Capdiamont\’s Weblog

Thieves steal solar panels that power north San Rafael water treatment plant – Marin Independent Journal
Saturday 10 Jan 2009, 12:19
Filed under: Renewable Energy

Thieves steal solar panels that power north San Rafael water treatment plant – Marin Independent Journal.

Solar-panel theft is a growing problem in the Bay Area, with crimes reported in San Rafael, Novato, Bolinas, Napa and several East Bay communities, police said.

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DailyTech – Report: Toyota Developing Solar-Powered Car
Sunday 4 Jan 2009, 12:02
Filed under: Electric Vehicle, Renewable Energy

DailyTech – Report: Toyota Developing Solar-Powered Car.

I hope they follow through. The problem about most of the clean cars, and tech, is cost. Most regular people who need it, can’t afford it. Most can’t even get their foot in the door, to try.

NVR: Solar panel heist foiled Two men caught in South County
Wednesday 31 Dec 2008, 06:54
Filed under: Renewable Energy | Tags: ,

The activity looked suspicious enough that the resident called police with the direction the truck was going and its license plate number.

The Napa County Sheriff’s Department immediately put out a countywide broadcast for all police agencies to be on the lookout for the truck, and searched the Rutherford area. A patrol caught up to the truck at Tower Road and Highway 29, near the American Canyon city limit. Officers found solar panels underneath the tarp.

In a prepared statement, the sheriff’s department identified the two men as Thomas Lee Rivamonte, 50, of Oakley, and Jason Lee Allen, 34, of Antioch. Both were placed under arrest on suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property and later booked at Napa County Jail.

Deputies later determined the solar panels were taken from the city of Napa Water Facility on Sage Canyon Road — the second theft at that site in the last two weeks.


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Solar Eletric panels stolen in Napa area, and other RE ideas.
Saturday 13 Dec 2008, 09:03
Filed under: Renewable Energy | Tags: ,

Two separate Rutherford wineries are counting their losses to the tune of about $70,000.

The Back Shed, a DIY site on renewable energy, CNC, and foundry. Build you own wind mills.

NYtime has an article on the piling up of recyclables, with a small fraction of them going to the dump.

Here locally I recycled 92 pounds of insulated copper wire, at G&R, 4th and Broadway. Used to get 10 cents a pound, now got 5 cents a pound. I do this every 7 months or so for my job. Doesn’t even pay min wage, the recycling that is.

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The beneficial uses of ammonia, or the the other side of Eureka Ice story
Tuesday 9 Sep 2008, 10:02
Filed under: Eureka, Humboldt, Renewable Energy

While others are quick to assign blame and to point out the toxicity of the ammonia to Humboldt Bay Harbor commissioner Hunter. Lets be clear, he hasn’t had anything to do with Eureka ICE until after his father’s death. Now he has a backlog of maintenance to do. In my few times of being there, I haven’t seen commissioner Hunter there. What about the workers? What will become of them in our rush to be more environmentally crazy? What about all the ice that is manufactured there? Where will that come from? On one hand Heraldo and his ike want everything to be produced local, yet are happy to stab him in the back, and now all this ice will have to be trucked in. What about the diesel emission increases due to the weight of importing all this ice?

Of course you have the snide remarks of Mike and how this could be related to a green port.

Quotes are from wikipedia.

Refrigeration – R717

Ammonia’s thermodynamic properties made it one of the refrigerants commonly used prior to the discovery of dichlorodifluoromethane.[20] Ammonia’s toxicity complicates this application. Anhydrous ammonia is widely used in industrial refrigeration applications because of its high energy efficiency and low cost. Ammonia is used less frequently in commercial applications, such as in grocery store freezer cases and refrigerated displays due to its toxicity.

So we have a win for greenness, “high energy efficiency”

For remediation of gaseous emissions

Ammonia used to scrub SO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, the resulting product is converted to ammonium sulfate for use as fertilizer. Ammonia neutralizes the nitrogen oxides (NOx) pollutants emitted by diesel engines. This technology, called SCR (selective catalytic reduction), relies on a vanadia-based catalyst.[21]

ah, remember we can use it to scrub dirty diesel vehicles such as the one Pete of Humboldt Baykeeper uses.

As a fuel

Ammonia was used during World War II fuel shortages to power buses in Belgium and used in engine and solar energy applications prior to 1900. Liquid ammonia was used as the fuel of the rocket airplane, the X-15. Although not as powerful as other fuels, it left no soot in the reusable rocket engine and its density approximately matches that for the oxidizer, liquid oxygen, which simplified the aircraft’s design. Ammonia is proposed as a practical and clean alternative to fossil fuel for internal combustion engines[22] (the combustion products are nitrogen and water). In 1981 a Canadian company converted a 1981 Chevrolet Impala to operate using ammonia as fuel.[23][24] The use of ammonia as fuel continues to be discussed.[25]

The calorific value of ammonia is 22.5 MJ/kg (9690 BTU/lb) which is about half that of diesel. In a normal engine, in which the water vapour is not condensed, the calorific value of ammonia will be about 21% less than this figure.

