the art of solar energy engineeringLike (0)
Learn how to utilize solar cells to enhance your own life
all credit is due to the authors of the PDF’s
_What is a Ram Pump?
_A water pump that will indefinitely move water from one area to another without using external motors for power.
_What Are Its Uses?
_Moves water without the use of electricity or gas, and operates without intervening human force to persistently operate. The pump Requires no outside source of power other than the kinetic energy of flowing water.
_Moves water from low-lying areas to areas of significantly higher elevations above the initial waterline.
_Reliable and consistent flow of water to agriculture or fill tanks.
_Easy To Build.
_How Does The Pump Work?
_The pump takes in water at a consistent flow and pressure, and outputs water at a higher pressure and lower flow rate; causing the output of water to exceed the height of its initial waterline. The pump utilizes the potential of flowing water to transform the initial flow energy to a higher pressure output.
_The pump utilizes “water hammer effect” to develop an oscillating pressure from the initial water input; to power the pump. This water is fed into two opposing “one way valves” to initiate a subtle implosion that is regulated by the self pressurized air chamber to drive the output flow.
_Kinetic energy and pressure oscillations are the mechanisms that drive the pumps self power; utilizing reverse forces to its advantage.
_What Are The General Factors Of Power?
_ Assuming 100% efficiency: For every 10 Liters of water with the potential energy of 10 Meters; Transforms 1 Liter of water with the potential energy of 100 Meters upward.
_1*10*100 = 10*10*10Like (0)
One of the largest threats to the environment is global warming; scientists and experts cite fossil fuels as one of the major factors in climate change. It just so happens that a substantial amount of the human race’s energy is generated by the burning of fossil fuels, therefore it is logical to find an alternative source of power. When one considers the possible substitutes, it may seem as though alternative sources of power have underdeveloped technology and are rendered impractical for mass use or the sources do not generate a significant amount of energy and consequently fail to meet the needs of the human race; however, they pale in comparison to the power of nuclear energy.
One of the before mentioned complications with the current energy sources is their vast impact on the environment. Some energy sources like coal and oil produce high amounts of CO2 gas which is one of the leading causes of the greenhouse effect among other emissions. When taking measurements on the emissions from power sources, it is important to look at all of the sources that emissions can come from in the line of production, from when the materials are extracted from the earth to when they are used. So effects from processes such as emissions from mining equipment to transportation, or other various processes which would cause pollutants to enter the air, and that’s the way this study conducted it.
Perhaps the most important result of this analysis is the tabulation of CO2 emission rates for the non-coal facilities. This leads to the realization that in contrast to popular belief, the nuclear and wind facilities are not zero-emission energy sources and that when a proper accounting method is used, values ranging from 8 to 17 tonnes of CO2/GWeh are calculated. Certainly, the CO2 emissions from non-fossil fuel sources are much smaller than the ≈974 tonnes CO2/GWeh from coal-fired power plants (as well as natural gas and oil-fired units) ( White 5 ).
so although this shows that nuclear and other forms of renewable/alternative energy are not 100% clean, it does show that they can easily range from 50 – 100 times cleaner than what is achievable using fossil fuels. Margins like that would be able to make a gigantic difference to the environment if we were to consider converting from coal to nuclear. Although when speaking of coal power you need to acknowledge the use of “clean coal” power plants. You have most likely heard this term used before, but you may not know what it means. Clean coal power plants are power plants that use many varying methods to try and reduce the emissions, one of witch filtering the emissions before they get outside into the environment, this is done via the use of membranes that can be placed along the emissions system to capture specific chemicals in the gas being released. The Journal of Membrane Science wrote about some of the technology that is used in these systems
To make such large reductions in CO2 emissions while still using coal combustion as a low-cost means of generating power is a significant challenge. Currently, a variety of technologies are being evaluated for their ability to capture CO2 from power plant flue gas. None of the capture options is a clear winner at this point. The most commercial-ready technology – amine absorption – is costly, energy intensive, and if implemented, would result in large increases in the cost of producing electricity (Merkel 13).
This study shows that even in the opinion of the field professionals that the technology for membranes is not adequate to effectively clean the emissions of the plants, let alone to do it in a cost-effective way. Both of which are extremely important when it comes to the notion of clean coal power production. This is just one of the reasons that “clean coal” is just effectively a buzzword as of right now, and the practice of using it does not and can not actually exist in the modern world.
