Archive | September 2018

Why can’t we harness lightning?

About a decade ago, standing on our balcony and watching the most beautiful lightning storm, my then 8-year old daughter asked me the same question.

What flashed through my mind first was how many people had been working on or thinking about that for how many centuries, but then a different thought flashed through my mind.

As a pilot fully qualified to fly through clouds I knew that lightning is created by wind. Inside thunderclouds, the wind is churning soo hard and fast, and rubbing water molecules together so fast that it builds up huge amounts of static electricity.

So I realized that wind is what causes lightning, Of course, lightning is random in every way, and you can not predict when, where or how much is going to pop out of the clouds. But if you just use the calmer winds, blowing across the countryside you can at least determine where and how much electricity you’re going to get.

So, wind generation produces electricity is from the same energy that makes lightning, and it never uses it up.

There’s only one small problem. Human uses of electricity are not just dependent on electricity, they are also dependent on WHEN the electricity is available, and in America the when is Whenever we want it. All we have to do is flip the switch or the breaker, and voila! The electricity starts powering whatever we wanted to.

A few minutes later, I had another epiphany. That was that the electricity wind could generate, if only there were uses it can flow through, was, in this case, potential energy that could be used for anything we use energy for.

My distinction and use of the words energy, and electricity as separate nouns is because there’s only one kind of electricity, but there are many other kinds of energy. The most prevalent uses we have for energy, outside of electricity, includes powering our vehicles and providing heat for homes, buildings, and industry.

When I realize that, in the case of wind-generated electricity, the electricity was no longer limited to our current uses of electricity, and could easily be expanded to provide many other kinds of energy that we are currently burning fossil fuels to create.

That is the evening when my decade-long passion for finding more ways to use, and/or store, that free, and unlimited source of raw energy, which in this case happens to be electricity.

A decade ago the thought that we would have more electricity than we could use was considered heresy among the wind generation people, who had long believed that they would make energy and it was the systems responsibility to buy it and figure out how to use it. O

Over the past four years, as this excess electricity situation has become undeniable, we are suddenly finding ourselves in a frenzy to implement ways to store that extra electricity, which is now coming from both solar and wind.

It is only within the last two or three years that the need for storage, and the desire to sell huge electricity storage battery packs, that there has been enough inertia and monetary support to push through the regulations that allow privately owned storage providers to access the wholesale electricity markets without paying retail for the electricity that they have to sell back at wholesale.

What I can finally share with you today, is that the evolution of appropriate ways to store the extra electricity that wind and solar can provide is and will continue to be the most rapidly growing energy sector. It is this new combination of energy storage and the increasingly more competitive wind and solar generation that will now lead us to a real low carbon planet.

Q: Which alternative energy source is exhaustible?

Biofuels are not only exhaustible, but they are also causing irreparable damage to the soil and topsoil that they are using up with every crop.  Something that no one is talking about is that liquid biofuels distilled from grain and sugar, are hydrocarbons.

What is conveniently omitted from discussions like the Biofuels for aircraft is that the engined need the same amount of carbon to maintain their rated power, which also means that they must burn more biofuel, to get the same energy. No net gain anywhere but in the “Climate Image,” the airline can market, and the corporate profits of AG behemoths like ADM, Cargill, ConAgra, and our dear arsenic and Glyphosate purveyors Bayer/Monsanto.

I was going to say that, at least airplanes don’t get cancer,  but what if the glyphosate survives combustion. With biofuels,  we might be contaminating our skies with biofuel residual toxins.

In this spreading cancer-causing glyphosate across the skies now like herbicide spreading from 38,000 feet that can end up anywhere that the biofueled jets are flying/

Jet contrails 2

How’s big AG biofuel sounding to you now?

Oil companies pump their carbon from deep under the surface, but biofuels mine their carbon from the soil they are planted in.

A bit of trivia is that not only is the carbon in the soil essential for the crops, but it is also an integral part of the soil’s ability to hold onto moisture. As the nutrients continue to be sucked out of the ground by industrial biofuel monocropping, desertification starts. And since the soil has lost most of its ability to clump, is now just sand that will create the new deserts and sand dunes of America.

Yes, biofuels are exhaustible, they are ruining our solids, killing our oceans, and not only wasting our precious freshwater supply, but they are also poisoning the water from the surface to the underground aquifers.

It’s interesting how the media has created terror about the unlikely contamination of groundwater from fracking, when instead we should be realizing the Biofuels are contaminating and poisoning our groundwater for thousands and thousands of square miles, as far as the eye can see in the corn belt.

 

How feasible is it using fuel cells to power residential buildings, the cost implication, pros, and cons?

 

Bloom box

The Fabulous Bloom Box. These are so clean and convincing. Hydrogen in Water out. I just looked at 100 images of fuel cells that show how the fuel cell works, but only mention the necessity to stip the Carbon Monoxide from the incoming nature gas, before you have pure Hydrogen to run through the “fuel cells” that look like these on the outside.

One simple fact is that the process of separating the hydrogen from the carbon in the methane fuel puts just as much carbon in the air as burning the natural gas would. Plus the natural gas-fired engines are 25% more efficient that Fuel cells.

Ok, so it’s taken me a decade to learn this, but the hydrogen, and carbon monoxide issues happened right at the beginning.

I’ve been watching a lot of fuel cell mythology, and I acknowledge that hydrogen may be a huge part of making all wind electricity more useful, however, I’m also seeing a lot of situations that are imperiling peoples lives.

Most all residential fuel cells are fueled by natural gas.

As the natural gas enters the process it goes through a catalyst that strips the carbon monoxide from the hydrogen going into the fuel cells. There’s no carbon coming from the fuel cell. It’s all coming from the catalysts located on site but never shown in the fuel cell pictures

Now, they figured out ways to ditch the CO at the big, highly ventilated outdoor fuel cell locations but in residential applications? Not in my neighborhood. I don’t want to be asphyxiated by an invisible carbon monoxide bubble drifting down the street.

This is not a theory. 20 years ago a fuel cell company put their fuel cell generators with CO strippers behind their homes. The fuel cells worked just fine, but the carbon monoxide coming from the catalysts build into a CO bubble around the homes and nearly suffocated the families.

No smell, no warning just dizziness from suffocation, followed by death.

Fuel cells, like the Bloom box, can claim zero emissions from the actual hydrogen reaction, but in total, they produce the same emissions as a natural gas engine or turbine does.

So, unless you are running on imported pure hydrogen, you are going to need the entire building interior and exterior heavily vented. If the airflow removing the carbon monoxide were to break down in the middle of the night, a whole bunch of people will die.

It’s time to wake up and notice that what we are not being told is deadly.  We need to be reading deeply, noting the bytes of factual information included, then trying to assemble them into a meaningful and verifiable whole. I sure you there will be key pieces of the puzzle missing.

And then, in the text below what got your attention, there will be a sentence, in a paragraph of seemingly irrelevant discussion that tells, in words that just flow by your attention that will contain enough truth  to allow them to totally change the game while “honestly” being able to say that they notified everyone.

The US has become a highly sophisticated world of marketing, misdirection, and misinforming, too a point where people are just nodding without waking up and comprehending.

This is a reason why, at this time,  the irrefutable Black Swan will be more effectively organized and demonstrated in Countries like India or South Africa. We’ll see.

 

© William Ross Williams 2018