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[Discuss] Eclipses Re: Great talks last night, however...

On Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:50:27 -0400, Richard Pieri wrote:
> On 7/21/2017 9:25 AM, Bill Bogstad wrote:
>> From an economic perspective, it is beginning to look like
>> residential solar + batteries might be preferable in the near future
>> to current fossil fuel based grid power.  Or at least that is the
>> argument that many people are starting to make.   Are they wrong?  If
>> they aren't wrong, is there some reason other than economics why
>> switching from fossil fuels to solar + batteries would be a bad
>> idea.
> I do maintain that they are wrong. Ground-based solar power can't
> provide nearly enough power to run the world. There isn't enough surface
> area with sufficient solar exposure. Adding a dependence on chemical
> batteries would require on the order of 10 times that power generation
> to offset charging waste. GBSP + battery makes sense on the small scale,
> like homes and office buildings and the like, to reduce dependence on
> fossil fuel power generation but it doesn't, and can't, scale up as a
> global replacement for fossil fuels.

I question your claim that there isn't enough surface area with
sufficient solar exposure to power the world.  Your calculations,

>> I suspect you have some other energy solution in mind then the ones 
>> that have been mentioned so far on this thread.  Care to share?
> Space-based solar power. SBSP has its own share of problems but power
> generation capacity isn't one of them.

So you still have the problem of getting it through the atmosphere,
and you still have conversion loss.  How do you propose to get it
through the atmosphere without the same kinds of losses (if not more)
than ground-based solar power?  Since land area is a concern you
express, any beam will have to be of much greater power per unit area
than sunlight.  It had *better* fail safe -- *very* safe -- if you're
not going to inadvertently scorch surrounding land.  And you still
have the problem of needing a lot of surface area to catch the
sunlight.  Where are you going to put that receiver, and in what kind
of orbit?

If you're talking geostationary orbit with superconducting cables or
some such, let's just say that there are a whole bunch more problems.
Robert Krawitz                                     <rlk at>

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