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Current location: New Jersey
Member since: 2002
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Journal Archives

Keith Jarrett Style.

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July 31, 2016: Mauna Loa carbon dioxide levels 5.04 ppm higher than one year ago.

For the first time in recorded history, the weekly year to year comparisons at the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory have exceeded a 5.00 ppm increase over levels a year ago.

On July 31, 2016, the concentration of carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa was 403.47 ppm; one year ago it was 398.43 ppm.

Mauna Loa Weekly Trends, accessed Aug 7, 2016

During summers in the Northern Hemisphere, carbon dioxide levels fall slightly from the peaks usually observed in April or May; the minimums usually occur in September. The 2016 max, observed during the week ending on April 10, 2016 was 408.31 ppm.

All of humanity's efforts to address climate change have failed. This includes all the, rhetoric, charts and graphs about the "triumph" of so called "renewable energy" on which we bet, foolishly as it turns out, our planet's atmosphere.

It seems almost incontrovertible that we will never again see a reading at Mauna Loa of less than 400 ppm.

As I've noted in a number of posts in this space, 2016 is shaping up to be an even more disastrous year than 2015, which set the all time record for worst year ever, at 3.05 ppm over 2014.

Here is link to earlier post from this series, referring to the previous record set in June of this year, 4.78 ppm over the same June week of 2015:

All time record set for week-to-week annual measurements of annual CO2 increases at Mauna Loa.

The world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free primary energy is nuclear energy. The advocates of the failed, expensive, and clearly useless so called "renewable energy" scheme have convinced the world to spend two trillion dollars a decade on it. At the same time they have railed against the world's largest, by far, source of climate change primary energy calling it "unsafe." This statement is absurd inasmuch as air pollution kills seven million people per year. Climate change, now accelerating, will undoubtedly raise the death toll associated with the rising and routine use of dangerous fossil fuels.

Except in Asia, the expansion of nuclear energy has been slowed to a crawl by appeals to fear and ignorance.

These advocates have had their way; the results of their faith are written in the chemical analysis of the atmosphere.

If any of this sounds like shadenfreud, it isn't. All living things are effected by our faith in useless things like so called "renewable energy." So called "renewable energy" has not worked; it is not working; and it will not work.

I am a living thing; my two sons are living things; and all future generations will be living things.

My hands started shaking when I saw this incredible and terrible data.

History, should history survive, will not forgive us, nor should it.

Have a nice afternoon.

British Heysham 2 nuclear reactor sets the world record for continuous operation.

As of 1 August, the Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) achieved 895 days of continuous operation, having operated non-stop since 18 February 2014. The reactor - also referred to as Heysham 2 unit 8 - is scheduled to continue operating until 16 September, when it will be taken offline for a planned maintenance and inspection outage. Assuming the unit carries on operating until that time, it would have run continuously for 941 days.

The reactor, operated by EDF Energy, has generated 13.495 TWh of electricity so far during this continuous operation, taking its lifetime generation to 115.46 TWh.

Source: British reactor takes record for longest continuous operation

13.495 TWh of electricity corresponds to 0.0485 exajoules of energy, this on a planet where humanity utilizes about 570 exajoules each year.

For a sense of scale, we may compare the output of the Heysham nuclear plant with the total amount of energy generated by utility scale solar energy in the entire United States in 2015.

The figure for utility scale solar generation for the entire United States in 2015 may be found at the EIA website's Electricity Data Page. Scroll down to Net Generation, and click on the "xls" button by the "All Energy Sources" to pull up an informative spreadsheet delineating the electrical output for various forms of energy.

All of the utility scale solar plants in the entire United States, built during a period of wild eyed cheering for them produced 26,473 thousand megawatt hours of electricity, which corresponds to 26.473 TWh.

Thus in a single small building, albeit over a period of roughly two and a half years, the British nuclear plant was able to produce 51% as much energy, albeit in a little under two and a half years, as an entire nation - a large industrial nation with huge enthusiasm for it - could produce using solar electricity in a single year.

