Suggestions of solutions to energy-sustainability

TheCpaptain
By TheCpaptain on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 - 8:53am

I will keep my suggestions extremely brief, as I hope to explore them deeper via discussion.

Energy solution for society: Thorium-based nuclear energy

It seems as if it is possible to make nuclear reactors that give a lot of (surplus) energy, are passively safe in construction (you have to struggle to keep it going, rather than struggling to prevent it from blowing up), can be driven by a common resource (thorium) and that have low risk of proliferation.

Basically, it would provide us with an alternative energy source that is: clean, safe (both in operation and from weaponsproduction) and cheap.

Sustainability for the private person: Sustainable construction (for example an Earthship)

Our physical needs can be provided by clever design of our homes using today's technology. An example of such design is the Earthship. It can provide food, water, shelter, heat, sewage treatment and electricity, all off-grid. Basically all we need at private/family scale can be provided at such a scale. Something that needs to be adressed though, is how it will function in a society with as many people as we have today. We need a similar smart-design-solution for our cities, as there might not be enough space for everyone to live in an Earthship.

 

I hope we can discuss these questions, and find advantages/disadvantages with them. I'm looking forward to your comments/questions. Please ask me about the concepts, if you want to know more about them. It will give me a chance to learn more about them as well.

 

More information

Thorium reactor

Written information: 

http://energyfromthorium.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_fluoride_thorium_reactor

Youtube:

Short: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_fluoride_thorium_reactor

Long: 

Earthship

Written information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthship

http://earthship.com/

Youtube:

Short: 

Long: 

3 Comments

MyBackAchers's picture
MyBackAchers
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: May 27 2013
Posts: 26
Why not

In the 1980s, TI made a calculator with a radioactive material battery. The one I have still has life. You can find the calculator on eBay today with the original battery.

iF thorium is abundant-then wouldn't it be better to give the world a portable constant low cost form of energy, rather than create a new centralized source?

silvervarg's picture
silvervarg
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 28 2010
Posts: 57
Re: Why not thorium battery

The power draw of a seldom used calculator is really low. To have it running for centuries what you need is a true power off (like a physical power switch) and a battery that does not leak its charge over time.

Or you could even get away with a tiny solar cell and a super capacitor and not need a battery at all.

The option to put in a radioactive source would not be my top choice.

For large scale power generation thorium does seem like one of the best options. Just that thorium is available in large quantities so we will not run out in the foreseeable future is one good point.

Another interesting option is to run nuclear generators with molten lead as the cooling liquid (what water is used today). Main advantage is that it will be safe. No pumps needed, cooling flow will happen automatically with heat difference, so no risk of a runnaway. Something like Fukushima could never happen.
The downside is that it will take a lot of external energy input to start up the generator, but that is likely something you do once per year. 

 

MyBackAchers's picture
MyBackAchers
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: May 27 2013
Posts: 26
Battery

Right Silvervarg- the calc battery was made from material that had a 12.5yr half-life so it had some available power for close to 30 years. Thorium  half life is 220+ years so available power should be around 440-550 years, which is where it becomes cost effective. 

And you are also correct in that a calculator doesn't burn much power up but stratigically use of power would be happening soon enough anyway. With a thorium powered car, you would drive it and then plug it in to your work or house when you arrived. 

The biggest obstical I see for the present is the cost to upfront buy the car and life-time power source . . . Which would last you a couple lifetimes of energy (if power consumption per capita does not increase).

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