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Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 9:13 AM

Solar energy on domestic Australian roof tops has changed the midday demand. But the evening cooking, lighting and aircons just demand too much capital infrastructure in gen capacity, poles and wires to satisfy the early night time consumption rates.

They call the drop in demand around midday of the traditional system, the 'green duck' effect.
And in California, this is apparently the situation ....

So, how can we engineers push for a flatter energy demand, be it over 24 hours or on an annual basis? In Australia, the coal-fired electricity generators are trying to wind back the solar invasion because they have over generating capacity during the day and the peak demand at night. Should they go the way of other smoke stack industries? A conservative Australian Federal Government is apparently saying that 'coal is the future'. I wonder where they get their political donations from.

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#1

Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

11/27/2014 9:16 AM

design better storage systems

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

11/27/2014 12:16 PM

GA

I agree that moderate time (24~36 hr) energy storage systems seems to be the crux here. I'm not sure if this should be massive grid level or many small distributed at the sites of wind/solar power production forms of storage but averaging out the demand on the utility production seems like a good idea here. Rechargeable batteries are an obvious approach to electricity storage but the technology is an odd mix of old school and exotic materials that it makes me wonder if this is where the solution will be found. The storage technology that intrigues me is flywheel based. This can be scaled to handle both a domestic solar roof to provide that power just after sunset and power grid storage.

I wonder if that is what this thread is about.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

11/27/2014 12:51 PM

currently wind is not really stored efficiently. they just freewheel and the wind races past. I really like some of the work I see with the basic liquid flow battery approach.

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#49
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Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

12/02/2014 4:04 PM

Have you seen how large the barns are that hold flow batteries, and the tanks? WOW
!

I like the idea of storing heat in gravel much better. Other than that, install a home scale ammonia generator, and learn how to combine that with gasoline or diesel, and yes, Mildred, you can burn ammonia in an ICE when combined with hydrocarbons in a blend. Or you can use a special high compression engine that achieves ignition every time once the compression self-ignition point is reached. The ammonia system produces more energy than it consumes, yes net output to the grid, net ammonia produced to be used as clean burning fuel in the special engine, that also can drive a generator. Store up only the needed ammonia, and you can have all the load leveling you can stand. The new engines do not use oil for lubrication, since ammonia burns without leaving any deposits.

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#50
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Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

12/02/2014 9:58 PM

Interesting concepts but with NH3 having a one atmosphere vapor point of -28°F (33°C) won't this just make for more logistic problems than it is worth at a solar energy plant in the desert of Australia?

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#51
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Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

12/02/2014 10:27 PM

(psst: minus 33°C)

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#52
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Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

12/02/2014 10:30 PM
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#53
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Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

12/02/2014 11:24 PM

Attention to detail and no bull .... it's what gives CR4 its rigor and value to all that participate.

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#54
In reply to #50

Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

12/03/2014 11:27 AM

Glad you mentioned that. Each skid that produces the ammonia also has its own container, and uses a heat pump to cool down the expanded product and condense it. Seem like it is well suited for the outback as well as nearly anywhere else. Just try freezing the dern stuff in Antarctica!

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#57
In reply to #50

Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

02/12/2015 9:42 AM

Solar: (1) Yes. I see your point that it is the high desert, and apparently there is no water there to play with.

(2)I fail to see the issue with the vapor point, as the ahydrous ammonia liquid is easily pumped through a manifold heater.

(3) For that matter, one could make a small Kalina cycle, purchase the needed ammonia (and pure water), and in a perfectly closed system the losses are rather small. One might be concerned with even the small fugitive vapor emissions of such a plant, although the Kalina cycle has been considered on large plants as well.

(4) Question is what would be logistically possible in the Outback?

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#59
In reply to #57

Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

02/12/2015 10:22 AM

Answer to Q4: 80% of the freight across Australia is carried by train. (It used to be fleets of semi's). If the passing loops for the freights were used as recharge systems, with maybe 50km of electrified track on either side of the passing loop, then that might be an alternative to expensive diesel.

Answer to Q1: There is a substantial quantity of surface salt water and artesian fresh water in the middle of Australia. http://www.environment.gov.au/water/environment/great-artesian-basin.
Use the sun energy to pump the water to where it is needed or could be used to supply renewable energy 'after hours'.