The solar industry and the wind industry, neither of which are sustainable, have failed to address climate change at all, despite their inexplicable and increasingly dangerous popularity. After trillions of dollars in "investment" in these failed, expensive technologies, the rate of accumulation of carbon dioxide is at the highest rate ever observed, with 2015 having been the worst year ever observed, at 3.05 ppm over 2015, and with 2016 on a track to make 2015 small time. In 2016 the months of February, March, April, May, and June all represented the worst February, March, April, May, and June ever recorded at the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory at, respectively, 3.76 ppm, 3.31 ppm, 4.16 ppm, 3.76 ppm, and 4.01 ppm over their respective levels in 2015. The 4.16 ppm and 4.01 ppm figures for April and June are the worst figures ever recorded for any month since the Mauna Loa observatory began reporting this data. (The data for January 2016 and July 2016 were "only" respectively, the fourth worst January, and the third worst July ever observed.)

We should never underestimate the power of large groups of people to lie to themselves. We are lying to ourselves not merely in the United States, but on a grand international scale, when we claim that so called "renewable energy" is effective and useful. It is not. It has not worked, it is not working, and it will not work.

The data for the concentration of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere however is not a lie, however, it speaks for itself and is irrefutable.

Nuclear power is not perfect, but it need not be perfect to be vastly superior to everything else, which it is. Shoot the messenger if you will, but it was, I think, our last best hope to have left future generations with a safe planet.

We rejected it. History, should history survive, will not forgive us.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Industrial Engineering and Chemistry Research devotes an issue to carbon dioxide capture.

The data this week at Mauna Loa comparing it to the same week of last year - 2015 was the worst year ever recorded for increases in the concentration of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere - is in:

On July 24, 2016, carbon dioxide concentrations rose 3.40 ppm compared to the same week of the previous year.

Among the 2113 such data points recorded since 1975, 3.40 ppm is worse than 97% of those recorded, but in 2016 it is rather unremarkable; in 2016 nine data points recording the increases in the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide have exceeded 4.00 ppm over 2015, including the point on June 12 of this year which was the worst ever recorded, 4.78 ppm:

All time record set for week-to-week annual measurements of annual CO2 increases at Mauna Loa.

Eighteen of the 27 data points recorded this year have been higher than 3.40 ppm.

All of humanity's efforts to address climate change have been absurdly ineffective and have failed. I have not been restrained in noting that the most absurd of these failures has been the continuing faith based reactionary approach on relying on so called "renewable energy," which was, after all, abandoned at the beginning of the 19th century, and has undeserved and uncritical popularity in the early 21st century. It has resulted in the acceleration and not the arresting of dangerous fossil fuel waste increases. Many, if not all, of the advocates of this failed approach to addressing climate change object only in passing to dangerous fossil fuel use but instead choose to attack the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy, nuclear energy.

It does seem politically this dangerous faith in so called "renewable energy" at the expense of nuclear energy is unlikely to be arrested in the near term, and thus it will fall to future generations, whose interests are of no interest to our generation to try to restore whatever can be restored of this planet.

This will involve the capture of carbon dioxide from the air. This is an unbelievably complex and challenging thermodynamic, and thus engineering, problem. A scientific publication on the subject to which I have obliquely referred in various blog posts around the internet, had a rather discouraged view of the feasibility of doing this with current technology: Economic and energetic analysis of capturing CO2 from ambient air. (Kurt Zenz House et al Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,vol. 108 no. 51 > pp. 20428–20433) Since it's publication in 2011 it has been cited 133 times; I picked up a few recent citations today to read to see if there are any new ideas; I suspect there aren't.

My hostility to so called "renewable energy" notwithstanding, it is pretty clear to me that the only possible means of capturing carbon dioxide will necessarily involve biological systems. This is not an endorsement of say, ethanol, or even the slightly better biofuel biodiesel, but is a suggestion that because biological systems are self replicating, and can cover huge surface areas using, um, solar energy, they are the only system that is capable of capturing carbon dioxide from the air. At high temperatures, biomass can be decomposed to mixtures of hydrogen and carbon oxides that are suitable, in the golden age of chemistry, to making pretty much any industrial chemical, as well as things like asphaltenes, carbon fibers, metal carbides and other refractories like silicon carbide, as well as graphene, graphene oxides and other functionalized graphenes.

