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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: Thu Sep 14, 2006 1:10 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
As far as I remember your links don't link to informations about civil reactors.
Then you have not read my links. Here is a link to a design for a civil reactor that does not need refueling for 30 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sstar This is the THIRD TIME I have posted this link.

Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
There are good reasons that non-civil reactors aren't used to provide electricity to homes, the public and civil purposes.
There are no such reasons. There is every reason to believe that military reactors are totally suitable for civil use and in fact many civil reactors are based on military reactor designs.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 14, 2006 3:09 pm
Hello, spacecowboy,

the cirsumstance that military reactors are that expensive is sufficient to not use them for civil pusposes like providing power to a martian colony of thousands or million(s) of people.

Something expensive is a threat to the ability to survive for hundreds or thousands of years. In particular if the the fuel would have to be delivered from Earth.

As far as possible I will calculate each alternative - I will not prefer one alternative or another if I don't have numbers about the economics. But to get those numbers the discussion in the thread is required.



Helo, Peter,

I will check that link later - as far as I remember it caused me problems earlier.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 14, 2006 3:29 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
I will check that link later - as far as I remember it caused me problems earlier.
OK, for your benefit, here is the complete text from that link.
Quote:
SSTAR is an acronym for the "small, sealed, transportable, autonomous reactor" - being primarily researched and developed in the US by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It is intended as a fast breeder reactor that is tamper resistant, passively safe, has a self-contained fuel source of Uranium-238 and an operative life of 30 years, which provides a constant power source between 10 and 100 megawatts.

The 100 megawatt version is expected to be 15 meters high by 3 meters wide, and weigh 500 tonnes. A 10 megawatt version is expected to weigh less than 200 tonnes. To obtain the desired 30 year life span, the design calls for a moveable neutron reflector to be placed over a column of fuel. The reflector's slow downward travel over the column would cause the fuel to be burned from the top of the column to the bottom. Because the unit will be sealed, it is expected that a breeder reaction will be used to further extend the life of the fuel.

Currently, no prototypes for SSTARs exist - one is expected by 2015, and they are being researched as a possible replacement for today's light water reactors. and as a possible design for use in developing countries (which would use the reactor for several decades and then return the entire unit to the manufacturing country).


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Post    Posted on: Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:26 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
the cirsumstance that military reactors are that expensive is sufficient to not use them for civil pusposes like providing power to a martian colony of thousands or million(s) of people.


*incredulous stare* Uh... We're colonizing a bloody PLANET here! I'm quite positive that the agricultural and life support equipment would require many many many times more investment and maintenance (not to mention resupply) than a couple of nuclear reactors that only need to be refueled once every few decades! Listen to what you just said, friend.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:54 am
Hello, spacecowboy,

I am completely aware of what I say. If mankind really will start to colonize Mars or another planet in serious in the future then this will require a budget that is limited. Because of these limits the total of all investments per year plus the total of all maintenance costs, depreciation and variable costs have to be kept within those limits.

To keep the costs and investments within the limits of the budgets the numbers of them all have to known - the numbers regarding electricity I am considering here and I try to look for the minimum, for alternative sources and so on. In the Financial Barriers section I will translate them into dollars.

No doubt the investments and costs for other requirement than electricity have to be considered also and there are threads for those other requirements.

The readiness of the individual humans to make the required budget available is limited and tends to keep the budget available low -regardless if the budget(s) will be financed by taxes, by debth or privately. This is an additional reason to keep the investments and variable costs of electricity as low as possible - and the more this is done the more of the budget(s) will be available for the other requirements of colonization.

This all means that those electricity technologies have to be looked for that might fit best into the limits. This is nothing else than a choice between all the existing, working and the imaginable ISRU-technologies.

If in the end - when all numbers are available - there are periods when military nuclear reactors fit best into the budget(s) then that's okay.

But at present to few numbers are available and it's too early to select a particular technology - all the technologies are competing to each other and the result is as open as the future.

If these points aren't taken into account the colonization will fail surely - I am trying to look if it may succeed if they are taken into account.





