Power plants vs batteries

SpaceYooper

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I'm curious and have not put much thought into this but what are your thoughts about everything being run off batteries and no power coming from power plants?

Would that really be a better situation?

I started thinking about it because we bought some new power recline furniture that I can run from a battery pack or outlet.
I'd have to put new outlets in the floor because running cords across the living room to the walls is not practical. Because I don't want to breakup the aesthetic of the hardwood, I opted for the battery packs.

Now I'm questioning if everything ran on batteries opposed to powered wall outlets...would that be better? The big variable is that the answer probably depends on how the plant is generating the power. I just don't know when the environmental harm done by building and mining the materials for batteries (taking into account the recycling opportunities) fully become more beneficial (if ever) vs the efficiencies of a power plant.

 

ZARDOZ

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Where would the batteries get their power if there were no power plants?
 
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For this to work, each and every home would need its own source of solar and turbine. This would remove dependencies from the Grid. The problem is that this is very expensive and what happens when you have multiple days of no wind or sun and batteries are depleted? This is why you need a grid that distributes power and a grid that can function at night with no wind. Eventually, you can build large energy storage centers and replace their energy sources with renewable energy. Then you can distribute energy as needed if you have cooperation across the planet. So imagine if where you are is producing excess energy beyond storage and usage capacity, what if you could send that energy into storage and usage on the other side of the planet where it's night-time to charge their batteries and vice versa? That's likely the only way around eliminating dependencies on coal, gas, and oil.
There are also alternatives to batteries. Like pumping water to a higher altitude and then letting that flow through a turbine at a lower altitude to reclaim the stored energy using gravity. I've also seen experiments where people focus solar energy on a composite material that's like sand which heats up during the day and at night, the heat is used to create high-pressure steam that drives a turbine and produces electricity. My presumption is that both of these methods are more economical than traditional batteries at scale.
https://electrek.co/2022/07/08/sand-energy-storage-wind-solar/
 

HaulingAss

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I'm curious and have not put much thought into this but what are your thoughts about everything being run off batteries and no power coming from power plants?

Would that really be a better situation?

I started thinking about it because we bought some new power recline furniture that I can run from a battery pack or outlet.
I'd have to put new outlets in the floor because running cords across the living room to the walls is not practical. Because I don't want to breakup the aesthetic of the hardwood, I opted for the battery packs.

Now I'm questioning if everything ran on batteries opposed to powered wall outlets...would that be better? The big variable is that the answer probably depends on how the plant is generating the power. I just don't know when the environmental harm done by building and mining the materials for batteries (taking into account the recycling opportunities) fully become more beneficial (if ever) vs the efficiencies of a power plant.
Definitely hook it up to the grid. And put some solar panels on your roof too. Grids can share electricity between different geographical areas but the less energy they have to move, the better. Sometimes there is a surplus of wind energy in one area or a surplus of solar energy that can be sent to another area that has cloud cover or where the sun is already starting to set.

Batteries are for mobile devices and also for supplying energy after the sun has set or the wind has stopped blowing. The disadvantage is conversion losses so they should not be used as the default. It will always be better to consume electricity as it is being generated, without ever going into a battery, when possible.
 


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SpaceYooper

SpaceYooper

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Where would the batteries get their power if there were no power plants?
Fair. Very poorly communicated by me. As I said I hadn't put much thought into this.

I'm just wondering if it would be better. The power to charge the batteries would have to come from somewhere obviously. Let's say it all comes from solar on every house.

I'm not trying to advocate for this or make that case that it's possible.

I'm just wondering if it would be better or not. I genuinely don't know if an all battery world would be more environmentally friendly or not. That's a lot of mining. Is the mining for battery material more environmentally friendly then the mining for coal or drilling for oil, or fracking for natural gas? I guess I doubt the impacts are that much different. The only benefits I see come from the ability to recycle the material in the batteries. Not a minor benefit.

Anyone have advice on good publicly available company to invest in for recycling batteries? I have a self directed IRA looking for a purpose. Was thinking tsla and let it ride for the next 20 yrs, but maybe there would be more growth somewhere else.
 
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Challeco

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My understanding is that peaker plants are the problem child of the energy production world. They are the most expensive to operate, potentially the most polluting, but the balance the grid needs for consumer variations. Battery banks are a perfect alternative for peaker plants. The batteries hold the excesses for use later, have a quicker response time to demand, and act as a line conditioner smoothing power spikes and dips. Having battery banks in every home is possible, but that places the responsibility upon the private owner for their maintenance and replacement. A centralized battery bank would be more reliable, more efficient, and place the burden of maintenance upon a corporate or municipal structure which manages and amortizes the costs across all of the customers, lowering the liability and improving the longevity of the system.
 


