 cycles so that would be for ten years or more.


2021-02-28 HR-1 Voting Rights Bill

An article about a high priority bill the Democrats introduced. A “sweeping overhaul of ethics and election laws.” What is now the “Democrat Politician Protection Act” according to Mitch McConnell, would have been a bipartisan bill 50 years ago. The Republicans stopped supporting voting rights because the voting rights made it less restrictive and easier for minorities to vote, and Republicans believe that minorities mostly vote for democratic candidates. Gee, I can’t imagine why. If the Republicans were more for representing their constituents and less about ignoring them in favor of big business, there would be more people of color voting for them.


2021-02-27 Heat Pumps Save Money

From Gates p.154

<< How much money can a heat pump save you? Here are a few examples of the savings on new construction in cities around the US. [Chart of four US cities, with an average saving of 22%] You won’t save as much if you’re retro fitting and existing home, but switching to a heat pump is still less expensive in most cities. In Houston, for example, doing this will save you 17 percent. In Chicago your cost will actually go up 6% because natural gas there is unusually cheap. And some older homes is simply not practical to find space for new equipment, so you might not be able to upgrade at all.

Still, these negative green premiums raise an obvious question: If heat pumps are such a great deal, why are they in only 11% of American homes?

Partly it’s because we replace our furnaces only every decade or so, and most people don’t have enough extra cash on hand to simply replace a perfectly good furnace with a heat pump.

But there’s another explanation as well: outdated government policies. Since the energy crisis of the 1970s, we’ve been trying to cut down on energy use, and so state governments created various incentives to favor natural gas furnaces and water heaters over less efficient electric ones. Some modified their building codes to make it harder for homeowners to replace their gas appliances with electric alternatives. Many of these policies that prize efficiency over emissions are still on the books, restricting your ability to lower your emissions by swapping out a gas-burning furnace for an electric heat pump even if doing this would save you money.

This is frustrating in that familiar “regulations really can be dumb” way. But if you look at it from a different angle, it’s good news. It means we don’t need some additional technological breakthrough to reduce our emissions in this area, beyond decarbonizing our power grid. The electric option already exists, it’s widely available, and it isn’t merely price competitive—it’s actually cheaper. We just need to make sure our government policies keep up with the times.

Unfortunately, although it’s technically possible to zero out heating emissions by going electric, it won’t happen quickly. Even if we fixed the self-defeating regulations I mentioned, it’s not realistic to think we’ll simply rip out all our gas furnaces and water heaters and replace them with electric ones overnight, any more than we’re suddenly going to run the world’s fleet of passenger cars on electricity. Given how long today’s furnaces last, if we had a goal of getting rid of all the gas-powered ones by mid-century, we’d have to stop selling them by 2035. Today around half of all furnaces sold in the United States run on gas; worldwide, fossil fuels provide six times more energy for heating than electricity does.

To me, that’s another argument for why we need advanced bio fuels and electrofuels like the ones I mentioned in chapter 7 — ones that can be run in the furnaces and water heaters we have today, without modification, and that don’t add more carbon to the atmosphere. But right now both options carry a hefty green premium:

[Chart of heating oil & natural gas vs. biofuels and electrofuels; 142% or 425% more for natural gas.]

Clearly we need to drive down the price of these alternative fuels, as I argued in chapter 7. And there are other steps we can take to decarbonize our heating systems:

Electrify as much as we can, getting rid of gas powered furnaces and water heaters and replacing them with electric heat pumps. In some regions, governments will have to update their policies to allow – and encourage – these upgrades.

Decarbonize the power grid by deploying today’s clean sources where they make sense investing in breakthroughs for generating, storing, and transmitting power.

Use energy more efficiently. This may seem like a contradiction, because just a few paragraphs ago I complained about policies that price higher efficiency over lower emissions the truth is, we need both.


2021-02-27 Carbon Footprints Of 20 Billionaires

This article gives the carbon footprint of 20 billionaires. Their estimate for Gates is far too high because he doesn’t use regular jet fuel, he uses biofuel, which makes most of his carbon footprint zero.


2021-02-26 Trains – Electric Or Synfuel

First a bit of train history.

Trains carry a lot of heavy and bulky goods for long distances. Now almost all trains use diesel engines for propulsion. But in the past most trains were electric and driven by overhead wires, the train used no fuel. The electricity could be from any source including hydropower.

I was in Germany in 1969 and they used electric trains with old coal burning locomotives for supplemental power. The diesel locomotives were not that common. That may have changed since then.

The Los Angeles metro area had a very good electric mass transportation system up until the 1960s when the system was dismantled.

The system worked then; why can’t it work now?


In his book, Gates lumps trains in with planes and ships, probably because they’re heavy transportation. Airplanes have severe weight restrictions on them. But trains do not have such restrictions, and ships to an even lesser extent. A train has to accelerate and decelerate but the weight of each freight car is heavy. The rolling resistance of the steel wheels is low so the locomotive can pull a lot of cars with several thousand horsepower.

