archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Outside Of Boston Metro > General Architecture & Urban Planning

General Architecture & Urban Planning All things architectural or urban in general, or withinin cities outside of Boston & Greater New England.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 02-24-2012, 05:38 PM   #1
whighlander
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Lexington
Posts: 6,519
Green Energy

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeLine View Post
The Cummings people built roofs on two existing parking garages... The MBTA could include solar roofs on all new garages (Salem and Beverly, just to mention a couple) and retrofit older garages..... Seems like a no brainer to me.
If the MA government had done this a year a go. Evergreen might still be in business today.
Another missed opportunity!!!!!
Beeline-- I know that you are well intensioned -- just apparently not quite up to speed on solar matters:

1) the science and engineering of solar power -- totally logical and unforgiving
2) the finances of solar power -- totally at variance with logic and insane [editorial comment]

The two have no real coupliing -- a lot of wishful thinking, missinformation and plain stupidity drives #2

So first the key aspects of #1:

a) solar pannels today are capabable of at best 20% conversion efficiency of sunlight into electic energy delivered to a load -- many are stil in the 10% range
b) the amount of power available from the sun starts at 1360 W/m^2 at the edge of the atmosphere and decreases from there depending on:
time of day;
day of the year;
weather;
orientation;
altitude above sea level
-- of the list the only one you can control is orientation
c) take the 1360 W/m^2 and the 20% and the best you can do from a square meter of solar pannel is 270 Watts
d) that 270 Watts might be available attop Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii in early July at noon (even in Flagstaff AZ or Denver CO you can't do that well) -- the best we can expect here is about 150 W mid summer within a couple of hours of local noon
e) so in the morning and afternoon you get very little
f) same is true from about mid-October until early-March

So faggettabout heating using solar electric, lighting is marginal in the wintertime depending on the storage unless you are really depending on the grid (see below)

Now the crux of #2
a) The reason that developers put solar pannels on buildings is entirely based on the subsidies that they receive from US -- we pay a tax on our electric bill to help out a Billionaire -- Bill Cummings
b) The laws have been written (PURPA) allow an ineffecient independent producer of electricity. such as Cummings Properties to be paid their cost -- rather than the market price for energy that they deliver to the grid. In addition, there are outright subsidies for installation of solar pannels on schools and other public facilities -- but this is classic "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul"
c) Without subsidies extracted from rate payers there is NO Market for Solar Energy except to power remote installations. Note that this usage irrespective of cost of geneeration or effeciency sparks the interest of the US military -- where fuel often is transported at the cost of lives
d) finally and most perniciously, solar is neither good as base load -- since its not available a lot of the time we need it; but nor is it useful as on demand or peaking power eitherr -- as around here it might just be cloudy when you want the solar.
e) The result is that lacking effecient and cost effective storage of electrical energy -- more solar means more fossil fuel plants and most particularly the high operating cost type of quick-reponse power coming from aircraft-lke gas turbine powered generation.
f) Sorry but the same is essentially applicable to wind energy as well

In Sumary:
-- Ultimately, what is called "Green Energy" is mostly a myth created by politicians in direct controversion of nature's laws -- with the excepttion of water power which we've already tapped quite extensively

Adding solar arrays to T stations increases construction costs, with at best minimal reduction in the cost fo opperations -- in other words the kind of boondoggle where the idiot politicians love to pose at ribbon cuttings -- so expect a lot more of these

Last edited by whighlander; 02-24-2012 at 05:43 PM. Reason: improved clarity and readability
whighlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2012, 07:13 PM   #2
HenryAlan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Rozzie Square
Posts: 1,701
Re: What would you do to get the T out of its financial mess?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Newman View Post
Are the roofs of MBTA parking garages used for parking? If so, it would be hard to put solar panels on them.
The airport has solar panels on the roof of the terminal B garage, installed in a way that doesn't interfere with parking. It's actually very cool looking, and I make it a point now to park on the roof if I'm meeting somebody at that terminal, because I like it as an introduction to Boston.
HenryAlan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2012, 09:49 AM   #3
shmessy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,094
Re: What would you do to get the T out of its financial mess?