Other major factors that are important to look at when talking energy sources is the different cost of each source of energy. Generally, when you measure the cost of electricity you use cost-per-kilowatt-hour, and what this means is the cost of using 1000 watts of power in an hour. Now when looking at the different costs, we will go through a few nonrenewable, and renewable power sources, such as coal, petroleum, nuclear and solar. We are also going to go through these from highest to lowest cost. Starting out with petroleum, the cost to produce in the year 2000 was around 6-7 cents per kilowatt-hour, but since then the price has skyrocketed to around 21 cents in 2011. This massive boost in cost can be gone into with a paper of its own, ranging from not only the reserves of it becoming less and less common but also instability in the Middle East. Whatever the reason is for the price hike though, the cost shows that it is not viable for power anymore. Then there is solar power that as of 2017 is able to produce power at a low of 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Though this is a lot lower than petroleum, the size that solar takes up is huge, and it is not really a reliable source of energy, because of how much production can vary, but also with the fact that it can only produce in the day. Next up is coal, coal can produce at around half the cost of what solar does, with only 3.23 cents per kilowatt-hour, but has started to have a slight upward trend in cost and this can be for a few reasons, but it is not that significant of a rise. Then we come to nuclear power, the lowest cost of all power sources, being at only 2.19 cents per kilowatt-hour as of 2011, and has been on a very slight downward trend. There are a few reasons the cost of nuclear power is so low, one of them is that with nuclear power, the fuel, although more costly to transport and buy per-pound, the reactors are more efficient and can use fewer materials for an exceedingly longer time.
Along with cost to produce electricity, the efficiency of the powerplants is a major characteristic when you are analyzing different kinds of power plants. To measure the efficiency of power plants you take the Btu, (British Thermal Unit) the standard amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. And divide the Btu used to produce a kilowatt-hour of electricity. (I did these calculations myself to save you the time of reading over countless numbers and figures for this paragraph) When converting these into percentages nuclear power plants run at around 33%-37% efficiency, with the newer Generation IV reactors easily working at above 45%. Now at first, this may seem low, but let’s compare that figure to other forms of power. Coal can run at 33% efficiency, the best ones doing about 40% when well maintained and with quality fuel. Then you can compare that with other clean power sources, take solar for example, it may be extremely clean, but only runs at an efficiency of around 15%-20%, by far making nuclear one of the best clean power sources.
Efficiency isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to reactor material though. Sure Btu is important, but there are two different kinds of Btu, one is how much is released at a time, and the other is total potential Btu. Potential Btu is how much heat energy the material can provide before it runs out, and this is important to keep in mind when talking about energy sources. Take, for example, 1 lb of Eastern US bituminous coal, this the highest potential of any type of coal, being 13,000 Btu, and goes for a cost of around 3 cents per pound. Then take uranium, sure it costs more at about $20-$25 a pound, but it produces around 180,000,000 Btu. Compare that to the Btu of coal, and you would need to use $415.38 to get the same amount of power only using coal. If you think that is a big difference, take a look at enriched uranium, 1 lb of 3.2% enriched uranium has a Btu of 1,250,000,000, going far beyond both normal uranium and coal. So although the materials cost more per pound and in the cost of transportation, this is far offset by how much more heat can be given off by the uranium.
When we talk about nuclear power though there is a gigantic issue that comes into play more than almost any other, and that is how the public views the use of nuclear power. The general public opinion on anything nuclear-related tends to strike fear to most people, and this comes from a few things. Radiation is something that scares a lot of people because of the effects that some kinds of radiation have on your health. While other people have fear of nuclear weapons being made in power plants, and even what happens if those power plants have an accident, like in Chernobyl and Fukushima. In a study titled “Perceived Risk, Stigma, and Potential Economic Impacts of a High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada”, they go into detail about how the public sees the effects of nuclear materials and radiation. The study closes stating,
The reality of extensive media coverage documenting major and minor problems and controversies involving nuclear technologies. Attempts to “educate” or reassure the public and bring their perceptions in line with those of industry experts face great difficulties because industry and government lack trust and credibility and because evidence of incompetence is much more persuasive than evidence of competence.
and this problem only gets worse as it continues, as it has since when the study was made. Now the public opinion on nuclear power has stagnated in a negative view.
When it comes to these kinds of misconceptions it’s important to dismiss them. A good place to start with this would be with nuclear waste, although it is true that it can be bad for the environment, that is only when its poorly taken care of. One of the first forms of taking care of spent fuel is to put it into a spent fuel pool in a power plant, or secure location, and this is surprisingly safer than it sounds. In the book What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, the question is asked, “What if I took a swim in a spent nuclear fuel pool?” and the answer is pretty astonishing when you hold preconceived notions about radiation.
