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kwlafayette





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
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Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:20 pm    Post subject: Smelling Land Reply with quote

Just starting reading this book my Dad bought, Smelling land. Written by an academic who predictably does not seem to have have a practical thought in his head. I have only read 2 chapters so far, so it could get better.

There was one interesting idea so far though. Talking about the energy crisis of the 70s, the author notes how Ontario Hydro encouraged people to turn off their lights. He noted that in the winter, in the Northern hemisphere, a light bulb is not only light, it gives off significant heat. So by getting less waste heat off of light bulbs, furnaces (which run on heating oil in Ontario) actually burned more fuel.

In a modern context, CFL light bulbs give off far less heat. Will we just be burning more natural gas and heating oil this winter to make up the difference? Has the law of unintended consequences struck us again?
Stephen





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Smelling Land Reply with quote

kwlafayette wrote:
Just starting reading this book my Dad bought, Smelling land. Written by an academic who predictably does not seem to have have a practical thought in his head. I have only read 2 chapters so far, so it could get better.

There was one interesting idea so far though. Talking about the energy crisis of the 70s, the author notes how Ontario Hydro encouraged people to turn off their lights. He noted that in the winter, in the Northern hemisphere, a light bulb is not only light, it gives off significant heat. So by getting less waste heat off of light bulbs, furnaces (which run on heating oil in Ontario) actually burned more fuel.

In a modern context, CFL light bulbs give off far less heat. Will we just be burning more natural gas and heating oil this winter to make up the difference? Has the law of unintended consequences struck us again?


It's all a matter of efficiencies of course. To heat one's house with lightbulbs is far less efficient that using the furnace. Therefore, the difference in energy needed should represent a positive offset.
kwlafayette





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
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votes: 28
Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Different energy goes into the furnace though. In Ontario, electricity comes from Hydro, nuclear or coal. Heat comes from oil, natural gas, or electricity. So it would likely be a switch from a clean source of electricity during off peak hours to fossil.

And actually, an incandescent light bulb is better at heating than at lighting. All 100 watts of a 100 watt light bulb come off as heat. At least according to this academic who is removed from reality.
lmmetcalfe





Joined: 04 Dec 2007
Posts: 5


PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:05 pm    Post subject: Smelling Land Reply with quote

I am reding the same book and enjoying it immensely. The comment about lights not being as efficient as a furnace is plain wrong. Most furnaces are less than about 80% efficient - an electric light uses 100 watts - all of which ultimately turns into heat.

Ontario electricity, by and large is reasonably clean (and getting better) - and in fact, turning on an extra light at night is very clean becasue the load in all liklihood is picked up at a hydro plant. That is a whole lot better than heating with gas - and producung more GHGs... Have a look at the OPG website if you don't believe this - at night the outputs of Niagara Falls and other hydro plants are reduced and the water just goes over the falls... The night load goes down and there is no place to use or sell the electricity... So they reduce load where they can do it and recover quickly if they need the power. (Nuclear and coal plants dont like to change load... hydro plants can change load quickly and start and stop several times each day...)

Read the entire book - you may not agree with the content - but it is very well thought out and I think that it is a lot closer to the truth that a lot of nonsense that is being pushed at us by others...

Example - composting - we should all do it... not so fast - composting at home produces methane in good quantities - about 20-30 times worse as a GHG than CO2... so if you dont collect and use the methane - you are doing no one any favours. On the other hand, commercial composting does it right..
Big Tuna





Joined: 28 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:43 am    Post subject: Re: Smelling Land Reply with quote

lmmetcalfe wrote:
I am reding the same book and enjoying it immensely. The comment about lights not being as efficient as a furnace is plain wrong. Most furnaces are less than about 80% efficient - an electric light uses 100 watts - all of which ultimately turns into heat.


hah.. what?!?

Are you seriously saying that heating your house with light bulbs is just as efficient as heating your house with a furnace?
lmmetcalfe





Joined: 04 Dec 2007
Posts: 5


PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

check the facts - I would never suggest heating with ligjhts becasue one would need far to many - but facts are facts - every bit of energy that goes into a light turns ultimately to heat - a furnace has a thing called a chimney and about 20% (or more) of the incoming energy dissapears outside...
kwlafayette





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
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Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:11 am    Post subject: Re: Smelling Land Reply with quote

lmmetcalfe wrote:
I am reding the same book and enjoying it immensely. The comment about lights not being as efficient as a furnace is plain wrong. Most furnaces are less than about 80% efficient - an electric light uses 100 watts - all of which ultimately turns into heat.

Ontario electricity, by and large is reasonably clean (and getting better) - and in fact, turning on an extra light at night is very clean becasue the load in all liklihood is picked up at a hydro plant. That is a whole lot better than heating with gas - and producung more GHGs... Have a look at the OPG website if you don't believe this - at night the outputs of Niagara Falls and other hydro plants are reduced and the water just goes over the falls... The night load goes down and there is no place to use or sell the electricity... So they reduce load where they can do it and recover quickly if they need the power. (Nuclear and coal plants dont like to change load... hydro plants can change load quickly and start and stop several times each day...)

Read the entire book - you may not agree with the content - but it is very well thought out and I think that it is a lot closer to the truth that a lot of nonsense that is being pushed at us by others...

Example - composting - we should all do it... not so fast - composting at home produces methane in good quantities - about 20-30 times worse as a GHG than CO2... so if you dont collect and use the methane - you are doing no one any favours. On the other hand, commercial composting does it right..
The more I think about it though, the more wrong it is. At night, people turn off their lights regardless. Also, office buildings have always been the domain of fluorescent lights, not incandescent bulbs. Fluorescents don't produce nearly the heat.

