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The future of energy (if any)

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Alan H
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#21 Post by Alan H » June 6th, 2015, 11:40 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Five Surprising Public Health Facts About Fukushima
So what are the real “lessons of Fukushima?” The Fukushima accident did spotlight safety issues, including the need to pay more attention to tsunami records, stash backup generators beyond floodwaters, and install better vents. But its modest consequences should reassure us that the apocalyptic anxieties surrounding nuclear energy are fundamentally off base. The second lesson is that the first lesson isn’t getting through to people. Visceral fears stoked by the release continue to cloud perceptions and shape politics.

What people need, but rarely get, is information that lets them understand the continuum of risk posed by different radiation levels and assess for themselves how acceptable the risks are. Once we do that we can situate nuclear accidents on a familiar spectrum of risk. Radioactive contamination works like other mild toxins — alcohol, car exhaust, trans fat — that we live with every day: a huge dose can kill us; a modest dose poses modest risks; a tiny dose is innocuous.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#22 Post by Dave B » June 7th, 2015, 9:57 am

So, once again, we can lay a lot of blame for scaremongering (totally without later moderation) on most of the media. Thank goodness some parts of it look beyond the headlines, but how many people read such compared to the tabloid type presentations?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#23 Post by Nick » June 7th, 2015, 10:23 am

thundril wrote:Reviewing potential energy savings by radical redesign of entire systems (eg traffic) is surely overdue?
I don't think such a major change is possible, but incrementally, certainly. I wonder how things might progress with driverless vehicles? Convoys of trucks, at optimum speeds. Many billions and much energy to be saved there.

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Dave B
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#24 Post by Dave B » June 7th, 2015, 10:40 am

Nick wrote:
thundril wrote:Reviewing potential energy savings by radical redesign of entire systems (eg traffic) is surely overdue?
I don't think such a major change is possible, but incrementally, certainly. I wonder how things might progress with driverless vehicles? Convoys of trucks, at optimum speeds. Many billions and much energy to be saved there.

There may be other factors involved but there are light controlled junctions round here that seem to hold branching off traffic when there is no obvious reason to do so. That is no pedestrian crossings on green, no merging or crossing traffic etc. So vehicles sit there burning fuel and creating polution.

Strangely when the lights fail at one complex junction near here there is usually less traffic back-up and delay. But the peds get a rough deal then.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

thundril
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#25 Post by thundril » June 7th, 2015, 1:58 pm

Nick wrote:
thundril wrote:Reviewing potential energy savings by radical redesign of entire systems (eg traffic) is surely overdue?
I don't think such a major change is possible, but incrementally, certainly. I wonder how things might progress with driverless vehicles? Convoys of trucks, at optimum speeds. Many billions and much energy to be saved there.