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#62
In reply to #59

Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

02/12/2015 11:46 AM

Or perhaps use the solar power to de-salt the salty, and put it to good use? Global water outlook in power industry is really beginning to focus on power demand (in the U.S.) in the arid southwestern states due to population shifts, and increasing demand for suitable potable water for the communities. Power generation needs to look at ways not only to reduce or eliminate water consumption in these areas, but also to seriously consider becoming net producers of clean water for public consumption, either from stack condensate (when plants run off natural gas), or when there is low-grade waste heat that fits the bill for certain desalination technologies as FO.

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#63
In reply to #62

Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

02/12/2015 9:47 PM

Agree on the growing links between electricity, water, people and pursuits ....
sounds like we engineers might still have a job here.

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#60
In reply to #50

Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

02/12/2015 10:26 AM

Who said anything about storing the ammonia at one atmosphere at any time? It just isn't done that way.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

11/27/2014 12:53 PM
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#61
In reply to #1

Re: Putting the green duck into the evening's nest

02/12/2015 10:30 AM

Excerpt:

"You could probably avoid the massive build out of power plants in the Middle East if you used water generation and storage to manage the peaks. For example, instead of needing to build more and more 'peakers' to cover the air conditioning demand in summer and in the middle of the day, you could just have a series of baseload plants and switch production to [desalination] production when demand is low and supply to the grid when demand is high," he said.

http://www.powermag.com/global-water-outlook-for-power-generation/?pagenum=4

The link is to the article source of the above quoted text. The entire global water outlook is something people need to get serious about as well.

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#2

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 9:42 AM

It seems there is still a need for Australian grid systems to satisfy the morning and evening peaks that, as far as the utility supplier is concerned, are now sharper than before. So there is still a need for utility capex. The amount of coal used, however, is the area under the curve, which is falling year on year, which is good news for the bill payer. However, that means that the cost of capex needs to be recovered over fewer kWh sold by the utility suppliers, so the price of a kWh must rise over time, which tips the balance more in favour of harvesting technology as time progresses.

The evening peak is rising over time. The introduction of modern lighting technologies will help with that one, which again will accelerate with a higher value for a kWh.

I really couldn't comment about political donations as I am masquerading as a French policeman.

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#6

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 12:59 PM

We're burning enough natural gas every day in N. Dakota to power a lot of small, on-demand gas generating stations all over the world.

Maybe we should go back to heating, cooking and lighting with it.

Or reduce the demand by designing more efficient heating, cooking and lighting devices.

I've always thought pumped storage was cool.

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#22
In reply to #6

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/28/2014 12:50 PM

Good point. Use the excess energy to pump a fluid somewhere , to be used later, in some fashion…Hydroelectric being just one …how about the old Roadrunner, Acme Corporation , wind up the rubber band approach….

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#7

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 1:39 PM

First they were pushing solar and now they're back-peddling to coal. <expletive> politicians!

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#8
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 1:57 PM

Politicians are prostitutes. You too, can have one do your bidding. All it takes is money.

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#9
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 2:00 PM

Our money. Policitians are not just prostitutes, they're parasites. Leeches, feeding at the public till.

It's not even symbiotic relationship - unless you're a corporation.

One of these days it will come time to pay the piper, and it won't be pretty.

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#12
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 3:58 PM

Yes but, the politicians will still have their lifetime perks, at our expense, of course.

Now you've done it. You've put me off my feed!

Thinking about leeches (politicians) on Thanksgiving Day just ain't right.

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#21
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/28/2014 8:21 AM

I agree more than 100% on the corruption comments and up in the true north we are trying to make some changes. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

There are many ways to clean up the environment but only those controlled by the powerful ever get any political attention and most of these under perform at best.

www.canadiananticorruptionleague.org.

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#10

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 2:08 PM

So when's Tony Abbot planning to renounce his British citizenship and become an Aussie.

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#11
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 3:45 PM

After the "Bye bye, Betty" campaign has run its course?

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#13
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 5:51 PM

Bingo.

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#14

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 7:07 PM

Today's side story is the dropping oil (and gas) pricing with higher production being at the heart of this poker game, between USA-inc and OPEC headed by Saudi Arabia. I guess we should invest in more jerry cans and fill them to create our own home based 'price protection'. And I expect to see the pollies complain again because of reduced royalties and taxes from the current lower prices. Hang on, watch this space, and get your own seat at the game table by switching off a couple of lights a bit earlier each night! (A small 'Thanksgiving' story).

