Energy Fundamentals Intro & Summary

Energy Fundamentals Intro & Summary

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Description: Slideshow type lecture presentation that summarizes our ENERGY FUNDAMENTALS and MORE ENERGY FUNDAMENTALS papers. Attempts to correct the mesmerizingly awful misinformation and outrageous errors involved in popular misconceptions of alternate (and conventional) energy solutions today.

Author: Don Lancaster (Fellow) | Visits: 3239 | Page Views: 3278
Domain:  Green Tech Category: Photovoltaics/Solar Subcategory: Fundamentals 
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An Energy Fundamentals Intro and Summary

By Don Lancaster and Synergetics

True or False? (I)

Gasoline has less hydrogen in it than liquid

hydrogen does.
Fuel car cars are "much more efficient" than

regular ones.
Silicon pv panels are a net energy source. On-board car electrolysis dramatically improves

fuel economy.
Exergy is not important because you have never

heard of it.
Corn is an excellent ethanol feedstock. Grid, wind, pv or alternators are all very good

hydrogen electrolysis sources.

True or False? (II)

Amortization dollars and kilowatt hours of

electrical production are unrelated.
An electrical kilowatt hour will have the same

quality and value as a hydrogen one.
"Brown's Gas" is a revolutionary new technology

being suppressed by the oil companies.
There are no economics of scale to pv solar

energy; small and personal is better.
Since energy cannot be created or destroyed, its

quality always remains constant.
Compact fluorescent lamps are always more

efficient than incandescent ones.

True or False? (III)

The main purpose of pv panels is to go offgrid. Alternate energy subsidies have proven to be

extremely cost effective.
"Temperature" measures the quantity of heat

Energy density by weight is the most important

criteria for automotive apps.
Terrestrial hydrogen is an energy source.


( ALL of the above statements are outright lies! )

Some People...

...will do ANYTHING to save the environment.

Some People...

...will do ANYTHING to save the environment.

... EXCEPT take a science course!

Work and Energy...

WORK happens when a FORCE moves through a

Work is sometimes measured in FOOT POUNDS. ENERGY is the ability to do work. Energy is sometimes measured in BTU's of heat,

as Joules (or wattseconds) or as watthours of electricity.
POWER is the TIME RATE of energy use. Energy measures "how much". Power measures

"how fast".

BTU's and Kilowatt Hours...


energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Or roughly the energy in one kitchen match. A BTU equals 777 foot pounds of work. This

A KILOWATT HOUR is 3,600,000 Joules. Or use

of a 100 watt light bulb for ten hours. Or an average week's use of a microwave oven. Or running up stairs continuously for five hours.
Or about TEN CENTS worth of electricity.

Some Temperature Basics...

BTU's measure the QUANTITY of heat energy. Temperature measures heat energy QUALITY. Efficiency DEMANDS high quality energy. TEMPERATURE SCALES differ in their values for

absolute zero, freezing, and boiling... FAHRENHEIT ( -459, 32, 212 degrees ) RANKIN ( 0, 491, 691 degrees ) CELSIUS ( -273, 0, 100 degrees ) KELVIN ( 0, 273, 373 degrees )
RANKIN or KELVIN has to be used for heat

engine efficiency calculations.

An energy delivery system...

...usually has three major costs... The cost of the FEEDSTOCK. The cost of the DELIVERY SYSTEM. The cost of the AMORTIZATION.

Typically, delivery and amortization costs will

totally dominate. Often making a "free" energy feedstock source noncompetitive.


Amortization is the timed payment of earlier

financed value. Here is a calculator.
For instance, $10,000 at 9 percent for 8 years

amortizes at $146.50 per month.
Paying cash in advance makes no difference

because of the excluded opportunity costs.
Having value left when payments are completed

is simply accelerated depreciation.
There are no differences between institutional

financing, personal savings, or hobbies.

Easily confused are...

ENERGY SOURCES - A substance or process

( such as gasoline ) that can add fully burdened net new BTU's of energy to the economy.
ENERGY CARRIERS - A substance or process

( such as hydrogen ) that has to be "filled" with old net energy before it can deliver.
Without exception, ALL energy carriers will

consume more old energy than they return.
ENERGY SINKS - A substance or process ( such

as today's pv or corn ethanol ) that uses much more net old energy than it delivers.

Thermodynamics tells us...

...that any economy will be ultimately driven

by its net energy inputs.
Obviously, no energy = no economy.

DOLLAR - A voucher exchangeable for the

the personal use and control of 10 electrical kilowatt hours or 30 gasoline kilowatt hours.

equate currently dimes and kilowatt hours as being interchangeable and fungible.
You can keep score either way.

Gasoline versus dollars...