Crissa

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Nuclear is limited in its ability to vary for demand. It also take years (decades) to build, and is very expensive per unit.

It's only a solution in the long term, and no one seems interested in having one near them after Fukushima and Chernobyl. Not to mention no one has yet built the waste recycling we've known how to make for the last four decades.

-Crissa
 

firsttruck

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Fair. Very poorly communicated by me. As I said I hadn't put much thought into this.

I'm just wondering if it would be better. The power to charge the batteries would have to come from somewhere obviously. Let's say it all comes from solar on every house.

I'm not trying to advocate for this or make that case that it's possible.
Yes, it is physically possible to have the vast majority of the world's power come from solar panels (grid scale solar farms, solar from home/work/retail building rooftops, parking lot / driveway, sidewalk / roadway canopies), wind turbines (mostly grid scale farms), hydro-electric dams, Geo-thermal and storage in batteries.

The technology is already here and mature enough. We need make investment to scale.
Tesla is an example of it actually happening.

For over 10 years, scientist have been telling us it was possible.
For years, Elon & Tesla has said the same.
For years, Tony Seba & ThinkX has said the same.


I'm just wondering if it would be better or not. I genuinely don't know if an all battery world would be more environmentally friendly or not. That's a lot of mining. Is the mining for battery material more environmentally friendly then the mining for coal or drilling for oil, or fracking for natural gas? I guess I doubt the impacts are that much different. The only benefits I see come from the ability to recycle the material in the batteries. Not a minor benefit.
Yes, it is much better environmentally to power society using the solar panels (grid scale solar farms, solar from home/work/retail building rooftops, parking lot / driveway, sidewalk / roadway canopies), wind turbines (mostly grid scale farms), hydro-electric dams, Geo-thermal and storage in batteries than it is to use fossil fuels.

You have to do mining, drilling, refining, etc to continue to use fossil fuels.
Even if every engine lasted 20 years you continually have to find / mine / drill / refine transport more fuel.
Everyday.
You can never stop.

Liquid fossil fuels will always have small & large spills from drilling, wells, tanks, pipelines, trucks, boats, trains that pollutes drinking water, fresh water, land, ocean.

Gaseous fossil fuels will always have small & large spills from drilling, wells, tanks, pipelines, trucks, boats, trains that pollutes the air.

Even if global climate change was not an issue the air pollution from combustion of fossil fuels would continue to poison human society & other living things on the planet .

Many counties (especially) poorer countries do not have domestic supply of fossil fuels so their economies are drained of funds that could be helping their citizens.
No real independence for them. These countries will also never be allowed to have nuclear plants. Renewables are their only chance.

Over history there have been millions killed & injured in battles to control access to fossil fuel resources.

For over 10 years, scientist have been telling us it was possible and better to move to renewables.

For years, Elon & Tesla has said the same.

For years, Tony Seba & ThinkX has said the same.
 
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jerhenderson

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Nuclear is limited in its ability to vary for demand. It also take years (decades) to build, and is very expensive per unit.

It's only a solution in the long term, and no one seems interested in having one near them after Fukushima and Chernobyl. Not to mention no one has yet built the waste recycling we've known how to make for the last four decades.

-Crissa
yes but build the nuclear nonetheless.... and tie them into a battery grid.
 

firsttruck

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yes but build the nuclear nonetheless.... and tie them into a battery grid.
Why build more nuclear ???

-----------------

US and EU dependence on Russian nuclear services. In 2021, Russia provided US nuclear utilities with 14 percent of their uranium purchases and 28 percent of their enrichment services.
US and EU imports of Russian uranium and enrichment services could stop. Here’s how.
By Dory Castillo-Peters, Frank von Hippel | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
August 5, 2022
https://thebulletin.org/2022/08/us-...n-uranium-and-enrichment-services-could-stop/

-----------------

SWB ( solar wind batteries ) is much cheaper and even if no protests or permit issues for nuclear you can install SWB in much less time than nuclear plant.

Hardly anyone wants a nuclear within 200 miles of where they live / work / vacation.

Almost nobody wants trucks or trains with radioactive material passing though their town.

The wealthy are certainly going to make sure none of the stuff is near them so as usually the poor areas without powerful advocates will get stuck with it just like they are stuck with the other dangerous stuff.

