Sustainable Energy Technologies

Comparative Review of Sustainable Energy Sources
Energy Storage:

Energy Density of Some Materials (KHW/kg)

Energy density storage drives the choices that can be made. Technology helps to drive this. At present energy storage in batteries is not sufficiently high to solve the basic problem.

Hence The Advanced Battery Consortium

For the future our choices are:

Every form of energy generation has environmental fall-out. Can we pick the best one globally and or locally? As long as the decisions are driven by "voodoo" economics (i.e. heavy subsidy), intelligent decisions are not likely to occur.

Most forms of alternative energy genearation require much less of an organizational infrastructure. This means that a shift to alternative energies means a loss of jobs. This is undesireable to most politicians.

What happens if we try to be objective and evaluate our choices via some standard considerations, such as:

Evaluation Criteria for Alternative Energies:

Comparative Table

Evaluation

Solar Thermal

PV

Hydro

Wind

OTEC

Tidal

GEO

Biomass

Capital Costs

Large

Large

Enormous

Moderate

Enormous+

Enormous

Small

Small

Operating Costs

Moderate

Moderate

Neglegible

Small

Unknown

Neglegible

Small

Moderate

Efficiency

15%

5--10%

80%

42%

7% +

25%

100%

25%

Renewable

Yes

Yes

Yes

Erratic

Yes

Yes

NO

Maybe

Storage

Not Needed

Unclear

Built-IN

Essential

Not Needed

Unclear

Not Needed

Not Needed

Pollution

None Really

Waste Heat

None

Visual

None

None

Steam Plumes

Particulates; CO

Levelized Costs

25 cents KWH

16 cents KWH

4 cents KWH

3.5 cents KWH

Unknown

Unknown

Low

Unknown

Environmental Impact

Moderate

Large

Enormous

Small

Unknown

Outrageous

Small

Moderate

Large Scale

Too Expensive

Possible but Expensive

Proven already

Very Possible

The Solution

Discrete Locations

Discrete Locations

Net Energy Gain?

Small Scale

NO

Difficult

Low Head --> Legal

Definitely

NO

NO

NO

Absolutely

Unit Capacity

1000 MW

Depends on Acreage

2000-6000 MW

Highly Variable

As large as you need

250 MW

1000 MW

50-100 MW

Employment Opportunties

Few

Few

Few

Few

Lots to build it

Some

Few

Many

What about Energy Storage?

Options:

Bottom line(s):

Wind energy coupled with advanced battery design has real promise.

OTEC provides a truly large scale solution

Solar PV does not look economically viable on the large scale.