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Energy generation at the Mars, for the martian rovers etc.

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:58 pm
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Energy generation at the Mars, for the martian rovers etc. 
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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:36 am
I'm not so sold that 'nano' is the solution to this problem. Nano-scale turbines seem to have a lower surface-area to mass & friction ratio than would larger-scale turbines. Requiring the allignment of huge arrays of tiny turbines seems to be an exercise in needless work. To get the same power generated, you'd need many turbines: You still need to trasport a fairly large mass (if the mechanism wasn't in place to build them based on natural resources on the spot). Remember the KISS principle in reducing unnecessary complexity. A billion compact turbines (limited by their height from the surface of the planet, where there would likely be more turbulence) requires a billion times more effort in assembling and maintaining.

This is not to say that nano-tech materials could be used to benefit these proposed turbines, as lighter materials could be developed for the turbine props themselves.

At best, though, harnessing wind energy seems to be a second line or third line mode of energy production, after some there is some fairly significant pre-existing structure.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:04 am
The nano-scale trubines should be kept under consideration and discussion here - it's sufficient if that is done by those who are interested in them or favor them under martian conditions.

You are right - the same amount and mass of material as for large-scale turbines will be required. But under martian conditions the large-scale turbine(s) wouldn't work if they are at that scale and weight at which they are on Earth.

It may be possible to get rid of turbulence problems and so on by additional ideas that can and should be posted and discussed here.

But all this doesn't mean that ONLY wind turbines should be discussed here. Other technologies should be ADDED in this thread - but it would be interesting to have the focus on ISRU a little bit and on new technologies and so on.

Could the significant difference in temperature over short altitudes like 1 meter used to generate electricity? And what ways? What about the solar wind particles as electricity or energy source? Might it be possible to make use of the process of freezing out the atmosphere at the poles in winter?



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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 28, 2005 8:40 am
I just saw this article on the BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4300723.stm

Anti-wind farm report dismissed

The UK has one of the biggest resources of wind in Europe
A report from the world's biggest wind power producer denouncing wind farms as too expensive and inefficient has been widely dismissed in the UK.

... read the article ...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4300723.stm

It's only loosely related to that of a martian environment, but relavent nonetheless


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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:09 am
As far as I know in Danmark and here in Germany the wind farms or GROWIANs (long name and translation in an earlier post) are profitable. They all are run privately and the shares are hold by average citizens. The GROWIAN-share of the total of electricity generated in Germany is said to be around the output of one nuclear reactor.

So the reported disadvantage can be supposed to have economical reasons I think.

To turn to the use of solar power at Mars I perhaps should repeat here what I seem to remeber to have said in another thread: Mars gets 4/9 of sunlight only compared to Earth and moon and the lunar rover that has been lab-tested recently that can produce solar cells out of lunar soil will produce solar cells of 1% efficiency only. Solar cells produced by earthian industry have an efficience of 20%. This perhaps means that the first ISRU-based solar cells at Mars would provide electricity out of 0.004444... of the sunlight available at Earth whereas earthian solar cells would provide electricity out of 0.2 of that amount of sunlight - the ISRU-base solar cells will provide 1/45 of earthian ones only perhaps.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 28, 2005 11:04 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
My opinion is that the smaller the turbine, the less efficient it is. So small turbines are less efficient and nano-scale turbines are extremely inefficient. I have not taken the time to work out the physics, but that is my feeling. You have not worked out the physics either, but you have a different opinion.

Solar would work, but not as well as on Earth due to the weaker sunlight. Sunlight at Mars is about half strength, but the air is 1/1000 thinner. So solar is still better than wind for that reason. However, I think nuclear is the way to go. This seems to usually be the case in space. That is why science fiction vehicles are always atomic powered.


But the difference is... You could have MILLIONS or BILLIONS of them in a small area

There was also a breakthrough in nanotechnology the other week with batteries. They made 20 lb of batteries into a device that is smaller than a lighter and ways 8 ounces.

So from 20lb to 8 ounces and it produces the same amount of energy :lol:

http://washingtontimes.com/business/200 ... -9504r.htm

The immediate aim is to use nanotechnology — science on the tiniest scale — to replace cumbersome military batteries and eventually power everything "from cell phones up to systems that run a tank,"

And a tank is damn heavy..

There are some great advances that rovers could use.

1. Better Solar panels with the use of Nanotechnology and better nanoscale materials so the rover is Self cleaning to make solar panels more fully efficient.

2. Lighter and stronger materials for the rover so that it wont need as much energy to move. again this will come from Nanotechnology

3. Better batteries and far lighter ( as mentioned above )

We need multiple technologies as backup systems and the robot to intelligently swtich to those devices depending on circumstances and environment conditions on mars.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Mar 01, 2005 9:13 am
That's very interesting news - nano-tech batteries.