Yes.
Exactly. Imaginative thinking, but based on solid R&D.
Picture our current basic bit of motorway: Three lanes, a hard shoulder, and on and off slipways. Now picture the right-hand lane converted into a mirror-image of the hard-shoulder/sliproads arrangement, with dedicated overhead junctions every 10 or 20 miles leading to 'container-ports' serving major conurbations or industrial estates.. The left-hand lane, with the hard shoulder and the currently existing sliproads, is avasilable for light vehicles, (both driven and driverless), running at some constant speed, with no overtaking or lane-changing allowed, except when using (what is currently) the hard shoulder, for on/off slipway moves, and to bypass breakdowns in the main lane.. Similarly, the (current) middle lane is exclusively for the use of heavy goods vehicles, again with a mix of driven and driverless vehicles. Each of these two lanes runs at a steady specified speed; no overtaking or lane switching is possible. The light vehicles enter and leave the system by the junctions already in existence; the heavy goods vehicles by the right-hand equivalent. The driverless heavy-goods vehicles ply only between and within the 'container-ports'; local drivers pick up and distribute the goods from there.
A system of smaller and larger containers, with dimensions that tesselate well, would require merely a system of smaller and larger flatbed vehicles to collect and deliver these boxes. Less accidents, less congestion, more efficient fuel use. Plus of course the energy saving that derives from the fact that a driverless vehicle doesn't have to stop every two hours for a teabreak. It doesn't get bored. It could run non-stop, at the most energy-efficient steady speed, from Southampton to Inverness.
Then, think about electric driverless taxis.
There is already an app in use in London, and some other places I think, for calling the nearest mini-cab, getting a firm quote for your journey, and making payment over your smart phone on completion of the journey. Of course the London black-cab drivers don't like it. But do London black-cab drivers ever like anything?
Now subtract from the fare the cost and work-time limitations of a human driver. Now subtract the cost in fuel and seating capacity of a human driver.....
As towns get restructured (gradually) to accomodate driverless vehicles, the private owner of such a vehicle could 'hire' her car to a taxi-company while she is at work. So the car pays for itself. It's a short step from there to realising that you are better off not owning a car at all.
This would not in itself reduce the number of vehicles on the road, but it would, longer term, reduce the amount of industrial work needed to maintain the global car-fleet.
Here are the main factors that (I think) would effect that.
First; look at the way cars are advertised. It is clear from these adverts that a car is, for the owner, not a mere form of transport, but a garment that is worn in public: "Look at me; this is the image I want to present to the world; this is what I want you to think of me." Thus many people feel a need to trade in a perfectly sound vehicle every couple of years.

A taxi has no such function. London black cabs, NY yellow cars, Indian tuk-tuks. With respect to appearance (image) the requirement is to be ikmmediately recognisable as a taxi; ie in any town a taxi needs to look like any other taxi.
Look at the cars used by minhicab drivers in your nearest town. (If you are thinking of buying second hand, this is a useful tip, to learn which models have proved most reliable in recent years. ) A mini-cab needs to be robust, reliable, capable of being worked long hours day after day with little wear and tear damage. Seatbelts, door handles, everything needs to be built to last. Nothing needs to be fancy or fashionable. Once built, a good taxi should not need to be replaced for many years.
This robust design, if applied in the current private-car market, puts manufacturers in fear of going out of business. They rely very strongly on the hope of selling a newer better model to the same user or fleet operator every two or three years. But in the case of the driverless electric taxi, no such consideration should trouble the manufacturer, because at the moment there are very few driverless electric cars in the whole world. If manufacturers started to build such vehicles with (say) a thirty year design life, the replacement cycle would probably start at around the time the initial demand dried up (ie when most cities in the world are supplied with fleets of these vehicles).
This is where the real energy saving would come in; the manufacture and repair of private cars currently consumes an amount of energy roughly comparable to the amount of fuel those cars use during their lifetimes. (This is from memory. I'll try to find the source of this statistic later.)

And there would be a bonus; all that in-town parking space freed up for homes and other developments.
A because 'your' car doesn't have to sit around in the street all day, waiting to take you home.
B because driverless cars can park much closer together. The occupants disembark and unload their luggage where there is convenient room to do so; the car then parks itself in the nearst designated driverless carpark; they can be tightly packed right next to each other because there is no need for door-opening space between them (and also because they are capable of very precise close-quarter manoevres!).
With taxis, a further space-advantage is that a user does not need to extract a particular car from a specific place in the car-park; the nearest sufficiently-charged vehicle will do the job..

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Altfish
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#26 Post by Altfish » June 7th, 2015, 4:08 pm

Nick wrote:
thundril wrote:Reviewing potential energy savings by radical redesign of entire systems (eg traffic) is surely overdue?
I don't think such a major change is possible, but incrementally, certainly. I wonder how things might progress with driverless vehicles? Convoys of trucks, at optimum speeds. Many billions and much energy to be saved there.

They are called trains, the Tories and Beeching closed most of them down in the 60s.

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Alan H
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#27 Post by Alan H » June 7th, 2015, 5:21 pm

Altfish wrote:
Nick wrote:
thundril wrote:Reviewing potential energy savings by radical redesign of entire systems (eg traffic) is surely overdue?
I don't think such a major change is possible, but incrementally, certainly. I wonder how things might progress with driverless vehicles? Convoys of trucks, at optimum speeds. Many billions and much energy to be saved there.