It can be useful to think of "spending dollars"

as "spending gasoline".
A solar panel that amortizes three cents a day

but generates only two is a net energy sink.
Taken in their totality, all pv solar panels to

date are a large net energy sink.
An energy sink that will get worse as new

dollars are thrown at emerging technologies.
Thus, not one net watthour of conventional

silicon pv energy has ever been produced.
Proof of this is that not one power utility is

yet using pv for routine peaking.

The Magic Switch...

There is a two position power switch on

most any pv panel to date...
In position "a", you destroy a lot of gasoline. In position "b", you destroy even more. All the incoming solar energy does is reduce

your loses.
Taken in their totality, all pv solar panels to

date are a large net energy sink.

Two Ways to Measure Energy Density...

GRAVIMETRIC energy density asks "How heavy?" Gravimetric energy density can be

measured in watthours per kilogram.

VOLUMETRIC energy density asks "How big?" volumetric energy density can be

measured in watthours per liter.

Gasoline LNG Propane Ethanol Liquid H2 150 Bar H2 Lithium Flywheel Liquid N2 Lead Acid Compr Air STP H2 9000 Wh/l 7216 Wh/l 6600 Wh/l 6100 WH/l 2600 Wh/l 405 WH/l 250 Wh/l 210 Wh/l 65 Wh/l 40 Wh/l 17 Wh/l 2.7 Wh/l 13,500 Wh/Kg 12,100 Wh/Kg 13,900 Wh/Kg 7,850 Wh/Kg 39,000* Wh/Kg 39,000* Wh/Kg 350 Wh/Kg 120 Wh/Kg 55 Wh/Kg 25 Wh/Kg 34 Wh/Kg 39,000* Wh/Kg
* = uncontained

Which Density is Important?

FOR DEEP SPACE, gravimetric energy density

can be crucial because of specific impulse.
For AUTO and terrestrial aps, volumetric

energy density overwhelmingly dominates.
Tripling the gravimetric energy density of

gasoline saves about 26 pounds of weight. Which might be nice, but is no big deal.
You always have to consider the CONTAINED

gravimetric energy density. No means of storing hydrogen is know that is remotely as dense by weight as contained gasoline.

Why Gasoline?...

Gasoline ( and diesel ) have exceptional

energy density combined with low cost and acceptable standards of safety and delivery.
Any alternative solution MUST seek parity

somewhere near 9000 watthours per liter.
Like it or not, gasoline is likely to remain

the de facto standard of energy density comparison for the foreseeable future.
The best of lithium batteries are 36 TIMES

larger than gasoline. Standard lead acid batteries are 200 times larger AND heavier.

Why not Ethanol?...

Ethanol is a water-loving polar solvent and

thus a very poor choice for a fuel.
Ethanol from corn is horribly energy inefficient

and can easily become a net energy sink.
A case can be made that corn ethanol is an

outrageous 15 billion dollar vote buying scam of zero technical or environmental merit.
Switchgrass or Bagasse (sugar cane residue)

may have potential as ethanol feedstocks.
Ethanol fires resist many firefighting foams.

Why Not Hydrogen?...
Hydrogen is ONLY an energy carrier. You have

to fill it with old energy before you can use it.
There is more hydrogen in a gallon of gasoline

than there is in a gallon of liquid hydrogen.
The CONTAINED energy density of hydrogen by

weight is much LESS than gasoline. Energy density by volume is a 3000:1 ludicrous joke.
No vehicle practical means of increasing

hydrogen density is known. Liquid hydrogen raises major efficiency and safety issues.
The explosive range of hydrogen is among the

widest known. It is ignitable with extremely low spark energy and burns invisibly.


Efficiency is a measure of how much energy you

get back for a net energy input.
Efficiency can be measured several ways... RAW EFFICIENCY -- strict energy output

versus energy input as measured in a lab.
FULLY BURDENED -- the efficiency

after amortization and direct costs.
SOCIETAL -- the efficiency after

allowing for all hidden factors.
"Efficacy" is a more correct term when input

and output energy forms are different.

Secrets of Thermodynamics...

There ain't no free lunch.

You cannot win.

You cannot break even.

Everything eventually goes to

hell in a handbasket.

Or, more formally...

Energy normally flows from hot to cold. You have to input much more heat energy

to a heat engine than you recover as work.
The best you can possibly do is the CARNOT

LIMIT set by the absolute temperature ratio. Specifically: (Th - Tl)/Th. Or (Delta T)/Th.
Good thermodynamics is REVERSIBLE. Meaning

that it works equally well in either direction.
An ADIABATIC reversible process kicks off or

accepts no external heat energy.
An ISOTHERMAL reversible process takes place

at constant temperature.

Beware the Mantra...