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Post    Posted on: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:33 am
Here's an article quoting NASA as saying that it would have been possible to use solar power for the Cassini probe instead of nuclear. It goes on to say that even out as far as Neptune solar power is an alternative due to advances in solar technology, perhaps this indicates that solar power is more viable on Mars than originally thought.

I now the article is obviously from the anti-nuc groups but does anyone have anymore information on these advances? I had thought that Nuclear was really the only sensible option for any Martian colony numbering over a couple of dozen people but perhaps I'm mistaken.

http://www.sunvalleyonline.com/news/art ... ticle=2445

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Post    Posted on: Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:50 am
The SSTAR has a lifetime of 30 years - like most if not all of the civil nuclear reactors currently used. It really doesn't need to be refueled - but after its lifetime of 30 years the complete reactor needs to be replaced including the fuel.

This means that the time after which the fuel has to be delivered is prolonged - the transportation costs are still there.

In the case of solar power there are no transportation costs for the fuel this menas that in the case of the SSTAR there still is a kind of varaible costs that never is there in the case of solar power.

The reactor and/or the solar arrays are investments and so not variable costs but fixed costs in the form of depreciations.

And still it has to be taken into account that uranium is a limited ressource like oil and oil-derived fuels - while sunlight is there in abundance. Uranium is an economic and thus no-free fuel that has costs of mining, production, transportation etc. while sunlight is an abundant and thus non-economic but free fuel without mining, production, transportation etc. costs.

...

The SSTAR seems to be still under research according to your link, Peter. It says that there are no prototypes yet and that it is expected by 2015. This means that there are no experiences yet regarding its costs and Economics - meaning that there are still no numbers I can use to calculate costs etc. So I am limited to the informations about solar arrays and about civil reactors already in use since decades which need refuel in less than ten years.

...



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)

EDIT:

By the way - pictures regarding the use of solar power in Germany:

at least 100,000 kwh - sufiicient for 30 homes

solar power for a single house

I might find more such pictures.

There also is a diagram showing - it's explicitly said also - that the latitudes north of that of Gibraltar plus the according latitudes of the southern hemisphere would be sufficient to cover the complete electricity requirments of our world - the areas around the equator aren't required. ...

2. EDIT:

I was misunderstanding the diagram - sufficient to cover the complete electricity requirements of our world by solar power are six locations:

1. In the northwest of the US in the east of California
2. In the North of Chile - may be the Andes
3. In the libyan/algerian Sahara
4. Close to the borders of Saudi-Arbai, Jemen and Maskat & Oman
5. Close to the border of Russia and China
6. Close to the northwestern coast of Australia


Last edited by Ekkehard Augustin on Sun Sep 17, 2006 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Sep 15, 2006 2:26 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
The SSTAR seems to be still under research according to your link
You consider such things all the time. You have done hundreds of posts computing costs of things that are only ideas and do not yet exist. Do not limit yourself in this case either.

The link to a picture of solar power for 30 homes is broken. I get this message when I click on it
Quote:
Eine Datei mit diesem Namen existiert nicht oder nicht mehr, du kannst sie jedoch hochladen.


The other link worked fine. I am well aware of such systems and have looked into putting one on my roof. But I estimated that a $20,000 system would save me only about $10 a month on my electric bill, even though Texas has fewer clouds and is at a lower latitude than Germany. And that system would not even provide enough power to run my air conditioner on a sunny summer day; it would only reduce the amount of power I had to buy from the power company. And believe me, you don't want to be without air conditioning in summer in Texas.

Solar works well for a space craft because there is no night (or a very short night) and only a few hundred watts are needed. It does not make sense where the nights can be many hours long and millions of watts are needed.