Private insurance industry will not insure so why should taxpayers subsidize.

What real world long-term solution is there to waste from mining, refining and later on the plant spent fuel.

What about all the long-term security costs so someone does not get some material for a dirty bomb?
Even if no huge physical damage from explosion who would buy property in the area afterwards?
Who is going to pay for the drop in values?

Nuclear plants need cooling water. If you place the plant on ocean shore you have to guard against the worst possible tsunami. Even river/lakes can have tsunami type events if a huge hunk of glacier or side of mountain falls off into the body of water (both of these have happened before). If you locate on river/lake shore you have problems of water levels getting too low and overheating the river or lake. This is happening more and more as droughts affect more areas. If it gets colder than normally the plant can have problems too ( See example Texas where both nuclear and fossil fuel plants stopped working during cold spell).

We still find earthquake fault lines that we had not detected earlier. Can't economically just move the plant. Taxpayers get stuck with the bill again.

Many counties (especially) poorer countries do not have domestic supply of fossil fuels so their economies are drained of funds that could be helping their citizens.
No real independence for them. These countries will also never be allowed to have nuclear plants. Renewables are their only chance.

Even data centers are having water problems and they have little risk of blowing up or irradiating the surrounding counties like what is possible with nuclear reactor.


--------------------------------------------------

Microsoft, Meta and others face rising drought risk to their data centers
In just one day, the average data center could use 300,000 gallons of water to cool itself — the same water consumption as 100,000 homes.
Published Nov 15 2022
By Diana Olick
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/15/mic...ising-drought-risk-to-their-data-centers.html

--------------------------------------------------
 

firsttruck

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yes but build the nuclear nonetheless.... and tie them into a battery grid.
Why build more nuclear ???

SWB ( solar wind batteries ) is much cheaper and even if no protests or permit issues for nuclear you can install SWB in much less time than nuclear plant.

------------------

Nuclear Energy Factsheet | Center for Sustainable Systems
University of Michigan (USA)
2021
Pub. No. CSS11-15
https://css.umich.edu/publications/factsheets/energy/nuclear-energy-factsheet

.....
* Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) includes the lifetime costs of building, operating, maintaining, and fueling a power plant.

* Estimated LCOE for new nuclear plants built in the near future are about two times higher than estimates for solar, wind, and combined cycle natural gas plants.

* Final construction costs for U.S. nuclear plants have typically been 2 to 3 times higher than original estimates.

.....
Nuclear Fuel

1% of uranium available at reasonable cost is found in the U.S. The largest deposits are in Australia (28%), Kazakhstan (15%), Canada (9%), and Russia (8%).

U.S. nuclear plants purchased 21,183 mt of uranium in 2021. Fuel was imported mostly from Kazakhstan (35%), Canada (15%), Russia (14%) and Australia (14%).


.....
Nuclear Waste

* The U.S. annually accumulates about 2,000 mt of spent fuel.

* During reactor operation, fission products and transuranics that absorb neutrons accumulate, requiring a third of the fuel to be replaced every 12-18 months. Spent fuel is 95% non-fissile U-238, 3% fission products, 1% fissile U-235, and 1% plutonium.

* Spent fuel is placed in a storage pool of circulating cooled water to absorb heat and block the high radioactivity of fission products.

* Many countries, though not the U.S., reprocess used nuclear fuel. The process reduces waste and extracts 25-30% more energy than non-reprocessed fuel.

* Many U.S. spent fuel pools are reaching capacity, necessitating the use of dry cask storage. Dry casks, large concrete and stainless steel containers, are designed to passively cool radioactive waste and withstand natural disasters or large impacts. In 2011, 27% of spent fuel was held in dry casks, after sufficient cooling in storage pools.

* Ten years after use, the surface of a spent fuel assembly releases 10,000 rem/hr of radiation (in comparison, a dose of 500 rem is lethal to humans if received all at once).14 Managing nuclear waste requires very long-term planning. U.S. EPA was required to set radiation exposure limits in permanent waste storage facilities over an unprecedented timeframe—one million years.

* The U.S. has no permanent storage site. Nevada’s Yucca Mountain was to hold 70,000 mt waste, but is no longer under consideration, mostly due to political pressure and opposition by Nevadans.

* The Nuclear Waste Policy Act required the U.S. federal government to begin taking control of spent nuclear fuel in 1998. When this did not occur, the government became liable for the costs associated with storage at reactor sites.

------------------

 
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