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#16
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 7:21 PM

I read that as well but chose to pass on sharing

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#18
In reply to #15

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 8:49 PM

These

make much better rocket fuel after being eaten. A single five-pound bag would make enough fuel to send the entire human race to Andromeda.

In 30 milliseconds.

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#17

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 8:07 PM

How long does it take to bring a gasturbine online? I know that it is better continuusly run, but then with the lack of good energy storage systems the alternative is to generate power on demand. This could be a gas turbine.

The problem then will be gas storage which is probably better understood.

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#64
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

02/16/2015 3:53 PM

Look at RamGen turbine, and then you come back and tell me how it takes...milliseconds possible idle to full load output. That does not mean milliseconds from dead stop to full load output. It takes a significant amount of time to spin up, probably all of one second, or maybe two, but again that depends on the rotor size, and the amount of starter power, as the torque required to produce angular acceleration is related to moment of inertia, as I recall.

If we are stuck with current gen, axial gas turbine Brayton cycle, it takes at least minutes to reach sync idle speed, and proably up to 30-45 mins to reach full load, depending on the bells and whistles (simple cycle or combined cycle makes a difference).

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#65
In reply to #64

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

02/16/2015 8:26 PM

That's not even four million milliseconds.

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#66
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

02/17/2015 1:42 PM

ok, I probably deserved that for poor writing. Anyway, don't let that stop you from looking at the tremendous accomplishments of RamGen.

http://www.ramgen.com/apps_ASCE_breakthrough.html

They also make high capacity compressors.

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#19

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/27/2014 8:55 PM

Solar brine ponds and Rankine-cycle turbines using low-boiling-point fluorocarbons (or equiv) as the working fluid.

One thing Oz does not lack in abundance is sunshine, and solar ponds stay hot throughout the demand period. In the evening? The best time.

All that Outback and the pollies are talking about going back to coal.

What a bunch of <expletive> <expletive> <expletive> morons.

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#20
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/28/2014 12:30 AM

The problem that we have in Oz, as in most other democracies, is the short life expectancy of our government's time in control. This leaves them with no political will to implement insightful alternatives.

The Australian political landscape has been devoid of visionaries for decades, and now we also have the added burden of a crippling national debt coupled with a dysfunctional and hostile Senate that leaves the current government with little alternative but to maintain the status quo with regards to many possible improvements to living standards, including alternative power generation methods.

The huge take-up of domestic solar generation in Australia took the government and the power suppliers by surprise. The power distributors initially saw this as a great way to relieve their infrastructure costs as it was expected to spread the co-generation fairly evenly over the distribution area.

Many more householders than was originally anticipated took up the offer to sell power back to the grid for around 3 times what we were paying for taking that same power out, and with a guarantee that the rebate for such co-generation would remain until the end of 2016. A crazy offer that was never financially viable, but which was too good to refuse, and thus grossly oversubscribed. I installed my system in 2010 and had totally amortised the installation cost in less than 2 years with the next 4 years being pure profit - although they are trying to claw some of that back with very large increases in supply and usage charges.

Previous poorly conceived government initiatives such as the building of a number of desalination plants at astronomical constructional expense and even larger expected operational costs, some of which have never even been commissioned - due largely to the proven false claims by one Prof. Flannery et al that our dams would be all but empty by the end of the last decade - but actually full to capacity a few years later, and the crazy cash handouts that the previous government made, have left this government both cash strapped and wary of taking other leaps of faith that may well be beneficial.

The Australian public is at present overwhelmingly opposed to nuclear fission power generation (but quite happy to sell our Uranium to others?), and the environmental lobby has put the kibosh on the possibility of any near future additional hydro electric plants. Wind farms and solar (no matter how large we make them) are not by themselves even nearly capable of providing all of our energy needs without huge expenditure in as yet unproven storage methods.

Whilst we have abundant sunlight that may see some advance in saline pond techniques, their positioning would require large expenditure in transmission facilities, and we still have the storage problem. There is insufficient excess river outflows for an Osmotic process to be of any real value, we have a severe lack of ready funds to develop other possible solutions, and so, no matter how much we may wish it not to be the case, we are stuck with coal fired generation for the foreseeable future .

