Skip to content
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Guardian)   The oil companies have kidnapped Dr. Meinheimer again   (theguardian.com) divider line
    More: Sad, Natural gas, local gas company, Texas, city of Austin, Texas city, Carbon dioxide, gas use, Energy development  
•       •       •

1082 clicks; posted to STEM » on 01 Mar 2021 at 3:18 PM (11 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



17 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2021-03-01 3:28:05 PM  
Simply switching building to electrical heat though is just pushing the gas use off the the power grid instead.  The gas heating for water and central air is more efficient than an electric heating system for residential use.
I don't agree with a gas company being able to lobby and get a city to change it's plans like this, but I also think it was probably a good decision.

We live in Houston and if our house didn't have gas water heater, oven, stove heater and fire place we would have been in much worse shape when the power went out.  At least we still had hot water and could cook.

I am all for pushing for more green energy supply but gas for residential use is still a good idea.  Putting more stuff on the electric grid would have made the problems from a couple weeks ago worse.
 
2021-03-01 6:00:34 PM  

k4mi: Simply switching building to electrical heat though is just pushing the gas use off the the power grid instead.  The gas heating for water and central air is more efficient than an electric heating system for residential use.


Not necessarily.  Texas gets a good chunk of its electricity from renewables and nuclear.  That share is only expected to rise in coming years.

k4mi: I am all for pushing for more green energy supply but gas for residential use is still a good idea.  Putting more stuff on the electric grid would have made the problems from a couple weeks ago worse.


True, but that may not be the case a decade or two in the future when these sorts of bans are supposed to kick in.  Solar, power storage, building insulation, grid management, and weatherization may all make these sorts of events much less likely.

But even without an outright ban, one thing that could kill residential gas service is an aging system and tougher laws on methane emissions.  Seattle says that it could cost billions to replace aging pipes, a cost that will be passed along to customers.  That might trigger an exodus as people dump gas because of rising connection and delivery fees.
 
2021-03-01 6:30:15 PM  
Using electricity to heat stuff up is really inefficient.  Figure only 30-40 percent of the heat from nuclear, gas or coal gets made into electricity, the rest goes out the stack or out through cooling towers.  So, you gain 60-70 percent if you burn stuff at home.

It could be argued that making people use electricity for heat will actually increase carbon emissions.
But, since we are talking politics, logical arguments don't count, after all the green approach, even if it does not work, makes you feel so much better.  Plus you can be smug.

So vote for me!
 
2021-03-01 6:56:35 PM  

zeaper12: So, you gain 60-70 percent if you burn stuff at home.


On the flip side, a furnace will never output more than 100% of the energy in its fuel as heat.  Meanwhile, a heat pump can typically scavenge more heat from an outside source than is used to run the pump.
 
2021-03-01 7:12:40 PM  
Something like this passing where i live would mean having to move. Im 100% off grid solar power.. but the electricity i can store is no where near enough to heat and cook with electricity. I would have to move back on grid and my carbon footprint would increase by orders of magnitude.
seems like short sighted thinking.
 
2021-03-01 7:31:20 PM  
Heating things with electricity is inefficient compared to heating things by burning stuff directly, but it gives you options that don't involve burning things and creating the resultant pollution (as well as avoiding the pollution from methane leaks which make the situation much worse).

Gas has got to go if we plan to stabilize the climate at a somewhat hospitable level. Ideally we would design our homes to need less electricity overall. Water can very easily be heated by solar power directly in any sunny climate, Texas being a perfect example.

Of course, we're here to find excuses as to why we should keep using fossil energy that literally threatens to kill us all here, not to think about what changes are necessary and how to accomplish them.
 
2021-03-01 7:49:50 PM  

Dinjiin: zeaper12: So, you gain 60-70 percent if you burn stuff at home.

On the flip side, a furnace will never output more than 100% of the energy in its fuel as heat.  Meanwhile, a heat pump can typically scavenge more heat from an outside source than is used to run the pump.


Heat pumps are crazy-efficient, but even at 120%+ you still lose the 30-40 percent heat loss from thermal generation.  If you need to heat much burning stuff is the best for efficiency, at least in modern furnaces.
 
2021-03-01 8:07:36 PM  

Dinjiin: k4mi: Simply switching building to electrical heat though is just pushing the gas use off the the power grid instead.  The gas heating for water and central air is more efficient than an electric heating system for residential use.

Not necessarily.  Texas gets a good chunk of its electricity from renewables and nuclear.  That share is only expected to rise in coming years.


Renewables maybe, but when was the last time a new nuclear plant was brought online?
 
2021-03-01 8:08:34 PM  

Dinjiin: zeaper12: So, you gain 60-70 percent if you burn stuff at home.

On the flip side, a furnace will never output more than 100% of the energy in its fuel as heat.  Meanwhile, a heat pump can typically scavenge more heat from an outside source than is used to run the pump.


Not when it gets really, really cold.
 
2021-03-01 8:31:31 PM  
it's a gas - alfred e neuman
Youtube ktSWQ9Ki7TY
 
2021-03-01 9:00:40 PM  
Here's what I figure is going to happen around here, medium term:
Heat pumps for efficient regular heating. Gas heating for extra-cold times. Excess electrical production (wind, solar, nuke, and hydro) goes to producing hydrogen (from water, not natural gas). That hydrogen goes into the natural gas distribution system to decarbonize that. Modern gas appliances can run up to 20% or so hydrogen without modification.

/Gotten used to cooking with gas.
//A local power company is trialling using excess nuclear electricity to create and store hydrogen.
 