The analysis of my Dad's friend seems bang on, a book written by an academic who has never been exposed to the real world.
lmmetcalfe





Joined: 04 Dec 2007
Posts: 5


PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrong again - fluorescent lights use about 40 watts per fixture and there may be more than 10 thousand in a large building - using more about 400 kW (and that is between 1M and 2 M BTU - equivalent to a good sized boiler...). Ask a building manager in Toronto or Winnipeg and you will find that most offices need air conditioning running during winter months. The lights, office equipment and people provide more heat than is needed to keep the place warm in daytime hours...

I am not advocating using lights for heat - but they are a large source of heat. The new lights based on LEDs are the first real breakthrough in not producing much heat - and they will soon be used in many offices - but in fact, as a result, we will burn more fossil fuel to keep the buildings warm in winter. The good news is that the A/C load in summer goes down.

The fellow that wrote Smelling Land is an engineer - and is probably a lot more experienced than you give him credit for. He is promoting a hydrogen economy - which is potentially our only hope in the longer term. I heard him on CBC - and went and bought the book.. Anyone that doubts a lot of what he claims on the issue likely has their head in the sand. You may not like his solutions - but I like his approach. He looks at energy delivery as a system and works from principles. I can't even start to fault that approach.

I was no fan of the hydrogen economy and the use of fuel cells for cars but this book has gone a long way to change my mind. I think that the author may well be correct. He certainly has a lot of facts that I cannot refute - and I note that his book has the support of NRCAN.
kwlafayette





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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is the thing about hydrogen though, it is not a source of energy. Hydrogen is a store of energy. To make hydrogen, you must input energy; when you use hydrogen you will never even get back as much energy as you put in to make it, taking into account friction and other inefficiencies. It takes energy to build a solar cell, and the energy returned on energy invested in a solar cell is not great, so the sun is no great free source of energy to use. The only source of plentiful cheap energy on this planet is nuclear, but since my Dad stole the book to read it himself, I can't finish it right now. I don't know what the author's stance is on nuclear.

As an example of just how plentiful fissionable material is on this planet, I offer up the example of coal; there is more energy available in the fissionable impurities in coal than you get from burning the coal. The uranium dissolved in the world's oceans has some billions of years worth of energy at current usage rates.

http://www-formal.stanford.edu.....cohen.html
lmmetcalfe





Joined: 04 Dec 2007
Posts: 5


PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At last we agree..
Anyone that promotes hydrogen will have to agree that nuclear energy is the only available source of energy that can be used. He promotes both nuclear and hydro - and Canada is fortunate to have huge hydro storage capability. The US has almost none. Several years ago, BC Hydro was in California's bad books becasue they were buying electricity from California during the night for less than 2 cents/kWh - and using it to power their loads - while they stored water behind their dams. The following day when California was very short of power to meet their peak loads, BC Hydro came running to the rescue - selling them back energy (less than they had bought from them the previous night) for about 30x more than they paid... BC Hydro is a net importer and yet makes money on buying and selling.. ($200M annually)

Get the book and read it in full - you will probably appreciate it when you really get into it. (I certainly have - it took me ages to really grasp the first 100 pages and after that it is interesting and an easy read.)
kwlafayette





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
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Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion hydro is a bad way to go. It changes the downstream water temperature, affecting fish, it floods huge tracts of land, displacing animals and people. All the flooded vegetation ends up producing methane. Given a choice between a reactor and a hydro dam, I think I would pick the reactor 9 times out of 10.
lmmetcalfe





Joined: 04 Dec 2007
Posts: 5


PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cant disagree with that...although small run of river hydro is not doing much damage - as it typically does not flood anything - and in many cases it harnesses power from a waterfall

We have a lot of work to convince the public that a reactor is safe... and that is the real problem
kwlafayette





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Location: Saskatoon Saskatchewan

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lmmetcalfe wrote:
I cant disagree with that...although small run of river hydro is not doing much damage - as it typically does not flood anything - and in many cases it harnesses power from a waterfall

We have a lot of work to convince the public that a reactor is safe... and that is the real problem
Not just reactors, but the more controversial kinds of reactors like breeder reactors. A breeder reactor is more efficient, but people don't like them because they could be used to produce weapons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_breeder_reactor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_Fast_Reactor
gc21racer





Joined: 22 Jan 2009
Posts: 1


PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:02 pm    Post subject: smelling land book Reply with quote

I read this book a year ago and the the transformational premise of it is that ULTIMATELY we will be a "hydricity" world. There is not an infinite amount of fossil fuel in the earth, even if CO2 were not a problem for the atmosphere. Hydrogen and electricity perfectly compliment each other as "currencies" of energy delivery and storage. A vast network of pipes will both carry AND store hydrogen, like natural gas is today. Electricity will be produced by whatever means available (wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, etc) at whatever rate possible and stored in the hydrogen network, completely eliminating the peak load problem of the electrical grid. Every country will be completely energy self sufficient. Even if one doesn't accept that climate change is a problem, everyone can relate to energy security. Hydrogen is such a perfect compliment to electricity (in terms of energy storage and delivery) that EVEN IF we didnt insist on having a fuel suitable for flight and long-haul travel, we would be forced into the "hydricity age" just so we could store and deliver the vast amounts of energy necessary to make an "all electricity" world work.

So if we have to go there at some point no matter what, we should get started on "hydricity" right away.
mrsocko





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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why couldn't you put a huge light bulb in your furnace or a hundred lightbulbs in your furnace.

100% efficient, can't get any better than that, at least until the invent the fusion furnace. :P
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