The most radioactive fuel rods are those recently removed from a reactor. For the kinds of radiation coming off spent nuclear fuel, every 7 centimeters of water cuts the amount of radiation in half. Based on the levels provided by Ontario Hydro… you could swim around as much as you wanted – the dose from the core would be less than the normal background done you get walking around… you may actually receive a lower dose of radiation treading water in a spent fuel pool than walking around on the street (Munroe 12-13).
As you can see the process for safely taking care of the spent fuel is not a highly technologic and expensive process, the pools of water and containment rods they use do a highly effective job at stopping the dangers of radiation from getting to the people and area around the powerplant. Keeping the environment and people safe from the dangers that can be posed by radioactive materials is one of the top priorities when it comes to the use of nuclear power. There are also other ways to help contain the materials used in reactors. Pyrochlore, for example, is a chemical that is used to keep all kinds of radioactive materials contained and safe for transportation, and there is a vast range of materials that this chemical is effective for, ranging most of the periodic table, “The use of pyrochlore structure-types in the immobilization and safe storage and disposal of plutonium and other actinides. Pyrochlore is particularly suitable because this very simple, but elegant, structure has the ability to accommodate a wide variety of chemistries–some compositions, such as the titanates and zirconates, being extremely durable under expected repository conditions.”(Ewing) Predicted behavior of the use of this chemical can be confirmed because there is a vast variety of studies for actinide-bearing pyrochlores in nature that can be from hundreds to thousands of millions of years of age. In looking at this study, being long, having mass amounts of research into the subject, along with it being tested on many different materials, concludes that we have more advanced methods that are available to us to not only safely but effectively contain, secure, and protects hazardous materials from being tampered with and causing harm to the areas around them whether it be in transporting the material, or keeping it stored away from people in the long term.
Of course the natural effects of nuclear materials are not the only thing that people worry about when it comes the topic, there’s also the idea of those nuclear materials being used to make weapons, and this is a fair thing to worry about, nuclear weapons are a dangerous thing that can cause mass amounts of destruction. This is of course taken into account by the people running the power plants, there have even been studies done on whether or not people are able to use the materials in non-peaceful ways. “The overall level of assurance against diversion also importantly depends on two other factors – the frequency of inspections, and the accuracy of the measurement techniques employed. Containment and surveillance systems limiting access to strategic points within a facility are an important adjunct to the IAEA’s materials balance system.” (Cochran) it is of course very important to keep these kinds of hazardous materials extremely controlled. Due to the result of this, there are many governments, international, and even local security and nuclear energy organizations, some examples of these are the International Atomic Energy Agency, Greenpeace, and even representatives from the United Nations, who all keep a close eye on nuclear power plants to make sure none of the materials are being misused.
Nuclear energy has had a giant turnaround from what it was back when we started to use it in the 50s. From then there have been massive advancements in how safe it is, and the price of using it has gone down significantly. Today the use of nuclear energy is not only a no-brainer, but the stigma around it prevents us from using it as a primary source of power, and this not only hurts our wallets but our environment too. The use of nuclear power is the future, and the sooner we accept that the better off everyone will be.
Cochran, Thomas B. “The Amount of Plutonium and Highly-Enriched Uranium Needed for Pure Fission Nuclear Weapons.” 13 Apr. 1995, pp. 1–16., http://www.nrdcdev.org/nuclear/fissionw/fissionweapons.pdf.
Ewing, Rodney C., et al. “Nuclear Waste Disposal—Pyrochlore (A2B2O7): Nuclear Waste Form for the Immobilization of Plutonium and “Minor” Actinides.”Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 95, no. 11, 2004, pp. 5949–5971., doi:10.1063/1.1707213.
Merkel, Tim C., et al. “Power Plant Post-Combustion Carbon Dioxide Capture: An Opportunity for Membranes.” Journal of Membrane Science, vol. 359, no. 1-2, 2010, pp. 126–139, doi:10.1016/j.memsci.2009.10.041.
Slovic, Paul, et al. “Perceived Risk, Stigma, and Potential Economic Impacts of a High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada.” Risk Analysis, vol. 11, no. 4, 1991, pp. 683–696., doi:10.1111/j.1539-6924.1991.tb00658.x.
“Spent Fuel Pool.” What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe, John Murray, 2015, pp. 10–13.
White, Scott W, and Gerald L Kulcinski. “Birth to Death Analysis of the Energy Payback Ratio and CO2 Gas Emission Rates from Coal, Fission, Wind, and DT-Fusion Electrical Power Plants.” 2000, pp. 1-20. doi:10.1016/s0920-3796(00)00158-7.Like (0)