To take full advantage of these capabilities, it will be necessary to separate carbon dioxide from gas streams with hydrogen, lower carbon oxides, and other chemicals in biomass. Although carbon capture has been generally investigated in the quixotic attempt to secure and sequester dangerous fossil fuel waste, the technology will actually be far more useful to any survivors in future generations in the role of planetary restoration, to the extent it will prove possible. The carbon dioxide could be captured (and utilized in ways that permanently fix it) during the reformation of biomass.

I alluded to how this might work elswhere: Better Chemistry, Better Biofuels? The Glycerol Glut, Solketal, and Other Floating Ideas

This is why I was very pleased to see during my weekly reading of one of my favorite journals, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research that the current issue is largely focused on reporting carbon dioxide capture strategies which were discussed at the recent International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization. The issue is here: Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, Vol 55, Issue 29

If you have access, it's worth checking out some of the papers.

I can't help but to point to one paper that would be amusing were it not so frightening, this one:

Life Cycle Assessment of the Nitrogen Fixation Process Assisted by Plasma Technology and Incorporating Renewable Energy. (Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2016, 55, 8141−8153) This is a discussion of the predecessor to the Haber nitrogen fixation process - on which, by the way, the world food supply now depends - the plasma spark process which was abandoned in the early 20th century in favor of the Haber Process, because, um, the Haber process, um, works. The authors, showing that some scientists are not completely immune from buying into the failed and unsustainable so called "renewable energy" scam, "evaluate" the LCA, or life cycle analysis of plasma nitrogen fixation using vaguely defined "renewable energy." Interestingly, and probably more honestly than most of these "renewable energy" fantasies, the term solar is followed by the term "natural gas" frequently as in the following text from the paper:

Base Case Scenario. The base case scenario, as described above, is based on the assumption of 6% NO yield and a power consumption of 7.7 kWh/kg NO. For these conditions, the GWP of the plasma-assisted nitric acid production incorporating solar and natural gas energy sources, as a mean of electricity provision to the equipment presented in Table 4, is depicted and compared against the corresponding profile of the conventional process in Figure 3.

The solar industry is totally and completely dependent on access to the dangerous fossil fuel dangerous natural gas.

It is worth noting that industrial nitrogen fixation on this planet is responsible, depending on who you ask or what you read, responsible for about 1%-2% of world energy demand. World energy demand is now about 570 exajoules per year, meaning that nitrogen fixation, on which, again, the world food supply depends, consumes between 5 and 10 exajoules each year.

Solar energy and wind energy have never, not once, in half a century of wild cheering for them, ever produced in a single year 5 exajoules of energy combined.

Have a nice week.

Wow. A true statement from an ignorant anti-nuke. That's rare.

"Demons from hell" perfectly describes these ignoramuses.

Nuclear energy has saved, as published in an unequivocally stated and researched paper in one of the world's most prominent scientific journals, written by one of the world's most prominent climate scientists, 1.8 million lives that otherwise would have been lost to air pollution.

Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power (Pushker A. Kharecha* and James E. Hansen, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute, 2880 Broadway, New York, New York 10025, United States. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47 (9), pp 4889–4895)

The paper has almost continuously been on the "most read article" list in this important scientific journal since publication.

One wonders of course, how many more lives might have been saved were it not for the prattling ignorance of giggling anti-nukes with no sense of ethics or morality, but what is done cannot be undone.

If anyone doubts that fear and ignorance are powerful forces for destruction, one need only look at the Republican ticket, but of course we have very, very, very evil fear and ignorance types on our side, and regrettably, their fear and ignorance is pretty damned deadly.

Of course, the giggling "demons from hell," the dumb shits in the anti-nuke ignorance squad couldn't care less about what's in the scientific literature, because 100% of them are scientifically illiterate.

They think that it's perfectly OK for 70 million people to die every decade from air pollution because they hate the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy, nuclear energy.

They thought it was perfectly OK for the world to squander two trillion dollars in a single decade on their stupid and ignorant so called "renewable energy" scam, a scam that by the way, relies heavily on mining increasing rare and toxic metals under unbelievably environmentally and ethically appalling conditions.

The result of this squander - this on a planet where two billion people lack basic sanitation - is written in the planetary atmosphere, where the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide is now accumulating at the fastest rate ever observed:

I note that the last ten years represented at the right - 2016 will certainly blow away the worst year ever observed, 2015 - occurred at the precise time when stupid anti-nukes had their way, at blowing away two trillion dollars to do, nothing for humanity.