They are called trains, the Tories and Beeching closed most of them down in the 60s.
+1 million
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Dave B
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#28 Post by Dave B » June 7th, 2015, 8:50 pm

And 1
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

thundril
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#29 Post by thundril » June 8th, 2015, 11:40 am

Yes, building or reopening some lines specifically for freight might be a good idea too.

Nick
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#30 Post by Nick » June 9th, 2015, 9:20 am

Altfish wrote:They are called trains, the Tories and Beeching closed most of them down in the 60s.
Err, no. It was the (still nationalised railways ) under the Labour Government of Harold Wilson which carried out the Beeching closures.

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Altfish
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#31 Post by Altfish » June 9th, 2015, 10:08 am

Nick wrote:
Altfish wrote:They are called trains, the Tories and Beeching closed most of them down in the 60s.
Err, no. It was the (still nationalised railways ) under the Labour Government of Harold Wilson which carried out the Beeching closures.

The Beeching Report, "The Reshaping of British Railways" was published on 27 March 1963 and had been commissioned by the Tories
The Tories were in power until October 1964.
Rail closures 'peaked' in 1964.

I will accept that Labour had the opportunity to reverse some of the cuts and re-open some lines but you are trying to rewrite history Nick

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Alan H
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#32 Post by Alan H » June 9th, 2015, 10:12 am

Nick wrote:(still nationalised railways )
Er, no, Nick.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: The future of energy (if any)

#33 Post by Nick » June 9th, 2015, 10:23 am

Altfish wrote:
Nick wrote:
Altfish wrote:They are called trains, the Tories and Beeching closed most of them down in the 60s.
Err, no. It was the (still nationalised railways ) under the Labour Government of Harold Wilson which carried out the Beeching closures.

The Beeching Report, "The Reshaping of British Railways" was published on 27 March 1963 and had been commissioned by the Tories
The Tories were in power until October 1964.
Rail closures 'peaked' in 1964.
...but more miles were closed under Wilson than under the Tories. The lines were closed because they were losing huge amounts of money, not because of the shade of government.

Nick
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#34 Post by Nick » June 9th, 2015, 10:24 am

Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:(still nationalised railways )
Er, no, Nick.
Huh? So they were in private hands in the 1960's? No, Alan, they were nationalised.

Nick
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#35 Post by Nick » June 9th, 2015, 10:41 am

Back to more sensible discussion. I think there is going to be a lot of change along the lines that Thundril outlines, but I don't think the life of new vehicles will be as long as he hopes. And even if motor manufacturers will suffer a drop in demand for new cars (which I think the will), competition will still ensure driverless cars will come. I wonder how they will cope with litter (and worse) left in cars.... Hmmm...

One aspect of the changes which will have a large effect on motor manufacturing is that (if one can whistle up a driverless car in a couple of minutes) a lot of differentiation in cars will become far less relevant. If you speed is pre-determined by the operation of the system, there's not much point in having acceleration you can't actually use it. Similarly, in the same way that it is no shame to travel in a black cab, the added "luxuries" eg leather seats, alloy wheels, disc brakes and all the stuff used to achieve one-upmanship in the car park will be far less relevant.

Still, I think many people won't want to share vehicles with others. Fear of smells and diseases and stuff. And using a car as a storage unit while having a day out with the family. But urban areas and shorter distance commuting could be transformed.

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Alan H
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#36 Post by Alan H » June 9th, 2015, 10:59 am

Nick wrote:
Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:(still nationalised railways )
Er, no, Nick.
Huh? So they were in private hands in the 1960's? No, Alan, they were nationalised.
I looked to me as if you were referring to now, not then.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

thundril
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#37 Post by thundril » June 9th, 2015, 11:18 am

Nick wrote:Back to more sensible discussion. I think there is going to be a lot of change along the lines that Thundril outlines, but I don't think the life of new vehicles will be as long as he hopes. And even if motor manufacturers will suffer a drop in demand for new cars (which I think the will), competition will still ensure driverless cars will come. I wonder how they will cope with litter (and worse) left in cars.... Hmmm...
The system would have the hirer's account details, from the initial call. So if a pasenger leaves anything on the seat, the system can remind you. The required sensitivity is already feasible; we are already familiar with the annoying 'Unexpected item in the (passenger seat??)'

