I would like to suggest adding "dismantling transportation" to your list of topics. It is, along with overpopulation, one of the most pressing issues facing us today. Fossil fuels power all but a fraction of a percent of motor vehicles, the infrastructure (highways, streets, garages, bridges, and more) is massive and harmful both to the environment and the people using it, and the ease of use of cars has caused the spreading blight of suburbs. "Take back the streets" a militant movement against motor vehicles, the CarBusters magazine, the "Critical Mass" movement and others are all working to correct the waste and imbalance in the area of transportation. I urge you to support these organizations and do your part to dismantle the transportation monster.
Be warned; the ultimate opposition you will face in this effort is the international petrolium industry. They are the ones, along with car companies, defending the gas-guzzling inefficiency common to all motor vehicles. They have a lot of cash to through at you, and they fight dirty. Many instances of anti-activist violence have been recorded, most notably in connection with the San Francisco Critical Masses. If they fight dirty, we will have to also. The Ozimandias collective's Guide to Direct Action is a good source of information on dismantling cars and larger vehicles, and almost anything else you can think of. It can be found at Cafe Underground on http://cafeunderground.com.
Thank you, and Good night.
EER IN BRIEF
Electronic Electricity Repository (EER) is merely a concept at this time.
The easiest way to explain it is to use an electric vehicle as an example. To power an EV with EER, an array of electronic devices - perhaps solid-state capacitors, perhaps another device - would contain the electrical charge accumulated from a variety of sources of electricity. Renewable energy sources are suggested, but any source of electricity would work. With the questionable future of battery-powered EV's, and fusion as an energy source, and the political debate about fossil fuels, there are strong reasons to take a look at EER.
In fairness, many say it cannot be done. But, perhaps another war - or avoiding one - could put the right minds to work on this concept. It would provide a way to be independent of foreign oil, while providing a structure for the transition to renewable forms of energy to power EV's - or any other device powered by electricity.
This is merely a shell of an idea, but perhaps some further thought could help bring it about.
A more detailed description - and much criticism - can be found in several of the technical forums of CompuServe.
A TRIP TO THE STORE IN AN EER POWERED EV
Let's suppose that the EER concept is fully developed, and built into an electric vehicle. Let's also suppose that the newest and best technological devices - some of which are now being used in EV's - are integrated into the vehicle's design. What follows is a description of what might possibly have happened during an everyday trip to the store in such a vehicle. (This assumes the use of an advanced microchip capacitor).
Ms. Jones notices her "fuel guage" as she starts her vehicle; it tells her that her microchip capacitor battery is 85% full. This means that of the vast number of microchip capacitors in her "battery", 85% are charged with their very small electric capacitance.
She proceeds to the store, and returns home - a quarter mile trip. As she pulls in her driveway, she looks again at her guage. It reads 84%. She thinks that she used only 1% of her battery capacity for her trip.
But, she is wrong.
She used 10% of her available charged capacitors for the quarter mile trip. So, why didn't her guage read 75% when she returned?
There were several devices built into her vehicle which were replenishing used capacitors, almost as fast as she was using them. (All figures below are guesses - just to make the point).
- 1. The advanced solar panel on the roof of her vehicle was, as always during sunlight, continuously recharging at a slow, but steady rate. Because she had happened to drive and park in the sunlight, the solar panel recharged 5% of her capacitors.
- 2. The air scoops arranged in her vehicle's design - although accounting for some drag - were directing the air through small dynamos, which recharged another 2%.
- 3. The regenerative brakes on all four wheels replenished another 2% of the capacitors.
So, she did, in fact, use 10% of the available capacitor charges, but 9% were replaced by the activity of her trip.
This is nothing like perpetual motion; it is merely taking advantage of the natural surrounding energy to replenish the energy spent on the trip.
It is even conceivable that her "fuel guage" might have read a higher percentage upon her return; a shorter trip on a windier and sunnier day, in a more sunlit route and parking spot, and many more occasions to use the brakes, might have made that possible. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is not violated, because energy from outside the vehicle was being absorbed along the way.
It is noted that a battery-powered EV could have done much the same, but the weight difference would have changed the percentages, so as to defeat the purpose.
Frank Lincoln firstname.lastname@example.org
NATURE AND EER
Mother Nature is smart. Let's start with that. Millions of years ago, she devised a storage system for energy from the sun, which our low-tech ancestors could use for heat, and later automobiles, etc. This energy from the sun was stored in animal and vegetable matter, and over many years, was changed to oil. It burned nicely, kept us warm, powered our factories, and give us convenient transportation for many years. It served us well for a long time. But, now, many people say that there are pollution problems with it. In addition, there was only so much of this fuel created. It is finite. There is some talk of finding a way to actually replace it, but that seems to be a very long way off.
