A Modest Proposal for Generating the Nation's Power

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A Modest Proposal for Generating the Nation's Power

Post by spot »

The problem with solar power is two-fold, the lack of storage between sunny days and the lack of available sites to locate solar farms.

The French, I think, are reported to have piloted a trial of surfacing roads with solar panel material in a sufficiently skid-proof and toughened substrate. We could see where that might take us.

By my calculations, this nation averages from North to South sufficient sunlight to bring in 2.3 kWh/day/sq.m across the entire year, with practically none of that during the least sunny 4 months. If the summer excess is fed as generated methane into the old North Sea gas fields and then extracted during the winter to regenerate electricity then the storage problem is sorted. If we allocate 10% for wastage in that cycle we can rely on the remainder for the National Grid.

So, to match the current need for 400 TWh/year, I think we might have to resurface a mere 10% (25,000km) of the national roads, choosing from those which are rural and with a usable minimum 30m width across all carriageways. No land at all need be set aside, it's already allocated, owned by the nation and in need of constant resurfacing anyway. The National Grid is always close enough to the major transport arteries to transport the harvested power to storage units.

One would imagine that using this form of solar paneling in such volume would reduce the cost to an affordable rate and no doubt save on all that nasty tar demand Mr Macadam bequeathed to us.
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Post by Snowfire »

What about putting them in the sea ? Floating panels.

Any road can only be efficient when it's not busy with traffic. The M25 would be in permanent shade for much of the day, as would most roads within its confines.

If we are to have road panels, maybe there is a way of vehicles "picking up" energy as they drive to power electric motors, along with any information they might need to be "driverless"
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A Modest Proposal for Generating the Nation's Power

Post by Snowfire »

The world's first solar road has opened in France - ScienceAlert



The Wattway is projected to produce 280 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy annually, with an estimated electrical output of 767 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day.
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That's the one - I didn't have a link to hand, but it shows it's being looked at. I was interested in extrapolating the figures and seeing how much of the nation's demand it could supply. There's around 250,000 miles of adopted road in the UK ranging from 1 lane wide (the Devon Standard A-Road) to 17.

Tailgating is, I had thought, something the British public had been inoculated against decades since. On these roads with a minimum 30 metre width I'd expect at least 80% of the road surface to be visible unless there's a delay. Rural British roads are very rarely subject to delays? I speak from ignorance, that's just a guess. One can exclude the M25 as a special case and not panel it.

As for picking up power, traffic and steering information from the road itself, that sounds excellent. Perhaps we could make the power and information free at the point of delivery and get away from this nonsense of paying for essentials.
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Post by Wandrin »

I would still like to see a lot more research on using wave power to generate electricity. I would think that the UK would be a great location for this with the power of north Atlantic waves day and night. For California, I would like to see wave powered generation combined with desalination at the end of the piers. I don't think enough research has yet been done on this method.
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

Wandrin;1504649 wrote: I would still like to see a lot more research on using wave power to generate electricity. I would think that the UK would be a great location for this with the power of north Atlantic waves day and night. For California, I would like to see wave powered generation combined with desalination at the end of the piers. I don't think enough research has yet been done on this method.


Tidal power with a barrage across some of the major estuaries?
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Post by Wandrin »

Bryn Mawr;1504664 wrote: Tidal power with a barrage across some of the major estuaries?


I'm not sure I understand the question. Perhaps you have a different definition of "barrage" there?

I was thinking of a pier going out a mile or two to where the heavy wave action is and having the mechanism under water. It would have no impact on estuaries, as far as I know.
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There's two sorts of tidal power generation. There's the submerged buoy which goes up and down in ellipses pumping an arm to a generator and you can have a lot of those and the more wavy it gets the more power you can extract. Then there's the barrage, where you trap all the incoming water into an estuary using the incoming tide to drive turbine generators, and then let the outgoing tide out through turbine generators and get double your money. The UK, Nova Scotia and Japan are good for those because they get up to 30 foot tides.
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

Wandrin;1504666 wrote: I'm not sure I understand the question. Perhaps you have a different definition of "barrage" there?

I was thinking of a pier going out a mile or two to where the heavy wave action is and having the mechanism under water. It would have no impact on estuaries, as far as I know.


The question was what do you think of the suggestion :-)
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Post by Bruv »

Bryn Mawr;1504671 wrote: The question was what do you think of the suggestion :-)


Wandrin thinks barrage is something to do with gunfire.
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If I were going to lay one I'd start with an artillery company, so that's two of us.
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spot;1504667 wrote: There's two sorts of tidal power generation. There's the submerged buoy which goes up and down in ellipses pumping an arm to a generator and you can have a lot of those and the more wavy it gets the more power you can extract. Then there's the barrage, where you trap all the incoming water into an estuary using the incoming tide to drive turbine generators, and then let the outgoing tide out through turbine generators and get double your money. The UK, Nova Scotia and Japan are good for those because they get up to 30 foot tides.


Thanks for explaining that, spot.

Bryn Mawr;1504671 wrote: The question was what do you think of the suggestion :-)


It sounds like an effective method. You'd have to pick the estuaries wisely to avoid disturbing fish and wild bird populations, but a good idea.
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Post by Wandrin »

Bruv;1504678 wrote: Wandrin thinks barrage is something to do with gunfire.


I did, yes, and was glad when it was explained to me.
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

Bruv;1504678 wrote: Wandrin thinks barrage is something to do with gunfire.


How very odd - I thought it was a well known concept :-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_barrage
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Post by spot »

I was taught Geography by a former Captain of a World War One artillery company and he never mentioned army service once in my hearing.
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

spot;1504683 wrote: I was taught Geography by a former Captain of a World War One artillery company and he never mentioned army service once in my hearing.


but no doubt provided a barrage of information about geography :-)
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He had rubber stamp rollers the size of exercise book pages with maps of countries and continents and it took him two minutes to run a copy into everyone's homework book. Very efficient, that.
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Wandrin;1504680 wrote: You'd have to pick the estuaries wisely to avoid disturbing fish and wild bird populations, but a good idea.


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Post by Bryn Mawr »

Wandrin;1504680 wrote: Thanks for explaining that, spot.



It sounds like an effective method. You'd have to pick the estuaries wisely to avoid disturbing fish and wild bird populations, but a good idea.


That's why the Severn Barrage keeps getting knocked back - the eco-warriors are worried that it would disturb the salt flats and their inhabitants.
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What they call round Wandrin's part of the world "da boids"
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spot;1504690 wrote: What they call round Wandrin's part of the world "da boids"


Wrong coast. That accent is specific to New York and New Jersey. I'm a few thousand miles away on the mellow coast.
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You can't fool me, I once saw an episode of The Sopranos and that was set in California.
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Post by Clodhopper »

If I've remembered right, the mudflats in the Severn Estuary feed tens of thousands of waders and are ecologically important. The project which has (so I've heard) been a success round there is the Lundy Island no take zone which boosts the size and number of fish, crab and lobsters the local fishermen take outside the zone. Would be worth trying elsewhere but no-one seems interested :(
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