Are these one-way batteries or are they accumulators? If they are not accumulators how propable may it be than that it could be achieved for accumulators too? This would be of meaning in another thread about electricity here too.

Does the success for the batteries mean a progress of storage technology too? Does It mean an increase in efficiency or capacity of electricity storage?

To add one aspect to the electricity and energy technologies - what technologies can you imagine and work out here that could save electricity/energy? May it be possible to drive a rover by using bimetals or intelligent materials plus temperature difference between light and shadow?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:36 am
whoa182,

have you been speaking of a new accumulator developed by Altair Technologies? Their Accu loads within 6 minutes, is three times as efficient and has a life cycle 100 times as long as current accus according to www.wissenschaft.de which is quoting New Scientist (5. März, S. 27) ( www.newscientist.com/home.ns ).

The accu is not loading very quickly only - it is able too to spend much energy within short time. That's interesting especially for users of mobile equipment like handycams - it enables them to use a flashlight.

The accu can be reloaded 20,000 times which is 50 times the current number of 400 times.

The new accu is very small and will be available at the markets within two years.

Seems to be a significant leap. May be a solution - or the basis for a solution - for storages that are interesting in the threads here that are related to electricity and electricity infrastructure.

Most interesting: Altair Technologies plans to produce it for electromobiles too - which reminds me to lunar, martian and titanian rovers...

...



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Post    Posted on: Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:42 am
In the science section of the homepage of the german newspaper "Die Welt" (www.die-welt.de) there is an article today saying that artificial or industrial photosynthetic energy generation may be possible in the nearby future. The photosynthesis will be done by Ruthenium and the enrgy will be stored by electrolyzing Hydrogen. It is explicitly remarked that the energy will be got out of the Hydrogen by creating water.

What about using this progress at the Mars? ...



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PS: I know - someone will ask for a link. I'm sorry there is none included in that article.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Mar 08, 2005 1:43 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Are these one-way batteries or are they accumulators?
According to the article, they are fuel cells. Here is a quote.
"Batteries are not only heavy, but they present a supply-chain challenge because soldiers need frequent shipments for replenishment in remote locations.
ONAMI researchers say they have bypassed that problem by developing nanotechnology liquid-fuel cells.
Their first working prototype for the fuel cells..."

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
What about using this progress at the Mars? ...

Another quote from the end of the same article (not the one in Die Welt though) is:
"Portable factories also have space applications. Mr. Drost said researchers in Oregon are designing a system to make rocket fuel on Mars so the fuel doesn't have to be brought. If successful, spacecraft would weigh less, have simpler design, reduced dangers and lower cost."


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Post    Posted on: Tue Mar 08, 2005 2:46 pm
This post of you is a little bit puzzling me - the article in "Die Welt" wasn't talking about rocket fuel no way. And to store energy wasn't in the focus but a by-topic only.

The article reported a progress in generation of energy by photosynthesis based on Ruthenium instead of Chlorophyll.

This means that sunlight would be used a differnt way than by normal solar cells to generate electricity. There has been a breakthrough and it's extremely close to usability by all industrail branches withoput further requirements - as the artiicle says.

That is not provided by solar cells up to now - so it must be different to them. And for this reasons it is worth to be included in considerations about electricity generation at Mars.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 09, 2005 3:59 am
Ekkehard,
I was replying to your earlier post about the nano-tech batteries. I added the part about rocket fuel because it was in the same article and seemed interesting from a space flight perspective. I did point out that it was not related to the article in Die Welt, but I can see how you would be confused.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 09, 2005 10:46 am
They are both seperate, 2 different breakthroughs. But its all coming together as you can see, we are finally and rapidly advancing in these sort of technologies.

So Im not certain if they are actually related, I'll have to find out.. I dont think they are tho


Last edited by whoa182 on Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:27 am
It would be good news if there are two different breakthroughs. That would increase the probability of the creation of a technology or equipment that can be optimized for use at Mars relatively easyly.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 09, 2005 9:38 pm
Whether nanoturbines work or not is not an issue of nanotech developement; it's about fluid dynamics. Smaller the scale, the more viscous the medium appears. For a nano-scale turbine, air (martian or terrestial) would act in bituminous viscosity.

For martian windmills, you'd actually need to scale up by a decade at least.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:00 am
That sounds right. Also it should be easy to compute the total wind energy available from the pressure and wind speed. Kinetic energy is 1/2MV^2. For any given wind speed, a certain number of cubic meters of air will impact the turbine per hour. The mass of that air can be computed from the gas law PV/T=constant. If P is 1000 times lower and temperature in Kelvins is half that of Earth, then at any given speed there is only 1/500 as much energy per unit area of wind. It would not matter at all if that area were covered by one big turbine or millions of small ones.


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