One aspect of the changes which will have a large effect on motor manufacturing is that (if one can whistle up a driverless car in a couple of minutes) a lot of differentiation in cars will become far less relevant. If you speed is pre-determined by the operation of the system, there's not much point in having acceleration you can't actually use it. Similarly, in the same way that it is no shame to travel in a black cab, the added "luxuries" eg leather seats, alloy wheels, disc brakes and all the stuff used to achieve one-upmanship in the car park will be far less relevant.
OTOH, if your smartphone app lets you specify requirements, (how many adults, children, wheelchair access, child-seat, bike rack??? how much luggage etc) there is a market for a much wider range of vehicle sizes and configurations to be engaged as cabs, possibly 'chartered' from owners on a time-to-time basis..
Still, I think many people won't want to share vehicles with others. Fear of smells and diseases and stuff. And using a car as a storage unit while having a day out with the family.
All very true; but I suspect eventually the availability of the kind of car you want at any given moment will outweigh the moderate advantages versus greater cost and inflexibility of owning your own car. And it will probably be quite economical to hire a driverless car for a whole day or a week, when required.
But urban areas and shorter distance commuting could be transformed.
True.

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Altfish
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#38 Post by Altfish » June 9th, 2015, 11:21 am

Nick wrote:...but more miles were closed under Wilson than under the Tories. The lines were closed because they were losing huge amounts of money, not because of the shade of government.

Most of the closures were already committed, i.e. notices served, bus replacements organised, etc etc - as I said earlier the Labour Government could have done more to reverse but the Tory government had committed to implementation of the Beeching report (unless it was in a marginal constituency)

They are costing more today under privatisation.

I will say that the current Tory government does seem to be pro-rail, certainly more so that the Blair/Brown government but unfortunately the botched privatisation under major (even Thatcher steered away from it) has left many, many problems

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Altfish
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#39 Post by Altfish » June 9th, 2015, 11:22 am

Nick wrote:Back to more sensible discussion.

Are you accusing my discussions of not being sensible :wink:

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Alan H
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Re: The future of energy (if any)

#40 Post by Alan H » June 9th, 2015, 10:28 pm

Swansea Bay's £1bn tidal lagoon given go-ahead
The building of a £1bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay has been given the go-ahead by the UK government.

Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) says it will now negotiate how much subsidy will be paid for the energy.

That is still a big hurdle for TLP, which want five other lagoons on the west UK coast to harness power, and needs a guaranteed price for it.

There are also concerns about the impact on the environment and migratory fish.

The backing by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is seen as a significant step forward for the developers.

Energy Minister Lord Bourne, who is also Wales Office Minister, said: "We need more clean and home-grown sources of energy, which will help to reduce our reliance on foreign fossil fuels.

"Low carbon energy projects like the tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay could bring investment, support local jobs and help contribute to the Welsh economy and Swansea area."
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: The future of energy (if any)

#41 Post by Nick » June 11th, 2015, 7:39 pm

Altfish wrote:
Nick wrote:...but more miles were closed under Wilson than under the Tories. The lines were closed because they were losing huge amounts of money, not because of the shade of government.

Most of the closures were already committed, i.e. notices served, bus replacements organised, etc etc - as I said earlier the Labour Government could have done more to reverse but the Tory government had committed to implementation of the Beeching report (unless it was in a marginal constituency)


They are costing more today under privatisation.
Oh? Alternatively, the number of rail-miles has been transformed. Generalisations are always problematical....

I will say that the current Tory government does seem to be pro-rail, certainly more so that the Blair/Brown government but unfortunately the botched privatisation under major (even Thatcher steered away from it) has left many, many problems
So maybe railways aren't such a party political subject after all. :wink:

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