2011-03-25 08:45:48Plan for 100% energy from wind, water, and solar by 2050
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I told John I was going to work on this over the weekend, but I got antsy.  MartinS pointed me to a really good study on meeting 100% of global energy needs with wind, water, and solar energy by 2050.  I put together a blog post on the paper.  Maybe another potential one for TreeHugger.  Let me know if you have feedback.

2011-03-25 09:01:38
MartinS

mstolpe@student.ethz...
80.218.206.88

You are really fast ;-)

I like your post and I only have one marginal comment:

"The EIA projects that by 2030, global energy demand will increase to 17 trillion Watts from the current consumption of 12.5 trillion Watts, or an increase of about 36%. "

I think you mixed "energy" and "power" up. Global energy demand should be 17 trillion*60*60*24*365 Joules per year

2011-03-25 10:22:19thanks
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Yeah good catch there Martin, thanks.  Will change it to power.  Thanks for pointing me to the paper by the way, it's a really good one.

As for being fast, I think that's why they call me the cyborg.

2011-03-26 04:18:27
perseus

owlsmoor@googlemail...
78.143.199.167

Dana

I should have commented on here first rather than the public page. 

BTW Congratulations for getting this on treehugger.  Did the Wikianswers article get published anywhere else?

2011-03-26 05:05:28thanks
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Actually this is a second 100% renewable energy post, perseus.  The one you commented on was Ecofys, this one is Jacobsen and Delucchi.  No worries about putting your comments on the public page, that's fine! 

As for Wrong Answers dot com, I don't think it got published anywhere else.  Unfortunately we couldn't get any other bloggers on board either.  So not a terribly big impact with that one.

2011-03-26 06:05:22
perseus

owlsmoor@googlemail...
78.143.199.167

Well once again I think some of the estimates in the report are rather optimistic, especially the ones about electric cars being 5 times more efficient than fossil fuel. Perhaps this is simply comparing an electric motor v IC engine rather than from the power station?  I will have to read it in more detail but this doesn't sound right at all.  

This recent study found that electric cars produced almost as much carbon than their petroleum equivalents based on German power stations (mainly coal). I only have summary though, if anyone could find an English version or translate it, I would be thankful. 

Admittedly, if you use zero carbon power stations to charge electric vehicles you should get low carbon emissions overall, but this still suggests real life efficiencies are not what they are claimed.  Some other desktop studies have found a reduction in carbon using US and UK generating stations.  All this is using very expensive battery technology.

The use of hydrogen for fuel cells is still highly speculative.  A real life study on fuel cell buses in European and Australian cities called CUTE about 4 years ago found that the carbon emissions using a variety of generating mixes including renewables were higher than a Diesel bus!

CUTE, Urban Transport for Europe, A Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Project in Europe 2001 – 2006 Vision, See Teamwork and Technology (p.77 fig  4.1.2)
 
This is getting more dated but is a must read.  If we aren't careful we could be getting similar rebuttals!
 
 
  Previous page Top Next page  
2011-03-26 07:13:40EVs
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I think the 5x figure is reasonable, perseus.  From what I've read, EV well-to-wheel efficiency is 80-90%, while for gas cars it's more like 10-20%.

This is a good meta-study on EV GHG emissions.  It found that if 100% of energy comes from coal, EVs have roughly the same carbon emissions as gas cars.

I agree on hydrogen fuel cells - they're going nowhere.

2011-03-26 10:39:34
perseus

owlsmoor@googlemail...
78.143.199.167

Yes 15% for gasoline is about right over realistic cycles.

I have used that meta study before. 'The same carbon emissions as coal' also sounds about right, and conforms to the German study. 

The 80-90% sounds way optimistic for conventional fuels. What is the 'well' is referring to?  

It only makes sense to use well to wheel efficiencies in the case of similar energy streams.  For example comparing how efficiently a hydrocarbon fuel can be converted into work at the vehicle wheels, either through refining and burning oil in a power station to power an electric car, or refining crude oil to gasoline to power an IC engine car.

In that latter case you will probably find the well to wheel efficiency is dissapointingly low, probably around 30-40%.  Remember you have, pumping, refining, power generation, transmission, transformer, battery efficiency, inverter, electric motor.  All these inefficiencies mount up. NiMH efficiencies are not good (battery efficiencies vary depending upon the type of battery, the temperature, and the charge and discharge rates, but are rarely more than 70% for a round trip). 

In the case of renewables the 'well' rapidly loses meaning.  Are we talking about wind turbine work, or the energy in the wind; the photovolaic array output or the input solar energy? You will get vastly different figures across these definitions.  It really only makes sense to define the benefit in terms of cost, environmental damage or energy security.

I won't be around for a few days, but I could dig out some figures if you are interested.  There are some test results out such as the German reference above, and for some Smart cars. I think you will find however, electric cars are great for city driving but are the pants for highways especially at higher speeds.

2011-03-26 15:48:27comments?
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

Since they're looking at a WWS world, they would be comparing the current well to wheel efficiency of gas cars to a the average WWS source well to EV wheel in their scenario.  So I think 5x efficiency is reasonable.  Anyway, I think Delucchi is an EV expert, so I'll defer to him.  It's not a terribly critical point anyway.

Anybody else got any comments on this post?

2011-03-26 16:08:29My two cents
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Issues underlined in red:


In Part I of their study, J&D examine the technologies, enegy resources, infrastructure, and materials necessary to provide all energy from WWS sources. They use the U.S. Departnment of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates of global power consumption.

"we consider only options tha thave been demonstrated in at least pilot projects and that can be scaled up as part of a global energy system without further major technology development.  We avoid options that require substantial further technological development and that will not be ready to begin the scale-up process for several decades."


Grade reading level: 14.8

2011-03-26 16:33:28Thanks
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203
Thanks Daniel. 14.8? Really? I didn't think it was that advanced.
2011-03-26 16:39:05
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Word Spellcheck says so, not I (I throw a copy of a post into word & spellcheck it before letting others hack away at it).  I take to heart what Neal said once about keeping things at a 10th grade comprehension level.  But your post is fine the way you have it.

I just know very little about this side (what can we do about it) of climate change.

2011-03-26 16:40:28Megawatts
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.158.190

“This will require a major construction effort – nearly 4 million 5 gigawatt wind turbines…”

Do you mean 5 megawatt turbines?

2011-03-26 21:35:06Looks good, Dana, could you post this Sunday morning?
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.20.55
Tiny nit, in the title, shouldn't wind not have a comma after it?

Typo in the quote: "we consider only options tha thave"

Question. Apologies if this is a stupid question - baseload requires a steady power supply 24/7. How does solar produce baseload when it's cloudy?

2011-03-27 02:48:13Thanks
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203
Thanks for the comments guys. Daniel - I'll see if I can take the wording down a bit. James - good catch on GW vs MW. John - they addressed intermittency in the 7 points. Basically storage plus grid mix plus smart grid and a few other ideas. And I always put commas after the penultimate word in a list. It can go either way, but I prefer to have the comma, and it's in my company's writing style manual. Will make these changes and post in a bit.
2011-03-27 03:20:12commas
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

The way I think about commas is that they go where you would pause when speaking.  So if you say "x, y, and z", there's a pause between y and z, so there should be a comma there.

2011-03-27 06:00:40
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Thumby