Ah, see we can use ammonia as a fuel! The only byproducts are nitrogen, and water.

Ah yes, lets consider solar refrigeration. Yes you too can build your own solar powered refrigerator/ice I love Home Power Mag!

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The other dirty little secret, enviromentalists wanted higher gas prices
Saturday 16 Aug 2008, 07:41
Filed under: Renewable Energy | Tags: , , ,

The other dirty little secret is environmentalists wanted higher gas prices, to encourage us to conserve. This was to be done using higher taxes. Well now we have had high energy prices, and people are going nuts about it. We are supposed to be living under a free market type system. That doesn’t happen, on one hand you have regulations, making it more expensive to produce energy, refine it, transport it, etc. A good look is gas prices within and outside California. The other hand you have energy manipulators.

Lets get back to present day, energy prices went up, with the worldwide lack of sources(see peak oil), and ever increasing demand. Market forces actually worked, consumption decreased. While some would have you believe conservation will solve all our woes with out drilling, and other will have you believe drilling is the answer. The reality is we need a three prong attack. 1) We must drill, it will take a while, to find the useful deposits, get it to consumers, but it won’t last long. 2) We must conserve. Relying on people to do so is foolish. The problem is get in a trap of yes it is more fuel efficient to tune up the car, but if you don’t have the time because of two jobs, or can’t afford it, it doesn’t get done. If it doesn’t get done there is no savings in fuel. 3) We need to develope new alternative energy, and implement it. This also takes time. This takes time due to planning, regulations, lawsuits, and just getting the material. People think think solar/wind is unreliable due to looking at one site. The reality is there is many good sites over the United States. By creating a large mix of different energy supplies, spread out, you create a stable grid of electricity. Look at it this way, while the wind may not be blowing in one spot, it is in another spot. Same with solar.

I don’t like the idea of oil shale, due to the need of water to transport it in pipelines. I don’t like nuclear, due to disposal issues.

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VIA SRD: Obama campaign has close ties to ethanol interests
Monday 23 Jun 2008, 06:35
Filed under: Renewable Energy

So he has close ties to the corn based ethanol industry, supports heavy subsidies for it, and supports tariffs on importing more energy efficient sugar cane based ethanol which maybe illegal. Don’t worry though, as a Democrat, he will waiver, and change his mind.

VS McCain. Who says he would of vetoed the farm ethanol bill.


How do you like that Eric?

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NVR: Solar panels swiped at college
Tuesday 10 Jun 2008, 08:04
Filed under: Renewable Energy | Tags: ,

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Register Staff Writer
Napa Valley College reported the theft of solar panels worth $40,000.

The panels inside the solar field were taken sometime after 10 p.m., Sunday.
Anyone with information is asked to call Napa Valley College Police Department at [707] 253-3333.

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AP: Drought could force nuke-plant shutdowns
Wednesday 23 Jan 2008, 07:34
Filed under: Renewable Energy

Looks like electric supplies will be a little tighter next year. Things look better, and better to put up a little RE. Solar does quite well up here, even in the foggy parts. Add a battery bank to the mix, and you can last a bit through the power outages.

By MITCH WEISS, Associated Press Writer 28 minutes ago

LAKE NORMAN, N.C. – Nuclear reactors across the Southeast could be forced to throttle back or temporarily shut down later this year because drought is drying up the rivers and lakes that supply power plants with the awesome amounts of cooling water they need to operate.

Utility officials say such shutdowns probably wouldn’t result in blackouts. But they could lead to shockingly higher electric bills for millions of Southerners, because the region’s utilities may be forced to buy expensive replacement power from other energy companies.

Already, there has been one brief, drought-related shutdown, at a reactor in Alabama over the summer.

“Water is the nuclear industry’s Achilles’ heel,” said Jim Warren, executive director of N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, an environmental group critical of nuclear power. “You need a lot of water to operate nuclear plants.” He added: “This is becoming a crisis.”

An Associated Press analysis of the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors found that 24 are in areas experiencing the most severe levels of drought. All but two are built on the shores of lakes and rivers and rely on submerged intake pipes to draw billions of gallons of water for use in cooling and condensing steam after it has turned the plants’ turbines.

Because of the yearlong dry spell gripping the region, the water levels on those lakes and rivers are getting close to the minimums set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Over the next several months, the water could drop below the intake pipes altogether. Or the shallow water could become too hot under the sun to use as coolant.

“If water levels get to a certain point, we’ll have to power it down or go off line,” said Robert Yanity, a spokesman for South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., which operates the Summer nuclear plant outside Columbia, S.C.