So, now we are left with the problem of somehow replacing that fuel. Many, many schemes are being touted. It seems to me that we might want to consider trying to duplicate what Nature did. Nature stored energy from the sun in plants and animals. Could we store that energy using modern electronics to duplicate Nature's storage system? We were given the wisdom to create all this electronic wizardry, so maybe there was a reason other than for all the commercial gizmos we now have.
Today, we can collect solar, wind, and thermal energy and convert them to electricity. These are our natural renewable resources, and we could not run short of them if we tried. We have vast knowledge in electronics, although there are problems with storing that much energy with them. Perhaps saying 'electronics' is not enough; perhaps we should say 'using our knowledge of electronics' to find a way to capture energy.
Whichever the case, it might be wise to follow the plan that Nature has so splendidly laid out for us. Why not capture energy from the sun, but, instead of storing it in plants and animals, we can use some form of electronics?
I think this would be a logical extension of what was given to us. I think it would not only solve most energy problems, but it could give us clean transportation, at last. Putting energy from renewable sources under the hoods of our cars would be no small advancement. And, many more spin-offs from this would be sure to follow.
Much more conversation about EER is available in environmental forums on the internet, such as CompuServe's EARTH Forum. There are technical mistakes in some of them, but the general concept could be so valuable, that I urge you to look at them, and if you are involved in this sort of thing - please give me some feedback.
I think this would be a logical next step.
And - most certainly - I could use some help with it.
EER IN MORE DETAIL
Electronic Electricity Repository has been put forth, for some time now in the CompuServe EARTH forums, as a new approach to dealing with energy. Technically, the first effort on this was embarrassingly wrong. This is an effort to take into consideration the education received over these forums, and then see if there is something still worthwhile remaining to this concept.
The first effort speculated at using trench capacitors to contain electrical energy produced by any of the developing renewable energy sources (or any source of electricity) and using that contained electrical energy for domestic purposes such as electric vehicles and individual storage units for home heating.In light of what has been learned, the following is a general, unscientific retry as to how EER might still be accomplished. There is no claim of expertise in the technologies that might be used, just a suggestion as to how to apply their capabilities.
It is understood that high energy density is something that has been sought for many years - the concept is nothing new. What is suggested here is the possibility that modern technology may now, indeed, be in the position to actually attain it - to a degree that could combine the many energy sources (new and old) into a common pool.
- - Trench capacitors, at the present time, have nowhere near the capability to deal with the degree of energy that would be required in Electronic Electricity Repository.
- - The area of the plates in a trench capacitor will, for the most part, determine the capacitance - not exclusively, but this is the factor that is dealt with here as having the most potential for improvement. It is assumed that progress in the other factors - dielectric strength, dielectric composition, etc. will continue, and will accommodate the supposition of surface area increase made here.
- - The surface area of a trench capacitor plate can be greatly increased without increasing the perimeter, or the space required to store the capacitor.
- - Etching a groove on the plate surface will do this, to a small degree, and it is done, to some extent, today. What is surmised, here, is that, as the technology allows, many cross-grooves could be etched within the first groove. Then, with increasing precision, these cross-grooves could, in turn, be cross-grooved. And, then those cross-grooves cross-grooved. Each successive cross-grooving would be progressively smaller - magnitudes smaller. This could be repeated until the molecular level was reached - each time increasing the surface area of the plate, and thus the capacitance. An inexact estimate of the number of times it could be repeated is 26. It is surmised that each groove, cross-groove, and etc., would be matched by a ridge, a cross-ridge, and etc., on the opposite plate, with corresponding shapes for the dielectric. The resulting configuration would yield a perfectly matching set of plates (sandwiching an appropriately shaped, and expectedly advanced dielectric). Such a configuration and material composition may not be possible at this time, but the direction of efforts in their respective technologies may lead to their development in the very near future. This concept is put forth in anticipation of those developments.
- - In theory, each successive etching would substantially increase the area of the plates, and thus the capacitance without increasing their size, their perimeter, or the volume of space needed for them. Again, the only barrier seems to be at reaching the molecular level, after each groove is re-grooved, perpendicularly, and then THAT groove is re-grooved, etc. This would take advantage of all the "inner space" available between the plate surface, and the molecular level. (Understand that in place of "etching", Scanning Tunneling Microscope Technology might be applied - or even nanotechnology, if that ever becomes reality. The point is to configure the grooves - by whatever method.)
- - A way to store electricity from any source, from renewables to a wall socket.
- - A possible solution to the search for a better power plant for electric vehicles.