Quote:
Originally Posted by whighlander View Post
Beeline-- I know that you are well intensioned -- just apparently not quite up to speed on solar matters:

1) the science and engineering of solar power -- totally logical and unforgiving
2) the finances of solar power -- totally at variance with logic and insane [editorial comment]

The two have no real coupliing -- a lot of wishful thinking, missinformation and plain stupidity drives #2

So first the key aspects of #1:

a) solar pannels today are capabable of at best 20% conversion efficiency of sunlight into electic energy delivered to a load -- many are stil in the 10% range
b) the amount of power available from the sun starts at 1360 W/m^2 at the edge of the atmosphere and decreases from there depending on:
time of day;
day of the year;
weather;
orientation;
altitude above sea level
-- of the list the only one you can control is orientation
c) take the 1360 W/m^2 and the 20% and the best you can do from a square meter of solar pannel is 270 Watts
d) that 270 Watts might be available attop Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii in early July at noon (even in Flagstaff AZ or Denver CO you can't do that well) -- the best we can expect here is about 150 W mid summer within a couple of hours of local noon
e) so in the morning and afternoon you get very little
f) same is true from about mid-October until early-March

So faggettabout heating using solar electric, lighting is marginal in the wintertime depending on the storage unless you are really depending on the grid (see below)

Now the crux of #2
a) The reason that developers put solar pannels on buildings is entirely based on the subsidies that they receive from US -- we pay a tax on our electric bill to help out a Billionaire -- Bill Cummings
b) The laws have been written (PURPA) allow an ineffecient independent producer of electricity. such as Cummings Properties to be paid their cost -- rather than the market price for energy that they deliver to the grid. In addition, there are outright subsidies for installation of solar pannels on schools and other public facilities -- but this is classic "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul"
c) Without subsidies extracted from rate payers there is NO Market for Solar Energy except to power remote installations. Note that this usage irrespective of cost of geneeration or effeciency sparks the interest of the US military -- where fuel often is transported at the cost of lives
d) finally and most perniciously, solar is neither good as base load -- since its not available a lot of the time we need it; but nor is it useful as on demand or peaking power eitherr -- as around here it might just be cloudy when you want the solar.
e) The result is that lacking effecient and cost effective storage of electrical energy -- more solar means more fossil fuel plants and most particularly the high operating cost type of quick-reponse power coming from aircraft-lke gas turbine powered generation.
f) Sorry but the same is essentially applicable to wind energy as well

In Sumary:
-- Ultimately, what is called "Green Energy" is mostly a myth created by politicians in direct controversion of nature's laws -- with the excepttion of water power which we've already tapped quite extensively

Adding solar arrays to T stations increases construction costs, with at best minimal reduction in the cost fo opperations -- in other words the kind of boondoggle where the idiot politicians love to pose at ribbon cuttings -- so expect a lot more of these

Yes, today, the science and economics of solar are not yet competitive. No argument there.

However, your argument is stuck in frozen, snap-shot mud. In 1955, the science did not exist to send a man to the moon and return him safely either.

What's your point?

Anyone not keeping in mind the ADVANCES made over just the past 2 years in solar photovoltaics and lithium battery grid storage capabilities (google, "Electrovaya" and "Arizona") is not paying attention. The planet is actually moving.

China understands that simple fact. If enough Americans take their cue from you, we might as well just start teaching our children Mandarin.

Our nation needs to hurtle at break neck speed NOW towards switching away from oil and coal to NATURAL GAS. NatGas should be fine for the next 20-30 years until solar/wind/hydrogen/algae,etc. are price and capability competitive.

Those of us looking 3, 4, 5 or 6 more decades ahead will continue to live as if the world is NOT flat, thank you very much.

Regarding the TODAY of the MBTA having panels installed - - SolarCity will do it for free (just like they are doing it for the DoD, tens of municipalities and thousands of home owners) It wouldn't cost the MBTA a red cent - - and the T could save on energy costs and resell any extra back to the grid. Here is a link to their state government projects ALREADY IN PLACE: http://www.solarcity.com/commercial/...io/government/

Please tell me how that would not be a revenue enhancement and help the T's debt situation?

Last edited by shmessy; 02-25-2012 at 11:46 AM.
shmessy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2012, 11:54 AM   #4
whighlander
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Lexington
Posts: 6,519
Re: What would you do to get the T out of its financial mess?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shmessy View Post
Yes, today, the science and economics are not yet competitive. No argument there.

However, your argument is stuck in frozen, snap-shot mud. In 1955, the science did not exist to send a man to the moon and return him safely either.

What's your point?

Anyone not keeping in mind the ADVANCES made over just the past 2 years in solar photovoltaics and lithium battery grid storage capabilities (google, "Electrovaya" and "Arizona") is willfully blind. The planet is actually moving.

China understands that simple fact. If enough Americans take their cue from you, we might as well just start teaching our children Mandarin.

Our nation needs to hurtle at break neck speed NOW towards switching away from oil and coal to NATURAL GAS. NatGas should be fine for the next 20-30 years until solar/wind/hydrogen/algae,etc. are price and capability competitive.