"Demons from hell" is in fact a rather light description of the way I personally regard the uneducated, unenlightened, dogmatic, morally vapid anti-nuke morons who have worked so hard to destroy the future for all generations that may survive their ignorance. I am proud to despise them at a level that "demons from hell" is inadequate to address, but I'll take it.

Regrettably, the world is not just. The people who are responsible for this tragedy, bourgeois brats all, will not live long enough to suffer the consequences of what they have done. They will all be dead when the ignorance of their "by 2050, 100% renewable" or "by 2100, 100% renewable" garbage will have obviated, at the expense of living things that may be on the planet in 2050 or 2100.

I have my flaws, certainly, but at least I saw through this ignorance, and while I proved powerless to stop it, just as James Hansen has proved powerless to stop it, I did what I could.

The malignant assholes who caused this tragedy, and continue to cheer for it, will giggle on, but history, should history survive, will record them through the ages for what they were, and what they are now, and, since they are illiterate, they will certainly always be. I suspect the future historians will record them in terms worse than "demons from hell."

An appreciation of the awful power of stupidity.

Have a nice weekend.

A potential use for waste heat to approach zero waste water discharge.

An important law of thermodynamics is that energy efficiency is related to the difference in temperature between the temperature of the generating device and the heat sink to which that heat is discharged. This is why all thermal power plants are more efficient in winter than in summer; a regrettable fact given that electricity demand, owing to the growing need for air conditioning as the atmosphere's destruction proceeds at a record pace, is higher in summer than in winter.

This is quantified in a very old thermodynamic law, Carnot's Theorem:

I am opposed to the use of the dangerous fossil fuel natural gas, and believe that it should be phased out, with all other dangerous fossil fuels, as soon as possible on an emergency basis. This said, the most fuel efficient power plants now operating on earth are, in fact, combined cycle dangerous natural gas plants which operate at very high temperatures, with the heated exhaust of a natural gas flame expanding against a superalloy heat resistant turbine, and exhausted to a boiler, in which the boiling water operates a second steam turbine, a combined Brayton and Rankine cycle. (There is no compelling reason that a similar approach could not be applied with certain kinds of nuclear power plants, albeit not those of the types most commonly built.)

This afternoon, before heading to the library to prepare for my work week, I've been reading for pleasure a very interesting paper on a seemingly unrelated topic, "zero discharge wastewater," which refers to the recovery of all of the water from things like sewage discharge, industrial use, including use by power plants.

Here is a link to the paper, published by two Yale scientists: The Global Rise of Zero Liquid Discharge for Wastewater Management: Drivers, Technologies, and Future Directions (Tiezheng Tong† and Menachem Elimelech*†‡, Environ. Sci. Technol., 2016, 50 (13), pp 6846–6855)

I'd like to point briefly to an excerpt in that paper:

The development of thermolytic draw solutes, such as the ammonia−carbon dioxide (NH3/CO2), paved the way for FO incorporated ZLD systems. The NH3/CO2 draw solution generates very high osmotic pressure-driving forces and can be regenerated by low-temperature distillation.61,62 A recent pilot study demonstrated the application of FO with NH3/CO2 draw solution to concentrate produced water from the Marcellus shale region to an average salinity of 180 000 mg/L.43

Because the thermolytic NH3/CO2 draw solution decomposes at moderate temperature (approximately 60 °C at atmospheric pressure),61 low-grade thermal energy, including industrial waste heat and geothermal energy, can be utilized to regenerate the concentrated draw solution. A recent study estimated that U.S. power plants produced 803 million GJ of waste heat at temperatures greater than 90 °C in 2012.63 This amount of heat, if utilized to power the NH3/CO2 FO, could potentially produce a maximum of 1.9 billion m3 of water annually, which would meet the treatment demands for boiler water makeup and FGD wastewater systems of all U.S. power plants.64 Also, geothermal energy is abundantly available in major ZLD markets such as the U.S. and China.42,65,66

(ZLD = Zero Liquid Discharge.)