- - A structure within which to make the conversion from fossil fuels to renewables.
- - A way to accumulate the "trickle" of the many forms of renewable energy, and combine and store them in a practical way; a way that could give strength to the many "weak" and diffuse renewable energy sources.An attempt to generally suggest HOW to accomplish EER will be made; this will be based on the feedback received so far on this concept. For the most part, feedback has come from various forums in CompuServe. All major objections will be mentioned, and a way around each one will be suggested.
- - This appears to be the leading objection to EER. In the strongest terms, it is postulated, here, that there is no sacred or permanent universal limit to energy density - there are only hurdles. There are limits to present materials and there are limits to a given geometry, but no universal scientific boundary that would stand forever and always. There are certainly physical limits to the materials now being used, but, this concept of EER does, indeed, depend upon progress in this area - improvements in materials are bound to happen. Unless human progress is at its maximum, there is reason for such an expectation. Especially since - many say - technology is doubling every day with computer technology, and since many of the best resources in the world are focused on this type of science. (If anything like this concept of EER ever happens, it will be as a natural development of such materials - and NOT a result of this effort; that is quite thoroughly understood).
It is suggested here that even without improvements in dielectrics, there may be an opportunity to vastly improve their capability with the one factor - geography of the plates.
Just as computers changed everything about information, some form of EER may change the way energy is dealt with. The suggestion, above, regarding etching grooves in trench capacitor plates, and then etching those grooves, etc., is offered as a possible way to provide the structure that would enable a monumentally higher energy density, than has ever been achieved. If the geometry of the plates is configured as suggested here, and they are identically wrinkled, it is expected that a very high energy density could be achieved by taking advantage of the inner space. The accumulation of a massive repelling force between plates is a problem for which no answer will be attempted here. But, mechanics aside, it appears that developing technology will, indeed, provide the tools necessary to configure the plates.
Two points here:
- 1) Leakage in trench capacitors is not nearly as big a problem as it was a few short years ago - holding a charge for an electric vehicle, for example, would be well within the cycle of usage. In other words, an EV would be expected to be used often enough to use the charges before they have time to leak.
- 2) The percentage of loss due to leakage could logically be offset by overloading the capacitor bank by a like percentage. This is somewhat of a built-in inefficiency, but in time, wouldn't the leakage problem be expected to continue to improve?
- - The concern about electrical arching between the extremely small dimensions created by the etching and re-etching can only be explained away by a layman in this way: the extremely small dimensions would occur between parts of the same plate - and not between the opposing plates. The surfaces of the two plates would remain equidistant over the entire area. It is expected that the extremely small dimensions would only occur between points on the same plate, at the same potential - and, thus, no arching would be anticipated.
- - In a pretty thorough analysis in the LEAP forum, it was indicated that "the whole idea of a capacitor thus breaks down as we approach atomic dimensions". (The following assumes abilities predicted by some as to etching, Scanning Tunneling Microscope Technology, atomic force microscope, lithography, or other methods). If you make one groove (G1) in a capacitor plate, that certainly does not approach atomic dimensions, yet it does increase the surface area of the plate (without increasing its perimeter). Then, if you go back and make another groove (G2) WITHIN G1's SURFACE, you are closer - but still not near the atomic level. Then if the surface of G2 is etched (or STM'd) with G3, you are closer yet; closer - but still a long way from the atomic level. How far? Well the number 26 seems to hold up as the number of times you could re-etch grooves, before you hit bottom.
( Each successive etching step would be, say, a hundred times smaller than the previous one. G3 is a hundred times smaller than G2. G2 is a hundred times smaller than G1, and etc. G26 would be the smallest, and would begin to enter atomic dimensions.)
Now, backing up, let's say you made a hundred tiny grooves on the surface of the original plate - so you have 100 G1's. Within each G1, you etch 100 much smaller G2's. Within each G2 you etch 100 G3's, which are yet, again, much smaller. This is a million grooves at the 3rd of 26 steps. If you could continue on in this way for 26 re-groovings of the grooves, how many grooves would you have at the 26th step? And, by how much would you have increased the surface area of that plate? And how much more dipole moment effect would now take place? And how much more ability to hold charge would you have? If the number 26 makes you cranky, stop at 20, or 12.
The point is this: there is a tremendous amount of "inner space" available before you reach atomic level. Perhaps an optimum number could be safely reached. Even 12 would seem to provide a monumental increase in charge storage ability. Subject to mathematicians' scrutiny, there may be 10^24 grooves, when you are only halfway down to atomic level, and free of the terrible things that happen there. At the halfway point, you have monumentally increased the surface area, without threatening stability. Assuming that the dielectric follows the shape of the plate exactly, have you not vastly increased the number of molecules subject to polar realignment in the electric field? Could it be said that, even though the individual dipole moments would stay at the same in magnitude, there is an opportunity to create a tremendously larger number of them, by taking advantage of the inner space available?
