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Ballard Power Systems Inc. Message Board

  • gomor9 gomor9 Nov 18, 2002 2:16 PM Flag

    DOE on wind energy

    "Wind energy is very abundant. Wind resources are characterized by wind-power density classes, ranging from class 1 (the lowest) to class 7 (the highest). Good wind resources (class 3 and above) which have an average annual wind speed of at least 13 miles per hour, are found along the east coast, the Appalachian Mountain chain, the Great Plains, the Pacific Northwest, and some other locations. North Dakota, alone, has enough energy from class 4 and higher winds to supply 36% of the electricity of the lower 48 states".

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    • Of course you conveniently leave off the VERY NEXT sentence in the paragraph:
      "Of course, it would be impractical to move electricity everywhere from North Dakota."

      Never mind the practicality or cost/benefit ratio of trying to cover the entire state of North Dakota with turbines even if you could move the energy.

      Finally, you gotta be real skeptical of statements as general as the one made. Does the wind contain that much power or is there that much power recoverable? Are we talking about instantaneous power when the wind is blowing or sustainable MWH?

      • 3 Replies to feets_dont_failme_now
      • Feets, I don't have professional expertise on wind energy, but probably Gomor's post from DOE is fairly accurate (by the way, welcome back, Gomor!).
        Wind turbines are certainly viable technically and I wouldn't dispute the claim that the total wind energy in North Dakota is a substantial fraction of domestic energy needs. You could probably make a similar claim about solar energy in our southern states. However, it is not obvious how much of that energy can be captured and converted to electricity or other useful energy, especially if you have to compete in a free market against fossil fuels (most of the windmill projects are subsidized as far as I know). Imagine the scale of the program which would literally attempt to capture all the wind in North Dakota.
        Now, how does this relate to the automotive fuel cell? There needs to be a scenario in which hydrogen production is favored over petroleum drilling. In addition, having established that hydrogen production capacity, something needs to discourage production of gasoline and diesel fuel via hydrogenation and direct liquefaction of coal (i.e., coal + hydrogen
        --> gasoline + diesel. Thus, even if renewables become very cheap and oil vanishes, I don't think the economy will turn away from gasoline and diesel.
        The main thing that would favor fuel cells would be a government ban on fossil fuels. One might imagine a scenario in which the greenhouse effect is perceived as very a real and severe threat such that world governments become willing to ban fossil fuel production, even if it wreaks worldwide economic chaos. When Hillary is elected, I am going to take that scenario much more seriously.

      • Feets, you seem to be confused about power and energy. Back to science 101.

        When it is said that the estimated average POWER needed by a car, or any device, is 20KW it is power, instantaneous power. When the statement of DOE says 1,500,000 Megawatts it is power. Then at any one time as long as power is available it will get anything going by whatever transformation of this power has taken place.

        If you are interested in how much ENERGY these cars consume in 10 hours, then they will have demanded 200 KWHR each.

        But the energy calculation is irrelevant in estimating the possibility of wind supplying the power to these cars. As long as the wind blows it will provide the energy ALL DAY LONG, and hopefully forever.

        Contrast this to an oil well: If all the oil was used at one time it may power all the cars, but when it runs dry, good by transportation.

        In the real scenario, the wells will not run dry overnight, but threaten to be depleted. Watch the price squeeze coming from the nations that own these wells. Shell's CEO's presentation give the definite impression that the squeeze will be on way before 2025.

        Prepare yourself to open your wallet, or to vote for the right people with VISION.

      • Hi Feets.

        In your post number 75836 you stated that:

        �wind does NOT have sufficient energy density to EVER represent but a very minor part of the nations energy mix. Not that it is insignificant, but it will NEVER be more than 5%�.

        The DOE map and statement that �North Dakota, alone, has enough energy from class 4 and higher winds to supply 36% of the electricity of the lower 48 states". � tends to disagree with your statement that the basic resource is inadequate.

        I believe that the energy mix of the United States will be pluralistic for at least the next half century, and that wind is one of many options that are open to us. I vaguely recall that Denmark is currently obtaining 15% of her electric power from the wind, and that Germany intends to get 10% from the wind in the near future.

        For years, I have been getting a portion of my (Southern California) electric power from wind turbines located near Palm Springs, so the method appears to be feasible and economic under the appropriate circumstances.

        Best Regards - gomor

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