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The 10 Requirements for a Sustainable and Scalable Global Electricity Generation Model

Here are 10 requirements of the electricity generation model I have deduced, based on the 15 constraints without locking down energy sources:

1) Totally decentralized (no transmission lines to avoid weather based disruptions)

2) Sufficient diversity of electricity generation sources in each autonomous electric zone for maximum availability

3) Cradle to grave ecological, pollution and CO2 costs included in the levelized cost of electricity for each generation source for supply/demand considerations

4) Self sufficiency of water/wastewater treatment and material recycling powered by local electricity generation in each autonomous zone

5) Minimal dependency on mining raw materials globally after some time, once sufficient quantities exist for 100% closed recycling loops in each autonomous zone

6) Recycling shift from chemical based processes to electric arc furnaces for near 100% yield

7) Minimal dependence on chemical based electric storage

8) Maximum dependence on carbon neutral sources

9) Minimal dependence on demand response programs

10) Self sufficiency in food production in autonomous electric zone using advanced techniques 

Next, I will show how these requirements can all be met in the near future with emerging energy technologies.

Content Discussion

John Droz, jr.'s picture
John Droz, jr. on July 10, 2018

Erfan:

There is some merit to most of your suggestions.

That said I take issue with you lumping intermittent and dispatchable sources into one category. Where did you separate them?

For example, in #3: the only meaningful analysis here would be for intermittents to be paired with their normal auxiliary source. In other words there would be no  cradle to grave analysis of wind energy by itself, as such a creature does not exist. Instead the #3 analysis would be of the Wind+Gas package.

regards,

john droz, jr.

physicist

Erfan Ibrahim's picture
Erfan Ibrahim on July 10, 2018

Hi John.  The mining of neodymium and dysprosium to make magnets for wind turbines produces an equivalent amount of radioactive element discharge from the mines that is currently being dumped in fields and lakes in China.  There is certainly an ecological cost with Wind Technology without factoring in gas in the package.  I wrote about it in my sustainability posts earlier.  The solar panel fabrication has silicon tetrachloride as waste and cadmium telluride and silane gas and all types of acids during fabrication and end-of-life recycling.  Batteries have the issue of brine pools using up water for Lithium extraction, the water contamination from graphite mining and the environmental damage in cobalt extraction in the Congo.  The list goes on and on.  Best Regards  Erfan

John Droz, jr.'s picture
John Droz, jr. on July 11, 2018

Efran:

You are entirely correct — that there are many adverses environmental consequences of industrial wind energy.

My point, though, is that there is no such thing as wind energy on the grid by itself. As a continually intermittent source, it must be paired with something that inversely matches its performance. Currently, most of the time that is gas.

In other words, what actually exists on the grid is a "Wind+Gas" package. Therefore, all of your comments (and ten points) should address that reality.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on July 20, 2018

Erfan, as John has pointed out, dependence on intermittent wind (and solar) electricity burdens us with the carbon emissions from gas generation needed to support it. There is currently no workaround for this fundamental limitation and unlikely to be one in the near future.

I’ll add that “totally decentralized” generation would be a fitting description for the way residents of New York City and Philadelphia were first served their electricity in the 1880s. Outages and fires were frequent until electricity was centralized, standardized, and regulated. Other benefits of centralized electricity are economies of scale (it’s more efficient) and the ability to effectively account for emissions, a task made only more challenging by distributing generation far and wide.

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