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#55
In reply to #19

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

12/03/2014 11:55 AM

I don't like ORC machines as these are really never that efficient, and if they leak, it is really bad, and dangerous, as most of the cycle fluids considered are (1)hydrocarbons (fire hazard), or (2) refrigerants that contribute to upper atmosphere chemistry cycles (in one fashion or the other).

I prefer the SCC (supercritical carbon dioxide cycle) whether it is found in a piston engine type, or a closed Brayton turbine cycle. Solar ponds seem to be ideal for the piston variety, as alternating water and cool water on the cylinder jacket for a large piston is actually pretty good in getting the enclose fluid to expand and contract, and the result is hydraulic power to turn the generator. (I know of one company using this right now on solar ponds to power a water purification from seawater).

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#67
In reply to #19

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

02/17/2015 1:50 PM

global seawaters technologies already has the equipment to do desal of high salinity waters, mine the salts, provide output power, and pure water to the locals.

http://www.ramgen.com/apps_ASCE_breakthrough.html

I have spoken with the CEO, and their chief engineer - both really great people! They want to put this technology everywhere sunshine is plentiful, and water is scarce. It can make a difference! It is sort of low tech, with some high tech items that sew it all together into a fabric of success!

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#23

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/28/2014 2:36 PM

There's always that crazy idea of using solar to split water into highly combustible hydrogen and oxygen.

I'm pretty sure that they even burn at night, and could possibly run turbines. Just a guess.

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#24
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/28/2014 6:12 PM

All that Outback sunshine is gonna be there whether or not they use it, so why not? Basically what Oz has is a desert that, in the US, would stretch from Las Vegas to Philadelphia, and from the GoM north to the Canadian border. Oz could supply the energy needs of an entire hemisphere were the pollies even merely half-wits.

Sitting on a gold mine hawking pyrite.

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#25
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/28/2014 6:22 PM

But...........................but, what will they do at night?

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#26
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/28/2014 6:25 PM
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#27
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/28/2014 7:12 PM

You'd never make a good straight man.

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#28
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/28/2014 7:42 PM

Neither would you.

(I think we should just stick to being iconoclasts)

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#29
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/28/2014 8:16 PM

Is that anything like being grumpy old men?

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#30
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/28/2014 11:19 PM

Worse.

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#31
In reply to #25

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 12:25 AM

Have you not heard about the birds, bees .... and horizontal folk dancing in the dark?

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#32
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 12:31 AM

....and Abbott appears to be ruling from spite.

If you think I'm hard the left, I really enjoy destroying the right wingers.

Not quite sure how many ways to say to leave me alone....but I'll get there.

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#35
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 4:36 AM

Too bad Keating doesn't sit in a chair behind Abbot during parliament. All Abbott'd hear would be nonstop running commentary about Abbott's being "a dessicated little coconut" and "the honourable donkey from Great Britain" and "You're flat out counting past ten mate!" and "That's a f**king Boulevard Special, that is!" Pure hell, Keating-style.

I'd pay cash money to see that.

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#36
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 5:33 AM

Break out the Moet (or beer) with the Victorian State election result tonight.
One of Abbot's conservative state government support planks has fallen into the Bay.

The Green Duck might have a better chance of finding a nest in the evening.

(Apologies for the Australian government comment .... but sustainable engineering
may have gained another supporting government tonight).

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#37
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 6:15 AM

Labour's nearly 3% ahead of Liberal. Looks like some senior federal Liberals might suddenly come alive to the risk of becoming one-term wonders. Oopsies.

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#33

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 12:38 AM

The problem I've noticed with most solar panel installations is they're set up to produce peak power at midday. My house has roof slopes that are East and West. If I were to install solar panels on each slope I would generate peak power at mid-morning and mid-afternoon. In the Summer I could be generating power up to sixteen hours a day.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 1:33 AM

In the days of the gross feed in tariffs, most of the juicy revenue paid for renewable energy delivered to the grid was for the slot 11am and 4pm. If the revenue was generous for the time BEFORE 11am and AFTER 4pm, then your thinking would be taken up for sure.

The result of the massive solar PV installation rates in Australia has seen the gross feed in tariffs almost completely disappear and with it any enlightened thinking as you suggested.

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#38
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 8:04 AM

thats why they make these they track all day

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 9:59 AM

Mine didn't come with the red arrows and so it gets very confused at night.