"Energy can neither be created nor destroyed" is a true but woefully misleading statement.

Because the QUALITY and FOCUS of energy will

decline with each and every use. You have a three legged stool consisting of...
ENERGY - which is the capability of

doing work.
ENTROPY - which is a statistical measure of

the disorder of the present energy form.
EXERGY - which is an economic measure of

the quality of the present energy form.

Understanding Exergy...

Exergy is a measure of the QUALITY and UTILITY of energy in its present form.

Specifically, exergy measures the recoverable

and reversible energy fraction remaining.
To measure exergy, you convert energy to some

other form, convert it back, and see how much you have left.
Loss of exergy is destructive and permanent. It

can be similar to 1:1 exchanging US Dollars for Mexican Pesos.

Avoiding value destruction...

Electricity is just about the highest exergy

stuff there is.
The exergy in gasoline can be around one-third

that of electricity. Because it is hard to build a gasoline generator above 33 percent efficiency.
Electrical resistance room heat is an example of

terribly wasted exergy. Natural gas or heat pumps are often 3X to 5X less destructive.
Electrolysis from high value electrical sources

( grid, wind, pv, or alternator ) for hydrogen makes no thermodynamic or economic sense.

A key point being that...

The irreversible destruction of exergy through electrolysis is ludicrous.

There ALWAYS will be more intelligent things

to do with the electricity.

Other Problems with Electrolysis Fantasies...

A switchmode voltage-to-current controller is

demanded for efficiency.
Stainless steel is unusable for electrodes because

of the hydrogen overvoltage of iron. Costly and often renewed platinized platinum is needed.
It is trivially easy to UNDER MEASURE pulse

waveforms. Specialized tests are demanded.
A large body of pseudoscience "electrocity"

ignores Faraday's laws. There is no "water powered car".
Safety and embrittlement issues are extreme.

Why in-vehicle electrolysis doesn't work...

The primary product produced is low grade

heat, forming a DYNAMIC BRAKE that stops the vehicle in less than normal coasting distance.
Standard automotive alternator efficiency is

very low. Engine load increases faster than increasing alternator output.
Only trivial amounts of power can be routed

through a standard fanbelt.
Most product designs are uselessly inefficient.

Stainless steel can NOT be used for electrodes. Crucial current switchmode drivers are absent.
Costs overwhelmingly outweigh the benefits.

An on-board vehicle electrolysis summary...

Before the stupid mistakes are made,

the numbers do not add up by a country mile.

After the stupid mistakes are made ( such as

stainless steel, a fanbelt, outrageous costs, but no switchmode driver ), the numbers become laughingly absurd.

What About Fuel Cells?

A fuel cell is an electrolysizer run backwards. Max possible efficiency is one-sixth exothermic. Motor, controller, and wiring losses further

limit efficiency. As does fuel reformation and being unable to use the fuel's carbon fraction.
Serious issues remain with membrane lifetimes,

total costs and system reliability.
Fuel cells are unlikely to EVER significantly

exceed conventional efficiencies. Meanwhile, the ICE is improving at a much faster rate.

Which subsidy do you prefer?

The OLD CALIFORNIA model in which virtually

all of the paybacks went into boiler shop scams that set pv back by many decades.
The NEW CALIFORNIA model in which it may

take FIFTY THREE YEARS of total pv net new energy production to pay the debt.
The TORONTO model in which they hand

pushed and coasted their nonworking hydrogen bus into a major media event. Where, of course, it was lavishly praised for its silent operation.
The ARIZONA model in which you were given a

free SUV for installation of a one gallon tank.

Or these?

The DETROIT model where their bus demos are trucking hydrogen in from Pittsburgh.

The MIDWEST model where a monumental energy sink was cleverly disguised as a twelve billion dollar vote buying scam.

The SOUTH CAROLINA model where they added a five ton evaporative cooler to get their 3 ton but nonworking solar adsorption cooler to look good.

The BRAZIL model that nearly bankrupted the entire country over monumental ethanol stupidity.


It makes zero environmental or economic or

thermodynamic sense to pay people to put obsolete and known defective gasoline destroying net energy sinks on wildly inappropriate rooftops.

For More Detail:

This has summarized of these text tutorials...

More on electrolysis can be found at...

Ongoing energy developments are viewed at...

Custom consulting is available by way of...

Our INFOPACK Research Service

This has been...

... a presentation by Don Lancaster and Synergetics, 3860 West First Street, Box 809, Thatcher, Arizona, 85552. (928) 428-4073.

Copyright c 2008 and earlier by Don Lancaster and Synergetics. Linking usually welcome. All media, web, and ALL other rights fully reserved. Mirroring or reposting is expressly forbidden.