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Nick Lyons
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@E-P: Agree--nuclear baseload running full steam 24/7 (MSR) with molten salt thermal storage of night-time production could make for very economical electricity. The article is about home battery storage, something that is good for emergency backup but is probably an overly-expensive way to store grid surplus.
Makes sense--consider: 1. Carbon emissions from battery manufacture, shipping, installation, eventual disposal. These things are not required for a house to have power--they are additional infrastructure with their own carbon footprint. 2. As the study notes, existing monetary incentives for grid demand usage are not aligned with lowered-CO2 goals. If cheap, late night base load comes from coal, demand time-shifting is not desirable from a CO2 perspective. As others have noted, if base load is nuclear, the equation becomes more favorable.
Burning an existing carbon sink NOW, when it is critical to reduce carbon emissions, while promising to pull the carbon out by regrowing a forest LATER is a loser for the climate. Pure greenwashing. Per EP: nuclear is cleaner, safer, better in every way.
Striking that there is no mention of nuclear power, which has a very small environmental footprint.
@EP: Synthetic gasoline (or other liquid fuels) is a thing--you could make it with clean energy (nuclear, hydro, solar...). Liquid fuels have great advantages in density, storage, and being useable by the existing fleet.
Used vehicles are eligible--up to 8 years old with no more than 75K miles.
@SJC: Agree DME is a great practical option for trucks/heavy equipment. Natural gas -> methanol -> DME is probably more likely than converting coal.
Seems like it would be good for plugin hybrid duty cycles, during which engine may do multiple cold starts.
@Lad: Seems to me that diesel/JP8 is a lot more practical: energy dense and transportable--no high pressure or cryogenic liquefaction required. It also does not require any new infrastructure.
Meaningful comparisons would be between Tesla S/X and Mercedes S/GS or BMW 5/X5. Use comparable classes of vehicle, classes of drivers in the same region, then you might get some useful data.
@SJC: I assume gasification of the waste converts a higher percentage to useful product than does the process of bacteria eating part of the waste and emitting methane. It would seem one of the big benefits of this is to reduce the solid waste stream going to landfills. It would be interesting to see a comparison.
NuScale SMR innovates on existing PWR tech, hopefully making NPPs something we can build again. Terrestrial Energy (SMR/MSR) promises all the benefits of NuScale with lower operating costs, higher efficiency, more flexibility (much higher heat for industrial uses). I wish them both well--both could have pilot plants running in Idaho within the next decade.
@SJC: I'm with you--much more productive use than anti-tank munitions. A fleet of fast reactors fueled with DU and spent LW reactor fuel could run for decades without putting a mining shovel in the ground.
n markets with very low-carbon electricity, such as Norway or France, electric vehicles produce less than a third of the life-cycle emissions of an average combustion-engine vehicle. Norway = hydro electricity France = nuclear electricity This is key: massive, energy-dense, low-carbon electricity generators.
JMartin: Heat engines (including thermal power plants) generate heat, yes. However, the amount of heat added to the environment directly is trivial compared to the constant, increased solar heating enabled by the greenhouse gases emitted by burning fossil fuels. This increased solar heating continues indefinitely once the fuel is burned and the GHGs are emitted.
Looks like a winner to me: low NOx, so simpler emissions control; great part-load efficiency, which is where cars spend almost all their running time. It should make for a very economical highway cruiser (my personal use case).
Chevy Bolt looks like an urban runabout, but has 238 miles of range. Honda Clarity electric looks like a road-trip cruiser and has an 89 mile range. Who is the customer for this Honda?
Nuclear power may not be 'renewable', in that it uses uranium (and thorium, potentially) fuel. However, supplies of these fuels are so vast that it hardly matters. We can economically extract uranium from seawater, for instance, by raising the kWhr cost of electricity by a fraction of a cent. Supplies become essentially infinite, on human time scales. Thorium is even more abundant. Nuclear fission is the cheap, green solution. This was understood 50 years ago. Why has the nuclear power industry languished? Ask yourself, who wins and who loses?
Replace the solar panels with an SMR nuclear plant to provide a much higher capacity and compact source of heat and electricity, then you've got something
@HarveyD: Terrestrial Energy is an Ontario-based startup developing the IMSR (Integral Molten Salt Reactor), which scales down well into SMR size. I would expect them to be very interested in submitting an application.
Sounds promising. I will be interested to hear about durability testing, and (probably more important) cost and scalability of manufacture. Can these things be made easily/cheaply, potentially?
Based on my experience driving on icy roads in Alaska, I would want an override function to lock in AWD when needed. I will willingly trade that 4% fuel economy bump for those critical 300ms when I hit the black ice.
Level 3 autonomy (driver must take over at any moment) is a total non-starter, IMHO. Level 4 (complete autonomy on designated routes) is doable, since the driven environment is known and controlled. That's the one I expect we will see implemented over the next decade.
Well, $1,300 CA is about $970 US, so no quite so expensive on this side of the border...
What sd said. Aside from meteor strike, there is no credible way to cause these units to melt down. One of the big benefits of SMRs is that they promise to reduce the financial risk of building a nuclear plant. Less $$ to finance, shorter construction times, incremental plant ramp up, factory mass production, less risk all around. The benefits really kick in with the nth-of-a-kind project, when everything has become cookbook and efficient mass production has kicked in.