Those of us looking 3, 4, 5 or 6 more decades ahead will continue to live as if the world is NOT flat, thank you very much.

Regarding the TODAY of the MBTA having panels installed - - SolarCity will do it for free (just like they are doing it for the DoD, tens of municipalities and thousands of home owners) It wouldn't cost the MBTA a red cent - - and the T could save on energy costs and resell any extra back to the grid. Here is a link to their state government projects ALREADY IN PLACE: http://www.solarcity.com/commercial/...io/government/

Please tell me how that would not be a revenue enhancement and help the T's debt situation?
Shmess -- I identified the technology gap needed to make anykind of occasional power useful -- its cost-efective, effecient storage of electricity -- today there is only one utility-grid accepted storage technology -- its called pumped storage hydro -- and New England was one of the pioneeers -- Google Northfield Mountain

All other storage technologies suffer from one or more of the following:
1) un-proven laboratory project -- e.g. licquid-metal electro-chemial cells at MIT
2) proven lack of scalability -- e.g. lithium ion batteries
3) unproven effeciency and lifetime ??/ -- e.g. ultacapacitors
4) reliable / unreliable??? -- e.g. ulta-flywheels
5) huge ??? -- e.g. high temperature superconducting magnetic storage

Note that for portable, mobile or mission-critical non-cost sensitive applications -- some of the above may not be as important as they are for the grid -- hence the use of batteries in laptops, cel phones and cars and the use of some by the military

BUT -- since there is only punped-storage hydro for use on the grid -- that's all that is available to counteract the sporadic nature of both wind and solar with solar having the added negative of guranteed unavailability for more than 1/2 of all of the hours in a year

So can you make a case for solar powered lights in a remote bus shelter -- sure
what about a bus shelter in the midst of a city -- not really as the grid is only feet away and if you plan to provide heat as well as light the solar will not be cost effective

at this stage of the evolution of technology puting wind or solar on a parking garage is just a Krappy PR gimmic -- as for the companies that take advantage of PURPA and other subsidies -- they are in the same league as Bernie Maydoff -- massiive Ponzi Schemes fed by the rate payers -- and like all Ponzi Schemes they only work if the take-out is small since the subsidy is of the order of 100% or more of the cost of anyother form of energy connected to the grid

Note -- besides improving storage -- eventually there will be further small improvements in cell effeciency and also the manufacturing costs of cells and inverter electronics -- but there are fundamental limits to the effeciency. Further for those of you who've heard of Moore's Law for semiconductor manufacturing and hope for its "miraculous price reductions' to drive down the cost of solar energy -- Moore's law doesn't apply to solar cells -- making the wires smaller wiill not help.

Finally, except to make some idiot politicians happy -- why bother with "Green Energy" -- if we switch our traction power for transit vehicles on rails to electricity and use compressed natural gas for buses -- there is plenty of natural gas and uranium to power the T into the forseable future
whighlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2012, 03:45 PM   #5
shmessy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,094
Re: What would you do to get the T out of its financial mess?

Quote:
Originally Posted by whighlander View Post
Shmess -- I identified the technology gap needed to make anykind of occasional power useful -- its cost-efective, effecient storage of electricity -- today there is only one utility-grid accepted storage technology -- its called pumped storage hydro -- and New England was one of the pioneeers -- Google Northfield Mountain
The problem is that you keep using the word "TODAY".

This is what was delivered to Arizona Public Service this week.



This is here TODAY. If this is happening now and the technology is evolving and the cost of PV has decreased 50% in 2 years, what could we see in 5,10, 15 years?????? Why would anyone want to close their mind and the door to the possibility, given the advancements we have seen in just the past decade?

Tomorrow exists also.

In fact, much of what is going on in that Kendall Square which you have so well elaborated upon (and much appreciation for posting the Boston Mag article about the changes in the Square a few days ago) is centered upon renewables to be the MAJOR energy source by the second half of this century.

.......just not "today".

In the meantime, if the T could save just 10% of its energy budget by allowing Solarcity to install and maintain PV's then why not? Isn't that a step towards what this thread is all about?

Last edited by shmessy; 02-25-2012 at 03:58 PM.
shmessy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2012, 01:26 AM   #6
whighlander
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Lexington
Posts: 6,519
Re: What would you do to get the T out of its financial mess?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shmessy View Post
The problem is that you keep using the word "TODAY".

This is what was delivered to Arizona Public Service this week.

This is here TODAY. If this is happening now and the technology is evolving and the cost of PV has decreased 50% in 2 years, what could we see in 5,10, 15 years?????? Why would anyone want to close their mind and the door to the possibility, given the advancements we have seen in just the past decade?

Tomorrow exists also.