Speaking of tracking PV panels, have you ever seen tracking motors that were also powered by the Sun? Not electric ones, but thermo-mechanical trackers that each have two bulbs containing a low-boiling-point working fluid connected together through a tiny turbine that drives the tracking mechanism. There's a small partition between the bulbs so that, if the partition shadows one or the other bulb (both of which are painted black) the fluid boils in the sunlit one only, spinning the turbine and centering the partition (and therefore the panel) so that both bulbs are heated equally. In this way it tracks the Sun without any kind of electronics and is self-powered.

I saw mention of these a long time ago, long before the Internet and so I have no link to the piece. Have you heard of these?

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#40
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 10:14 AM

You have to apply the arrows yourself.

LynDoor™Ind. SunTracker© solar tracking panels come with two different sets of red arrows, one for Northern and one for Southern Hemisphere applications.

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#41
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 10:18 AM

sure, it can be done several ways, including azimuth data put into software, but photo sensors do the trick

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#42
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 10:29 AM

Yes, I'm familiar with these but I'm talking about thermo-mechanical trackers. Have ever heard of such?

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#43
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 10:41 AM
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#45
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 5:24 PM

The Suntrak solar water heaters of the early 1980s had just such a tracking mechanism.

They were a twin parabolic Australian invention (invented by a couple of brothers in Kempsey NSW) that used the differential heating of a pair of sensor tubes to open or close either of two water valves which then caused the collectors to rotate until both sensors were equally heated and the collectors pointing at the sun.

It also utilised a single low pressure tube with a small amount of water in it on the focal point of each collector, this water boiled at a low temperature, the steam ascended the tube, and heated the tank water via a heat exchanger.

Most probably the forerunner of the now popular evacuated tube water heaters. The tracking system worked well, but was unfortunately coupled to a plastic storage tank which tended to fail under pressure, it also had to be facing due solar North (in Australia) for the tracking and parabolas to work correctly. Unfortunately not all roofs are so oriented, and the bracketing to get such was quite unsightly on a house roof.

Another cause of its downfall was that the Australian electricity distributors of the day were actively engaged in discouraging the use of alternative energy, and they were a powerful force.

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#44

Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

11/29/2014 3:25 PM

www.che.utexas.edu/.../topic_8/solar_energy_vliet.ppt

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#46
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

12/01/2014 8:08 PM

Broken link. see the "..." in between?

How did you copy that?

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#47
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

12/01/2014 10:12 PM

It wouldn't copy. I had to type it in. If you highlight and google it, it will come up as the first choice of websites where a file can be downloaded from. It is a power point file which you can then open with power point viewer. I found this by searching for "steam powered solar generators circa 1900". I had seen some pictures in an old book that was printed about then. One looked like a radiotelescope with a big thing in the middle. It took some fiddling around but I was able to view the power point images.

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#48
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

12/01/2014 11:36 PM

In my copy of 'The Romance of Modern Invention', by Archibald Williams published by Seeley & Co, London 1910, they had a pic of the 'SUN MOTOR' used on a Pasadena Ostrich farm in California. It worked a pump capable of delivering 1400 gallons per minute.

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#56
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

02/11/2015 5:21 PM

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=VdXbVL-IGsGxyASW84DYDQ&url=http://www.che.utexas.edu/course/che359%26384/lecture_notes/topic_8/solar_energy_vliet.ppt&ved=0CBwQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNEDO2e_-WWYH5vAva11G7pDyvu-rA&sig2=cMl2WJ3YK6soVjrawNH1rg

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#58
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Re: Putting the Green Duck into the Evening's Nest

02/12/2015 10:08 AM

Yes, the 131 mile x 131 mile area is a significant amount of land, I presume the landowners get to stay, or are "we" going to run them off their land?

At 7.5% efficiency, that is pretty thin soup, and runs the cost through the roof.

The combined use of wind and solar in that same area and a considerably higher efficiency rating (although intermittent) would produce far more power in a much smaller land area. Molten salt heat storage has potential, or thermal storage in hot gravel will also drive a heat engine that is based on near adiabatic compression and expansion. see this link: www.isentropic.uk

The hot gravel technique can be suitable for a number of MWh per system, and can be used in a modular way, appropriate with renewable energy density within a localized area.

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