Andy Hill wrote:
Here's an article quoting NASA as saying that it would have been possible to use solar power for the Cassini probe instead of nuclear.
Actually it is quoting Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, which is supposed to have been quoting NASA. But I was unable to find the article in Aviation Week's web page. Anyway, it is easy to compute the amount of solar energy at any given distance from the Sun, and at Saturn it is 100 times less than at Earth. It would not have been totally impossible to put 100 times more solar panels on Cassini, but that would have made the space craft too large and heavy to launch! The RTG's are much lighter weight for the same power level.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Sep 16, 2006 2:12 pm
Hello. Peter,

fact is that

    there are numbers avalibale about weights, amounts and costs for the Soyuz-vehicle,
    there are numbers available about weights, amounts and costs for the Soyuz-rocket,
    there are numbers available about weights, amounts and costs for the Proton-rocket,
    there are numbers available about weights, amounts and costs for the Block DM,
    there are numbers available about weights, amounts and costs for the CXV,
    there are numbers available about weights, amounts and costs for the QuickReach,
    there are numbers available about investments and costs of SS2/WK2,
    there are numbers about kwh, weights, areas, performance etc. of solar arrays,

but the link doesn't provide such numbers about SSTAR - in particular no final numbers that are used as abase for offers to customers - in difference for example to the CXV which has been offered to NASA and SS2/WK2 which are contracted to be sold to Virgin Galactic.

So I am completely behaving according to my principles. I also have clarified why it doesn't matter for financial and economical considerations if real hardware exists - there is a particular thread about that in the Financial Barriers section. What matters there is Economics and its methods, researches, findings etc.and you that I am a Political Economist with university diploma.

Fact also is that the solar power station in Berlin-Adlershof is working and that there are nights of several hours in Berlin-Adlershof. Because of this night is no longer an argument against solar arrays as regular power source. On Mars nights are longer by only a quarter of an hour while days are also longer by a quarter of an hour since the martian rotation period is a bit less than 24.5 hours.

On Mars simple such power stations would require 2.25 the area of the station in Berlin-Adlershof but because of less clouds which also are thinner mostly than earthian ones there is more direct sunlight on Mars wthin 24.5 hours on average dust-storm-free days than in Berlin-Adlershof.

I will check why the one link doesn't work and repair it then.

Regarding the circumstance that you don't experience no cor too small cost-advantages by your solar panels on your roof the following causes can be assumed:

    it has been observed that in the US three times the enrgy is consumed that is consumed in Europe - this is illustrated by satellite-photos got at night for example,
    you have and need an air condition which is not the case mostly over here which means that an electricty-consuming equipment falls apart over here,
    you simply could install more solar panels,
    you haven't fully switched over to solar power.


I might find more explanations if I think longer about it or had more detail informations.

Regarding the solar panels sold here in Germany one argument to be found often is that a hous might be located remotely - that off the general electricity infrastructure that it is too expensive to link the house to the infrastructure. The depreciations for the equipment required for the link plus the variable costs to get electricty via the link are significantly higher than the depreciations of the solar panels required to get the same amount of electricity if someone has such a house located remotely.

Let's apply the example of the solar panel I can buy round the corner of my appartement. The 30 houses mentioned in the temporaryly broken link get 100,000 kwh per year all together. So one single of them gest 3,333.333 kwh in average each - per year. This means 9,13 kwh per day -
9130 wh. To get that by the panel I listed the specifictaions about 45 such panels are required. The price in the shop round the corner of my appartement is 400 Euros - so the investment is 18,000 Euros. I pay 30 Euros per month while my parents who have a hpous with 6 rooms and significant additional place and a not that small garden pay a bit more than 1,00 euros per month. If I would power my appartement by the solar panels I would save 30 Euros per month - after 18,000/30 = 600 months the solar panels would break even. 600 months are 50 years and I could sell the appartement to other people younger than me. If my parents would power their house completely by the solar panels the panels would break even after 18,000/1,000 = 18 months. Both I and my parents aren't living remotely and so we don't use the panels - but others here in germany are really owners of remote houses and would have significantly higher electricty costs because they are that remote that the infrastructure is that far away that they would have to invest a large sum of money.

Because of such circumstance the solar panels are economical even if their prices would be twice that high. And there are solar panles sold in Germany that have sevral times the performance of that in the example.





Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)

EDIT I repaired the first of links I listed.


Last edited by Ekkehard Augustin on Sun Sep 17, 2006 6:58 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 17, 2006 2:36 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Fact also is that the solar power station in Berlin-Adlershorst is working and that there are nights of several hours in Berlin-Adlershorst. Because of this night is no longer an argument against solar arrays as regular power source.
Fact also that said solar power station makes no power at night and is only useful because other power, coal and gas and nuclear power, is available at night. Power that can not be depended upon 24 hours a day every day can never represent the majority of generating capacity, it can only be a supplement to other more constant sources. On Mars the only other source would be nuclear.

You are limiting your thinking because of prejudice against nuclear, finding all possible problems and ignoring the advantages, while doing the opposite with solar, ignoring weakness and highlighting advantages. It is not a logical, rational or balanced consideration.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Sep 17, 2006 7:53 am
The not-working link in my pre-previous post is repaired now and works.

Hello, Peter,

you are completely ignoring that the solar panel I lised the specifications of includes and accumulator tostore power - accumulators can be used at night and they can be charged at day by solar power.

The solar panel I listed the specifications about explicitly is designed fro caravans and the like - such vehicle don't have access to nuclear reactors or the normal general electricity infrstructure - so the accumulator the solar panel I listed the specifications about includes is sufficient to provide the enrgy a caravan needs at night.

Consequently and Logically accumulators or even concensators can be linked to the solar panels in Berlin-Adlershof to be charged by solar power and then provide electricty ta night that is got by the solar panels. The number of panels can be doubled easyly. This means that it is possible to get electricity for nights by solar power - it simply is provided for nights indirectly by storing it into accumulators and condensators.

By the way - the solar panles of the twin rovers are used also to charge the batteries of the twin rovers - which also shows that this is possible.

Your remark
Quote:
You are limiting your thinking because of prejudice against nuclear, finding all possible problems and ignoring the advantages, while doing the opposite with solar, ignoring weakness and highlighting advantages
is an impertinence and an effrontery - I never posted against nuclear power of itself - if you keep your remark then please list a quote where I explicitly said that nuclear power is bad or dangerous or polluting. You will not find such a post because all I mentioned were

    transportation costs,
    uranium ls a limited ressource.
    large if not huge amounts of the limited ressource uranium needed on Earth,
    inacceptable cease of availability of electricity if a reactor explodes (Cernobyl)
.

I never said that radiation by uranium or the like is speaking against nuclear reactors.

Next you never listed reliable and valid arguments that solar power weren't reliable - I allways showed up that backups are possible (rememebr accumulators and condensators) and the thread already has started to spiral because you again and again list the same arguments while ignoring that I already debilitated repeatedly - you are causing this thread to spiral and I am going to break and interrupt the spiral.

I am a strong supporter of nuclear power for use here on Earth - I never agreed to the government of former Chancellor Schröder whose socialdemocratic-green coalition decided to cease the use of nuclear power in Germany but allways opponed against that government. Plus I am very incontent with the current german government even regarding that topic.

I never was against nuclear power, I never siad something like that and that you said that is another example that you permanently are applying interpretations and imputations arbitraryly. That you do this might used as base to interprete you yourself as well - which I will not do but simply list the alternative possible interpretations of your behaviour now and here:

    you cannot bere if someone doesn't agree to you,
    you are fond of nuclear power and cannot bear if someone considers alternatives,
    you are against solar power,
    you have the desire to rule others,
    you were already frustrated and disappointed befroe you met me here and now try to get gratifications this way,
    the only way of thinking you know or can apply is that of engineering,
    ...


This list doesn't claim to be complete - I do not apply no interpreatations - but a lot of other Germans apply one or the other of the listed possible interpretations. And they would treat you according to them.

Often your behavious is applied by politicians here - to destroy ideas, concepts etc. they don't like for ideological reasons.