In fact, much of what is going on in that Kendall Square which you have so well elaborated upon (and much appreciation for posting the Boston Mag article about the changes in the Square a few days ago) is centered upon renewables to be the MAJOR energy source by the second half of this century.

.......just not "today".

In the meantime, if the T could save just 10% of its energy budget by allowing Solarcity to install and maintain PV's then why not? Isn't that a step towards what this thread is all about?
Shmess -- if you read my posts carefully -- you would realize that I didn't dismiss PV and Wind out of hand -- I simply said that absent relliable, scalable, cost-effective and effecient energy storage that grids could only afford to incorporate miniscule amounts of PV or Wind

You also note that I didn't dismiss energy storage without setting objective criteria and then comparing the various technologies.

I watched the Arizona Power video and it just makes my point -- I never heard an electrical unit associated with the Lithium Ion storage array -- but I believe the video mentioned rquivlencey to 1200 Prious battery boxes

One question How many Prius battery boxes do you think you would need to equal the energy output by the Salem Harbor plant for one hour?

Let's do what scientists and engineers call the "back of the envelope calculation" -- that means I will probably be right to about a factor of two or better

OK -- let's assume:
1) that a Prius plug-in hybrid battery is rated for 4.4-kWh lithium-ion battery -- Wikipedia (note the ordinary Prius uses a NiMHydride battery rated for only 1.7 kWhr)
2) Peak power output of the Prius battery module is 22 KW
3) that one hour = 3600 seconds
4) that Salem Harbor running at full output is delivering 750 MW
5) One Joule (energy) = 1 Watt for 1 second

Ps == Power output of Salem Harbor; Es == Energy delivered in one hour by Salem Harbor
Ps = 7.5x10^8 W; Es= Ps x 3.6x10^3 = 7.5x3.6 x10^11 J (joules)
Pp == Power output by Prius battery pack to drive the motor; Ep==energy deliverd by the Prius battery pack in one hour
Pp = 2.2x10^4 W if you could continue that for an hour you would need to store 2.2 x 3.6 x 10^7 J
However the actual energy stored by the Prius battery Ep = 4.4 x10^3 x 3.6 x10^3 = 4.4 x 3.6 x 10^6 J

So the ratio of Es / Ep = 7.5x3.6x10^11 / 3.4 x 3.6 x10^6 = (7.5/4.4) x 10^5 so 100 to 200 thousand Prius battery packs

Note the Prius does a bit better in terms of Peak Power Ps/Pp = 7.5x10^8 / 2.2x10^4 = (7.5/2.2) x 10^4

But in either case there are between 30,000 and nearly 200,000 Prius Battery Packs needed to match the output of an average thermal power plant === > anywhere from 30 to 200 of the Units being tested by Arizona Power

I've no clue as to the price of the unit being tested by Arizona Power other than the estmate of about $2500 to repalace an ordinary Prius battery pack -- so here I'm guessing but the battery storage for 1 hour of Salem Harbor output is of the order of $500 M

Note that the Salem Harbor Plant's output is about 3% of the peak load of the ISO New England grid -- so we are talking multiple B$ to store 1 hour of a fraction of the total system demand

Like I said -- Not Ready for Prime Time

separately the companies that do the installations for homeowners and small businesses are only able to do such because of the PURPA re-purchase regulation -- if they were economical without the subsidies they would be used by the major utilities -- they are not being so used

Finally, I have high hopes for some of the more exotic technologies such as:
1) high Temperature Superconducting magnetic energy storage -- but ths is still a lab bench scale technology
2) even less developed there is as is licquid metals to essentially make a 1 cell big battery based on Alumium Refiing technology -- being developed by Prof. Sadway at MIT

but they are still a long way off from being able to demonstrate for multiple years the required level of reliability demanded by the electric grid

And as to the dropping cost of PV arrays -- essentially they have to be free to be economically viable -- because of all the ancillary issues previously discussed
whighlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2012, 11:56 AM   #7
HenryAlan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Rozzie Square
Posts: 1,701
Re: What would you do to get the T out of its financial mess?

Should this renewable energy discussion get its own thread?
HenryAlan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Green Building KentXie Design a Better Boston 9 01-31-2011 01:26 PM
Sustainable Energy Solutions in Urban Design vanshnookenraggen General Architecture & Urban Planning 33 12-01-2010 11:16 AM
Energy Star Buildings statler General Architecture & Urban Planning 3 02-12-2008 09:10 AM
Energy Consumption- We're #5 quadratdackel General 6 09-23-2006 11:07 AM
SOM Building Produces More Energy Than It Uses briv General Architecture & Urban Planning 1 08-23-2006 11:37 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:01 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.