28 Nov 2008
India with limited existing infrastructure has the option of learning from those nations which have ‘lead’ the way to date. I have to question why Mr Bapat you seem to be an advocate of centrally produced power (eg. Nuclear, Coal and Natural Gas power stations).
So many nations having realised their mistakes are now incentivising and encouraging the progression towards Decentralised power production (also known as Distributed Generation of power or Embedded generation). Although it is admittedly proving difficult, as governments are struggling to manage the legislation and personal agendas, and those who control the infrastructure are reluctant to loosen their grip because the short term investment required to modify their business model can be significant.
/u]as it enables the use of the heat/cooling produced, and the energy is not lost through transmission. (In the UK we lose 8% through over head power lines, and in the US they lose 11%). It should also be noted that renewable energy tends to be generated locally. Biofuels (Jatropha), Wind, Solar PV, Hydrogen, Geothermal etc etc. Local generation leads to local jobs. The transmission to a Sustainable, energy efficient and ultimately low carbon economy will create significant jobs opportunities for those who adopt it. Surely this is what the Indian Economy needs, as does every other economy.
I must also question . You said “.”
Fuel Cells are not designed for Centrally produced power, they are all about efficiently producing power at the point at which it is needed.. Decentralised Power. You cannot make the comparison that you have. Its like comparing pineapples and bananas. A fuel cell efficiently electrochemically converts fuel to electricity, heat and water. And it is more efficient than any other system of a comparable size. May these be gas turbines or diesel GenSets.
It should also be noted that all the fuels you are an advocate of.. “methanol, ethanol & biogas”.. all can be used in fuel cells.
/u]. I understand that plutonium is limited in quantity which makes it non renewable. Much of it is also sourced from politically and environmentally unstable countries. So you are not helping to stabilise the world we all live in. Plutonium mining is also hugely destructive and polluting to the environment from which it is mined. Another consideration is we need solutions to our power demands now. Nuclear power stations take a very long time to come on line. In the UK we are looking at 10-15 years. This is too late. I have heard figure when you consider the waste treatment as well that Nuclear will never get lower than 4500 US$ per KW. The Fuel Cells for industrial CHP i have seen the figures for are already providing electricity cheaper than this. It will become cheaper.
Finally the waste from a power plant. To date there is no treatment solution. There is also no one saying that they might be close to even thinking one up!
There is no ultimate answer to the future energy paradigm, the answer is to utilise them all, and consider which is best suited to your environment. i feel needs to be addressed, as i think you have missed the point. The Hydrogen industry is separate and independent of the fuel cell industry so don’t tie the two together (Source for further info). Hydrogen is a storage medium for energy. May it be Solar for when the sun has gone down, or Wind turbines if the wind slows. This is known as load balancing. Hydrogen also enables this renewable energy to be transported which makes it applicable to vehicles. It is not the solution to everything just some of the issues. For example can nuclear solve your transport fuel problem? And if you think bio fuels can meet global demand for Vehicle you clearly have not done your maths. The European Commission has just done a huge u-turn on their previous commitment to bio fuels as they have now realised that demand is to large, and the competition for land drives up food costs. Bio fuels have their place, but not as the global solution to ground Transport. /u].
Anyhow, i hope you find my opinion worth consideration, or possibly even debate.
28 Nov 2008
I agree on most of what you've said, but there's a couple of points worth exploring:
It's interesting that you say this. Almost anything that uses land competes with food production! The government's recent Gallagher Report looking at indirect change of land use due to agrifuel (biofuel) production concluded that there is a future for sustainable biofuels if targets are realistic and controls strong: . This is another good resource: showing that in some circumstances, biofuels can be of net land use and carbon benefit.
I agree of course that biofuels are not THE SINGLE GLOBAL SOLUTION, but neither can they be summarily dismissed. Bioenergy, including waste-to-energy, biomass and biofuels has the potential to supply as much of the world's total energy demand as wind - see my notes from the REA Bioenergy event:
Does biofuel from waste compete with food for land? No! Does it improve the overall efficiency of the land if the waste from food such as cooking oil is reused as fuels? Yes! Is biofuel production a major contributor to land use change? No, not compared to the changes caused by food. Interesting fact: the first behavioural change people make when coming off the poverty line is that they start to fry instead of boil their food - the rise in living standards in developing countries has caused a MASSIVE increase in the demand for palm oil and other food crops.
Question: why is the biofuels industry the only one expected to account for land use change? How about deforestation? Unsustainable agriculture? Population growth?
Not all biofuels are suitable for aviation fuel: nearly all require significant processing to produce an air-grade fuel. Surely we should use biofuels in the most sustainable and efficient way possible, regardless of whether that is air, land or sea? You talk above about making appropriate technology choices for Distributed Generation - why do those principles not apply for biofuels?
These can all be made from bioenergy sources, yet you're recommending putting them through fuel cells (which I think's a good idea) - how does that align with your aviation fuel-only stance?
Strictly this is true, but in practice Fast Breeder type reactors should be able to produce enough nuclear fuel to treat the fuel as 'renewable' - just playing devil's advocate ;)
29 Nov 2008
Pune (India): http://jdbapat.livejournal.com Thanks Mr Duncan and Mr david. In the country of India's size large scale power generation and distribution is important. India already has a power distribution network in place. We need a substitute for thermal power ,which not only consumes coal, generates CO2 (GHG) but also spew a large quantity of fly ash causing environmental pollution. Nuclear power is no-carbon technology. The problem of safe disposal of nuclear waste is not yet fully solved, but research continues. On date, we have far better and safer ways for the disposal. Thorium is abundantly available in India. Thorium based nuclear power offers promise for the country, in the future. Till then ABC aggrement should work. I am not against fuel cells. In fact, I teach that subject to the engineering students. Everyone will agree that the cost of fuel cell power is much higher in comaparison to the convetional and in a country like India, this comaparison is bound to happen. The higher cost is primarily due to the materials (Pt catalyst, etc.). Therefore I call it the power source for the future. I have already given my comments on the renewable energy policy for Inda. We should concentrate on latest non-food-crop based technologies for the manufacture of ethanol and other biofuels. Technically biofuels are carbon-neutral. The solar and wind energy also offer good alternatives. Dr J D Bapat