Reference 63 in this paper, which reports 803 million GJ of waste heat being available, is this paper, also in the same journal:

Quantity, Quality, and Availability of Waste Heat from United States Thermal Power Generation, out of Carnegie Mellon. (Daniel B. Gingerich† and Meagan S. Mauter*†‡ Environ. Sci. Technol. 2015, 49, 8297−8306])

803 million GJ is about 8 exajoules, roughly 8% of US total energy consumption. It is notable that the discharge of this heat is generally, in most places, a serious environmental problem in its own right.

This paper reports a parameter, α, which represents the fraction of heat that is recoverable for useful purposes, and thus will not be discarded as waste. This parameter, given in table 1, is the highest for the form of energy that is most sustainable, safest, and cleanest, nuclear energy.

The discussion is offers a direction to move in order to turn a thermal power plant liability, waste heat rejection, into an asset.

Unfortunately, this is an academic exercise, and will be ignored entirely by the powers that be, whoever they are, as we proceed mindlessly and lemming like into the climate abyss, but it's always interesting to know what might have been in a more rational world.

Enjoy your Sunday afternoon.

Greatest Show On Earth.

Cruising around the internet for interesting music, I opened a version of the Star Spangled Banner on YouTube where the leading comment was this:

HaoleboySurfEC3 weeks ago
A man of Japanese ancestry playing the national anthem written by a patriot from Maryland 200 years ago on a musical instrument of Hawaiian origin which was influenced by the guitars carried by the Portugese ranch hands. Yeaheah, that is one of the reasons we are still the greatest show on earth.

Well said sir.

Here is Jake Shimabukuro playing the "Star Spangled Banner" at Wrigley Field:

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It is our diversity which has made us.

Little Wing.

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Fields of Gold

Sung by the posthumously famous Eva Cassidy.

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Sting is an insufferable fool, but he writes a catchy, sometimes even a beautiful, tune.

CO2 readings at Mauna Loa briefly fall below 400 ppm for a few hours. Last time ever?

I monitor what's going on at the Mauna Loa observatory, and in this remarkable year, 2016, where carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are rising at the fastest rate ever recorded, I have been regularly posting here about the data, which I find even more terrifying than an idiot with orange hair running for President on an overtly racist platform. Compared to the risks of climate change, a prominent North American country going fascist is small potatoes, relatively at least.

My most recent remarks on this subject are here: All time record set for week-to-week annual measurements of annual CO2 increases at Mauna Loa.

The most recently available reported comparison between the data of a week this year in comparison to the same week of the previous year, showed that the concentration of carbon dioxide for week of July 10, 2016 was 2.81 ppm higher than the previous year. This is the first recorded piece of data since the week of March 6 that showed an increase in CO2 concentrations that was below 3.2 ppm when compared with the same week of the previous year. By itself, were 2.81 ppm higher than the previous year an annual reading as opposed to a reading from a single week, it would come in as the third worst year ever observed, after 2015 (3.05 ppm) and 1998, (2.93 ppm).

This graphic from the Mauna Loa Observatories website shows the annual data:

Carbon dioxide increases connected with the failure of humanity to take the issue seriously and think anew are climbing more or less linearly, albeit recently with a non-zero 2nd derivative. However a sinusoidal wave is superimposed on this function, as the following graphic (from the Mauna Loa CO2 Observatory's page), which should be familiar to anyone who checks this website, shows that to which I refer:

Here is a blow up from recent years:

Generally the maximum each year is reached in April or May, reflecting the concentration of landmasses in the Northern Hemisphere; the minimum is reached in late September or in early October.

In 2015, the worst year ever observed, a high reading of 404.11 ppm was reached; by September 27, it had fallen to a low of 397.2. Thus the magnitude of the swing was 6.91 ppm.

In 2016, the high was reached on April 10, at 408.69. If it falls by the same amount it will not fall below 400 ppm ever again.

However there is a certain amount of analytical noise in the readings, and something happened this week on July 18, as the weekly graphic shows, and briefly, for a few hours, values below 400 ppm were recorded, as low as 399 ppm.

Enjoy it. It may be the last time anyone now living will see something below 400 ppm. It may be just an analytical artifact, but we can dream, can't we?

July 21 recorded 404.92 ppm.

If any of this depresses you, don't worry be happy. Researchers continue to work on so called "renewable energy"; and we have "breakthroughs" announced here every day, as we have for the last 12 years. They haven't worked; they aren't working and they won't work, but it's the thought that counts, not results.

Have a nice weekend.

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