- - Some of these techniques to reform very small structures are very slow and very expensive. Some question was raised as to their adaptability to a mass production situation. As with any change in technology, first efforts are not usually efficient. But there seems to be enough advantages to EER so that the forces of supply and demand would push the costs down. Once in the competitive market, improvements in technique could be expected.
GROOVES TOO SMALL?
- - A statement made in one of the forums was, "There is a limit to how small the grooves can be before they don't work any more." As this was from a good source, it is taken seriously. If some of the logic, above, doesn't account for this, there may be difficulty, here.
- - Capacitors normally discharge very quickly, so wouldn't they make a rather bad storage device? No detailed answer will be attempted, here, but can't this be controlled with a very low discharge current, with a high resistance?
Electricity is - or can be - the common denominator for all energy sources - from solar to hydro. It is for exactly this reason that EER could employ each and every energy source. All the new renewable technology could be "fed" into EER - without exception. Yet, at the same time, conventional sources could contribute to it - every drop of oil and every lump of coal on this planet could be used, purposely. Could this captured energy not then be put to use, as needed, and when needed, by controlling the energy bursts to simulate conventional electricity flow?
The technology that would be needed for EER seems to be within sight - with some faith required, perhaps, for the materials. Basically, it is the ability to sculpt materials at the molecular level which brought about this revised approach to EER. I have never seen the etching process, nor STM; this whole concept of extremely small sculpting to obtain extremely high surface area is drawn from my imagination - and the little I have read about these processes. I am motivated by the extreme advantages that would come about, and the apparent ability to accomplish this; if not on a production basis, then at least on a prototype basis, to start. I'm certain there are still technical errors in this effort - it is hoped that the general idea was communicated with some adequacy.
This seems possible - or within reach - to me, and it seems as though it would bring about profound benefits, and it seems to me that it is a logical way to approach energy at this point in time.
But, I defer to the experts.
Frank Lincoln email@example.com
Take this scenario: A group of designers and engineers from America's biggest car maker develop a prototype bus that can be comfortably powered* by as few as fifteen medium-fit passengers out of a total seating capacity of forty-five. (Some people pay tax, some don't - same deal - some people will pedal, some won't. The ones who DON'T pedal will die early of heart disease. Their choice.)*Every seat will have a hand-pedal mechanism - all linked into the same drive. So, all the hand-pedals will be constantly in motion. If, as a passenger, you want to join in and give your fair share of energy, you just grab hold of your hand-pedal and pump. Any shortfall in man-power (hills and the like) is made up by the vehicle's battery, which automatically comes into use when required.
The bus has a top speed of twenty-five miles an hour** (the fastest a human being can move under his own steam) and will operate on any incline under one in twelve, even when pulling its special trailer. The trailer's there to haul the passenger's bikes - light-weight 5-speed bicycles especially designed to fit our 'pedalbus'. (A full trailer-load of these bikes reduces the efficiency of the pedalbus by only 10%.)
True story? With the right thinking, motivation and backing, it COULD be.
**Many people might think 25 mph is too slow. We've all got used to today's speed of travel and life and consider it's normal. We're all being forced to live and work at a velocity that's just too damn fast for our bodies and brains to cope with. It's messing us up, so let's cut the speed of our transport AND the speed of our everyday lives by DISMANTLING THE ACCELERATOR.
P.S. I live in Detroit, but I don't work in cars.
P.P.S. Good luck with the site.
You don't have to be a student of history or a Native American to know that treaties or truths agreed to in the world of men - I'm alluding to the Kyoto Protocol - only stand until the first person with power who wants to overturn them comes along and does so. The precedents for this happening are too numerous to mention. I'm disgusted by people who, with reference to Kyoto, declare, "Milestone treaty forged..." or, "World agrees to step back from the brink..." Who are they trying to kid, apart from themselves?
There's no room for complacency on this subject - or any of the others you've touched - EVER. I agree that governments will never deliver us from our self-inflicted evils. Any change has to come from the people themselves.
"I have in my hand a piece of paper..." - Neville Chamberlain. As we all know to our or our parents' cost, that treaty with Hitler wasn't worth the paper it was written on.
My advice is: Forget world summits on greenhouse gases and global warming. Join the underground. Support the grassroots movements which seem to be the ONLY organisations with REAL agendas for change. Kyoto was mere appeasement to vested interests and a betrayal of us all.