The Energy Matrix
A Science Ebook e-zine  Fall 2008 Edition
 ( Winter 2007 SubWeb)


This e-zine will examine all alternative energy technology and new energy conservation systems.

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Water Falls

Two large ducts carry some of the water from this river to a generating plant near base of fall.  When the river is near flood stage most of the water goes over the fall and the energy is dissipated.  Some estimate that the United States is only exploiting a fraction of its potential hydro-electric 
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Elimination of the burning of Diesel and Propane for heating could result as part expanded Natural Gas Network.

Mr. Pickens and some natural gas suppliers have suggested that utilities stop burning natural gas and substitute green solar and wind power for electricity production.  The gas could then  be compressed and used to fuel trucks and cars.  Thank God someone with capital is developing a serious green energy policy.

Natural gas vehicles will require an expanded nationwide gas distribution system. The US already has an extensive natural gas pipeline.  One of my first memories from my childhood in New York City was that we got gas for our refrigerator and stove from a Texas pipeline. We used coal for hot water and heat.  My point is that the technology to ship gas long distances existed over sixty years ago.  So expanding the current pipeline grid to reach every corner of the country, so that their are no dead zones where natural gas powered vehicles will find themselves without gas, is possible.  However, the expansion of gas pipelines will be a major national project. 

I feel that the this expansion should should include service to those who are presently using diesel or propane to heat their homes.  This would free up diesel and propane for use by vehicles that already exist.  Many gas stations already provide propane service.



Cheap Oil, Oct.19,2008 

Bad news for clean alternative energy, Oil drops to about $70 a barrel. If your trying to sell or develop alternative energy, cheap oil is bad news, because it undercuts alternative products.
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Cogeneration growing. 

Central heating systems date back to the days of DC power generation in lower Manhattan during the Edison/Telsa Era. High Pressure Steam Plants provided steam
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Heat Storage 

Heat storage are an important  element of solar power systems.  Power plants that use concentrated solar heat to generate steam to drive turbine driven electric generators, require heat storage to maintain steady power output. See reference article, Click here Heat stored in super heated water can provide steam to meet sudden changes in load.   
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Index for all Editions


Combined Heat & Power (CHP) 

DC Power Grid

District Cooling

Ethanol Viability

Hybrid Cars

Ice made with Coal

Ice Energy Density versus Battery

Heat Storage


Nuclear Energy

Solar Heat Storage in CO2

Solar Heat Storage in Water

Storing Carbon Dioxide

Stoves - Corn Burning

Stoves - Wood Pellet Burning

Stoves - Coal Burning

Tar Sand Oil


Yucca Mountain










      Cogeneration (Continued)

to heat tall buildings and to drive machinery in manufacturing plants.  Edison electrified down town Manhattan in the fall of 1882, with power from the Pearl Street  station.  The large dynamos of the Pearl Street station were powered by steam from its coal fired boilers.  At that period steam engines exhausted their spent steam directly into the atmosphere generating waste heat at over 100 degrees centigrade. See reference article, Click here!  All the elements for cogeneration were available at that time.  There were blocks of building and factories that were supplied with steam from central plants, and there were many homes close by that were burning coal in their cellars to produce low pressure steam to heat rooms.  Then, coal was cheap, and no one worried to much about pollution.  There was no impetus to invest capital on cogeneration.  

Today we are concerned about the cost of electricity for power and the cost of oil for heat.  However, we no longer have steam distribution networks in our cities.  The cost of  power  plants that outputted both electricity and heat would be considerable.  The cost of networks of insulated pipes for low pressure steam or hot water distribution would be immense today as would be cost of getting a permit  to construct a smoke stake in the center of any city in the USA.  In many parts of World central heating plants are in use today, these cities are in an excellent position to take advantage of centralized cogeneration systems.  

However, an inverse technology is taking hold even in the USA..  Rather than produce power and sell the heat.  Many  facilities are producing heat and hot water and selling the electricity back to the electric utilities.  One method is to use gas turbines to generate  electricity and  than heat water or air with the turbine exhaust.  Excess electricity is sold back to the electric company via the existing power lines.  Utilities that sell both gas and electricity are promoting this technology. 

However most of the electricity in the USA is produced using coal fired boilers, and the waste heat is dumped into our rivers.  This heat is generally considered environmental pollution.  

Cogeneration and heat transport using steam for a distance of over six miles was practiced in Germany in 1937. Click hear for details. Today we could probably design pipe lines that operate at less than one atmosphere.  Thus, low exhaust head pressure could be provided for steam turbines at a power plants and this steam travel many miles to condensers in city centers.  In the city centers the condenser heat could be used to heat water for central heating systems.  Low pressure lines would have to be almost completely devoid of curves and be well insulated.  They would be an expensive option, but should be included in the energy matrix.





Other Editions

Spring 2007 Ed.

  Summer 2007 Ed

  Fall 2007 Ed.

 Winter 2008 Ed.

  Spring 2008 Ed.

  Summer 2008 Ed



What is the Matrix?

I am beginning this e-zine with a list of alternative energy technologies. These will create the vertical axis of the matrix.  It will be become apparent that most of these technologies can be combined to form various energy systems. For example solar energy could be combined with heat storage technology, or it could be combined with battery technology. Thus must technologies must also be listed on a horizontal axis if all possible energy systems are to be included in the array.  The reason so many systems need to be defined and eventually computer modeled is so that only the best can be selected.  Eventually our energy department will have to calculate the best approach to deal with our future energy needs.

In the future we will consider questions such as "Is corn a better solar collector than silicon?"


Nuclear Energy and HVDC

The safety of nuclear energy is hotly contested in the US.  High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission will not effect nuclear plant safety.  It could make worst case scenario nuclear accidents economic impact less severe. HVDC 
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Practical Electric Cars  by 2010

By 2010,Japan will have electric cars  with 50 mile range and capability of being recharged in 15 minutes.  The cars will use lithium battery packs that will last 
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Last updated: January 24, 2012.