2021-03-01 10:24:52 PM  

Fursecution: Here's what I figure is going to happen around here, medium term:
Heat pumps for efficient regular heating. Gas heating for extra-cold times. Excess electrical production (wind, solar, nuke, and hydro) goes to producing hydrogen (from water, not natural gas). That hydrogen goes into the natural gas distribution system to decarbonize that. Modern gas appliances can run up to 20% or so hydrogen without modification.

/Gotten used to cooking with gas.
//A local power company is trialling using excess nuclear electricity to create and store hydrogen.


The problem with hydrogen is that it's just so insanely inefficient. You need a ton of excess electricity to make it, and then you have to compress it, store it, and transport it. You typically lose more than 65% of your original energy. If there's just butt-tons of curtailment it can make sense, but there's a reason it's usually made via steam reforming.

You can't just stick some wires in a bucket of water and start running shiat on hydrogen.
 
2021-03-01 11:19:04 PM  

flondrix: Dinjiin: zeaper12: So, you gain 60-70 percent if you burn stuff at home.

On the flip side, a furnace will never output more than 100% of the energy in its fuel as heat.  Meanwhile, a heat pump can typically scavenge more heat from an outside source than is used to run the pump.

Not when it gets really, really cold.


Modern cold climate air-sourced heat pumps can operate down to -25C/-13F before needing to switch to an auxiliary heat source.  (source)


flondrix: Renewables maybe, but when was the last time a new nuclear plant was brought online?


I'm not holding my breath, but a number of companies behind small modular reactors have been pushing the mass production and regulatory restructuring angles in the hopes that they can reduce costs.  If they can carve out a new regulatory niche for SMRs, we might see them coming online in 15-20 years.
 
2021-03-02 12:40:14 AM  

zeaper12: Heat pumps are crazy-efficient, but even at 120%+ you still lose the 30-40 percent heat loss from thermal generation. If you need to heat much burning stuff is the best for efficiency, at least in modern furnaces.


True, but a utility generator will be able to purchase each Mcf of natural gas for a small fraction of what a residential customer can purchase it for.  So from a price standpoint, that efficiency doesn't help a whole lot.

And in the end, that furnace will always generate 100% of its heat from natural gas throughout its lifespan.  Meanwhile, the electrical grid is increasing its share of zero carbon generation with each year, so that heat pump will see a decrease in fossil fuel usage throughout its lifespan.
 
2021-03-02 6:28:57 AM  
"Don't get up!"

external-content.duckduckgo.comView Full Size
 
2021-03-02 11:23:03 AM  

Dinjiin: flondrix: Dinjiin: zeaper12: So, you gain 60-70 percent if you burn stuff at home.

On the flip side, a furnace will never output more than 100% of the energy in its fuel as heat.  Meanwhile, a heat pump can typically scavenge more heat from an outside source than is used to run the pump.

Not when it gets really, really cold.

Modern cold climate air-sourced heat pumps can operate down to -25C/-13F before needing to switch to an auxiliary heat source.  (source)


flondrix: Renewables maybe, but when was the last time a new nuclear plant was brought online?

I'm not holding my breath, but a number of companies behind small modular reactors have been pushing the mass production and regulatory restructuring angles in the hopes that they can reduce costs.  If they can carve out a new regulatory niche for SMRs, we might see them coming online in 15-20 years.


Disclaimer:  Back in the day, I used to work on the Yucca Mountain Project, intended to construct, license, and operate America's first permanent geological repository for nuclear waste under Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

By now, I would think that the list of things America did wrong with commercial nuclear power would be pretty well settled, and well known, but I'll recap it here, if for no other reason than to deal with my own frustration.

1) In America, *every* power reactor is a unique, one-off design.  Not only the guts of the reactor, but also the control room and even the layout and placement of the instruments.  This does very bad things for training and exchanging personnel, not to mention making sure each installation is 'up to code'.  In *France*, for Fark's sake, power reactors are standardized.  Much easier to build, much easier to inspect, much easier to maintain, much easier to keep a cadre of expert operators and technicians.

2) Back when America was building power reactors, there was an attitude that each unit had to be huge, with immense power output, thus multiplying the technical challenges, risks, costs, etc.  Should have focused on more, smaller, simpler units.

3) America seems to have this attitude that power reactors *must* be built on top of the largest nearby geological fault.  If no fault is available, an area prone to floods, landslides, or tornadoes may suffice.

4) Contractors who are caught cutting corners, falsifying inspection records or weld X-Rays, that sort of shiat, are not immediately shot.  Not the low-level schmucks, the C-suite and Board as well.  If you don't want to shoot them, use them as reactor shielding.

5) America has decided that spent reactor fuel must never be reprocessed for reuse.  It makes ever so much more sense to store it in perpetuity in rusting drums with no more security than a chain link fence.  Sure, it does.

5b) Even if we don't reprocess fuel, there's a right way and a wrong way to store it.  Yucca Mountain was *this close* to submitting its formal license application, but the never-to-be-sufficiently-damned Harry Reid singlehandedly blocked it.  Hope you're proud of yourself, asshole.

6) The 'American Public' mostly met nuclear power with torches and pitchforks, a mixture of honest concern and astroturfed opposition from established energy companies.  America has never been good at countering NIMBYism and misinformation with education, facts, and rational thought.  Especially not in the half century or so that there has been a concerted effort to dismantle America's public education system and wipe out any vestiges of critical thinking.

None of these are really impossible to overcome, except maybe number 6, if we can find the political will to do so.  So when I see reports of new interest in nuclear, and new, smaller, modular designs, it gives me some hope.

Keeping my fingers crossed.
 
2021-03-02 2:32:45 PM  
flondrix: "...when was the last time a new nuclear plant was brought online?"

I thought at first it said "bought online" and thought at least it would ship free with Amazon Prime.
 
Displayed 17 of 17 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking




On Twitter


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.