Extending or lowering the intake pipes is not as simple at it sounds and wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem. The pipes are usually made of concrete, can be up to 18 feet in diameter and can extend up to a mile. Modifications to the pipes and pump systems, and their required backups, can cost millions and take several months. If the changes are extensive, they require an NRC review that itself can take months or longer.

Even if a quick extension were possible, the pipes can only go so low. It they are put too close to the bottom of a drought-shrunken lake or river, they can suck up sediment, fish and other debris that could clog the system.

An estimated 3 million customers of the four commercial utilities with reactors in the drought zone get their power from nuclear energy. Also, the quasi-governmental Tennessee Valley Authority, which sells electricity to 8.7 million people in seven states through a network of distributors, generates 30 percent of its power at nuclear plants.

While rain and some snow fell recently, water levels across the region are still well below normal. Most of the severely affected area would need more than a foot of rain in the next three months — an unusually large amount — to ease the drought and relieve pressure on the nuclear plants. And the long-term forecast calls for more dry weather.

At Progress Energy Inc., which operates four reactors in the drought zone, officials warned in November that the drought could force it to shut down its Harris reactor near Raleigh, according to documents obtained by the AP. The water in Harris Lake stands at 218.5 feet — just 3 1/2 feet above the limit set in the plant’s license.

Lake Norman near Charlotte is down to 93.7 feet — less than a foot above the minimum set in the license for Duke Energy Corp.’s McGuire nuclear plant. The lake was at 98.2 feet just a year ago.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. We know we haven’t gotten enough rain, so we can’t rule anything out,” said Duke spokeswoman Rita Sipe. “But based on what we know now, we don’t believe we’ll have to shut down the plants.”

During Europe’s brutal 2006 heat wave, French, Spanish and German utilities were forced to shut down some of their nuclear plants and reduce power at others because of low water levels — some for as much as a week.

If a prolonged shutdown like that were to happen in the Southeast, utilities in the region might have to buy electricity on the wholesale market, and the high costs could be passed on to customers.

“Currently, nuclear power costs between $5 to $7 to produce a megawatt hour,” said Daniele Seitz, an energy analyst with New York-based Dahlman Rose & Co. “It would cost 10 times that amount that if you had to buy replacement power — especially during the summer.”

At a nuclear plant, water is also used to cool the reactor core and to create the steam that drives the electricity-generating turbines. But those are comparatively small amounts of water, circulating in what are known as closed systems — that is, the water is constantly reused. Water for those two purposes is not threatened by the drought.

Instead, the drought could choke off the billions of gallons of water that pass through the region’s reactors every day to cool used steam. Water sucked from lakes and rivers passes through pipes, which act as a condenser, turning the steam back into water. The outside water never comes into direct contact with the steam or any nuclear material.

At some plants — those with tall, Three Mile Island-style cooling towers — a lot of the water travels up the tower and is lost to evaporation. At other plants, almost all of the water is returned to the lake or river, though significantly hotter because of the heat absorbed from the steam.

Progress spokeswoman Julie Hahn said the Harris reactor, for example, sucks up 33 million gallons a day, with 17 million gallons lost to evaporation via its big cooling towers. Duke’s McGuire plant draws in more than 2 billion gallons a day, but most of it is pumped back to its source.

Nuclear plants are subject to restrictions on the temperature of the discharged coolant, because hot water can kill fish or plants or otherwise disrupt the environment. Those restrictions, coupled with the drought, led to the one-day shutdown Aug. 16 of a TVA reactor at Browns Ferry in Alabama.

The water was low on the Tennessee River and had become warmer than usual under the hot sun. By the time it had been pumped through the Browns Ferry plant, it had become hotter still — too hot to release back into the river, according to the TVA. So the utility shut down a reactor.

David Lochbaum, nuclear project safety director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, warned that nuclear plants are not designed to take the wear and tear of repeatedly stopping and restarting.

“Nuclear plants are best when they flatline — when they stay up and running or shut down for long periods to refuel,” Lochbaum said. “It wears out piping, valves, motors.”

Both the industry and NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said plants can shut down and restart without problems.

(This version CORRECTS water use figure for plant.)

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Burning salt water
Tuesday 11 Sep 2007, 09:16
Filed under: Renewable Energy

The radio frequencies act to weaken the bonds between the elements that make up salt water, releasing the hydrogen, Roy said. Once ignited, the hydrogen will burn as long as it is exposed to the frequencies, he said.

The scientists want to find out whether the energy output from the burning hydrogen — which reached a heat of more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit — would be enough to power a car or other heavy machinery.

I can see this being used to turn a turbine, to generate power. It doesn’t say how much energy was used versus the energy that was outputted. What about pollution?

Maybe instead of PG&E using gas turbines at it’s upcoming plant, we can have them use this instead. Just use the cooling canal to supply the saltwater. Still it is a long ways off.

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