And I am informed also about competitiveness I am talking to someone about it and it might be suspected that your behaviour has to do with it - I am talking about competitiveness to someone and explained that it might be the source of the Antiamericanism here in Germany that was so strong in the seventies when I was at school. I personally am pro-american but watching your behaviour I can imagine what misundertandings, what tones etc. might have cause the Antiamricanism as well as Antilibertarianism. And all those Antis were or became Socialists in reaction.

Okay now - now I might have extremely annoyed a lot of people here this way by expressing my personal annoyance and anger and to prevent any reptition I from now on refuse to talk to you.

Back on topic there is another good example regarding the area available to place solar cells on - a washing shop in California. If this would be a private house there might be significant solar power not required at day which could be stored in accumulators and condensators at night.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 18, 2006 7:24 am
Visiting a family which are friends of mine since three decades yesterday and talking to them and several other guests

The family has a house of their own here in Hamburg and I asked my friend if he can imagine to install solar panels on his roof to get electricity that way instead of buying it from the company responsible in Hamburg. He said yes, he can imagine that - but he has no idea what he would be willing to pay. In so far price and budget are the main factors that determine the decision to use solar power or to use it not or to use it partially only.

The technology itself is no problem here - on Mars simply the amount of panels and the amount of accumulators has to be larger.

Reagrding the accumulators I in between looked under Wikipedia how much Watts one PS is - it's 735.49875 Watts. So the accumulator of the car I ws posting about here recently is the base of a mechanical performance of that car of 142 PS * 735.49875 Watts = 104440.8225 Watts = 104.4408335 kw.

Obviously that accumulator can store a reasonable amount of electricity got by solar panels and the application of several units of it will be sufficient to make electricity got at martian daylight available at night. They then would be part of an infrastructure and serve as a buffer of that system.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:13 am
Looking at more sites offering solar panels I found that it is quite usual to sell them together with accumulators to store electricity that isn't consumed at once. And this obviously is done with the focus on making electricity got by solar power available at night. And panels are sold that much that it is made possible to calculate the personal requirements by an application accessable from the site.

...



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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 21, 2006 10:42 am
To look for more informations about the use of solar arrays - I found a few I also looked for NIAC studies. But the first study I had a look into turned out to include the consideration of an ISRU-source I can't remember to have listed previously.

The study "Development of a Single-Fluid Consumable Infrastructure for Life Support, Power, Propulsion, and Thermal Control" ( www.niac.usra.edu/files/studies/abstracts/1297Akin.pdf ) says "...use of a single high-density room-temperature liquid consumable: an aqueous solution of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). In this concept, the catalytic dissociation of H2O2 into water and oxygen provides electrical energy;"

The circumstance that it is supposed in betwenn that dust devils produce hydrogen peroxide that is part of the soil in the form of snow partially might make this source even more interesting.

But at present I don't think that electricity might be provided to a colony of thousands or even a few millions this way - but it might be a source to power manned rovers perhaps.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:52 am
Summing up:

Ekkehard wants to send, to Mars, 9.5 tonnes of solar panels he bought around the corner. This will produce 52,000 kWh each year (in Mars sunlight). Plus he will conservatively need about the same mass in accumulators. The panels will have a lifetime of 20 to 30 years, but performance can be expected to drop off as they age.

Peter wants to send a yet to be developed reactor weighing < 200 tonnes. It will produce 87,600,000 kWh per year, for 30 years. Enough to power 30,000 homes. About 168 times as much power for the same weight.

NOTE: The purchase cost of the either set of hardware will be minor compared to the transport cost of getting it to Mars.

Both will have to be replaced after 30 years either by new equipment sent from Earth, or by making new ones on Mars. The reactor is likely to be easier to duplicate on Mars, even if uranium has to be enriched. But 200 kilograms (not tonnes) of uranium could be sent from Earth to fuel a Mars built reactor, making it much easier still. In fact, ONE shipment of just 70 tonnes would fuel this type of reactor for 10,000 years!

It can't be any more bloody obvious! Can it? :roll:


Last edited by WannabeSpaceCadet on Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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