Another limit on trains is they can go only where the train tracks are. This also helps because the tracks are far fewer than roads or highways. The trains in some cities were powered by electricity and there is no reason why they can’t be changed back. The costs are not excessive. One has to determine if it is more economical to run electric lines overhead or if the trains should be required to run on biodiesel. It’s possible that both of these may be used.

Train cars have wheel brakes that are controlled by air pressure. The locomotive controls the air pressure and so controls the brakes.

My idea is to use electricity to control the starting and stopping. The locomotive could use KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) to slow down the train. The freight cars would have motor-generators on the wheels and they would generate electricity to slow down the car. Then the recovered energy would be used to restart the stopped train.

The freight cars have roofs with an area big enough to mount solar panels. Some energy could be recovered and used for propulsion. But much of the energy could come from an overhead line.

The area that has the biggest potential for technological advancement is the automation of the train system. With a track that limits the train to where it can go, the main action that needs to be automated is the stopping, starting and speed of the train. The safety of everything around the train is also automated like it would be with a full self driving car. If the cars communicate with each other and the locomotives then the cars could be made to propel themselves. The system could be automated to where the cars would self assemble and travel to a remote point where they would split off to individual destinations.

Many of the semi-autonomous activities that would be needed are already being used in other vehicles. But the most important thing is to electrify the trains and eliminate fossil fuels.


2021-02-26 Nuclear VS Coal — Deaths

@fact not fiction
It’s fundamentally unfair to claim that more people die of air pollution (in a given time) from coal power plants than have died in all nuclear accidents. The *direct* deaths of nuclear power are being compared to the *indirect* deaths caused by air pollution. What must be compared is the direct deaths of nuclear vs the direct deaths caused by coal (which is much, much lower than air pollution). Or compare the indirect deaths of nuclear power to the indirect deaths of coal burning, e.g. air pollution.

Air pollution can be seen and anyone who is concerned about it can avoid it by staying inside or wear an air filter mask.

Nuclear radiation is insidious and is in every living thing. The teeth of animals can be used to determine the age because the radionuclides were replacing the calcium not long after the first atomic bombs were tested and their fallout was released into the atmosphere, to be blown all over the Earth and end up in the cow’s milk, which was consumed by everyone. You like radioactive cheese or yogurt? The same radionuclides were released after the accidents in the nuclear power plants.

There are statistics for the morbidity and mortality of these radionuclides just like for air pollution. These must also be counted in the death toll just like with air pollution. Fair is fair!

The company that is cleaning up Fukushima Daiichi is drilling holes in the ground around the power plants and freezing the ground to form an ice barrier around it to prevent radioactive water from going into the land and sea. They’re not doing this for no reason! They’re trying to stop radioactive contamination from leaving the area and going into the environment. This cleanup is costing hundreds of billions of dollars US.

Quote from comment to Undecided’s YouTube video about SMR reactors – the links give statistics.

<< fact not fiction

@CubbyTech Thousands did not die from the accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Chernobyl No. 4 accident

* 62 dead (47 from ARS, ~30 immediately the rest in 6 months and 15 from thyroid cancer)

* 4-9000 will have shorter lives (not dead, but will die earlier) – UNSCEAR report * 11,000 total cancers predicted – IARC report

* 1800 diagnosed with thyroid cancer (but living, and will likely live fairly normal lifespans) ** data unclear on how many cases due to the accident, vs background

* incidence of eye cataracts in liquidators is slightly higher than background population

At this point in 2020, 34 years have passed since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster – at this point all radioactive iodine is gone, and cesium-137, strontium-90, etc, are halved (i.e. one half-life for these isotopes is over).

If there are more dead or sick people – then there should be more death certificates, more graves, and higher incidences of cancer diagnoses, etc – and there are not

Fukushima Daiichi accident

* 2 workers drowned in tsunami

* 573-2000 died in pointless evacuation -from-chernobyl-and-fukushima

These accidents were tragic, but still: of-energy


2021-02-26 Camels In Blizzard In Saudi Arabia

At the 00:45 point in this YouTube news clip they show camels in a blizzard – snowing in Saudi Arabia. 😱😱

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2021-02-25 New Home Hydrogen ‘Battery’ Good For 3 Days

This was developed by the University in Australia. It seems to be two or three separate parts. It takes solar electricity and converts it to hydrogen. The H2 is stored in metal hydride ?cartridges? Then the H2 is made into electricity by fuel cells. It says that it also has a 5 kWh lithium battery to supply power while the fuel cell warms up to then make full power. So this lithium battery has a limited lifespan.

The video says it’s called LAVO.


2021-02-25 Cal. Electric Customers Getting Screwed

This new TOU (time of use) charges per kWh are costing us more, but also we’re having to pay for things that were not our fault but the fault of SCE, PG&E and SDG&E.

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2021-02-25 Energy Density Lithium-ion Vs Gasoline

Pound for pound, the best lithium-ion battery available today packs 35 times less energy than gasoline. In other words, to get the same amount of energy as a gallon of gasoline, you’ll need batteries that weigh 35 times more than that gasoline.

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