American Wildfires

xtsho

Well-Known Member
Right. Golf Courses in Palm Springs. Then, there are all those in Arizona, the Phoenix area, in particular, that cater to a small fraction of the populace.
Golf courses! Just think of it, fucking golf courses! Just a damn playground sucking water.
There are over 300 golf courses in Arizona but there are over 900 in California. Both states that are severely impacted by the drought yet they allow precious water to be wasted on golf courses. Many of which are private and off limits to the public.

Stopping the waste of water right there would definitely make a dent in things. I find it appalling that under the conditions some of these states are facing that watering golf courses is even allowed. It's because of decades old asinine water right agreements that don't have the best use of water in mind.

I was just watching a short topic on a place in Arizona where local ranchers have been raising cattle for generations. Now some out of state mega feedlots are setting up operations and planting thousands of acres of corn and silage to feed the cattle. In the process they're digging wells and sucking out the groundwater and dropping the water table significantly to irrigate. When the water runs out they'll just pack up and move operations somewhere else and do the same thing all over again. Leaving the local ranchers with no water.
 

hanimmal

Well-Known Member
not the salt. It's the energy used to desalinate. Right now, that energy is tied to carbon emissions that we need to cut, not find new ways to generate more carbon.
I was thinking along the lines of this (again, this is bro science to me, so I don't know what I am missing):

https://www.power-technology.com/features/city-water-infrastructure-hydropower/Screen Shot 2021-06-19 at 6.13.26 PM.png
Water has been a source of energy for thousands of years, from the water wheels used by the ancient Greeks to the colossal hydropower dams in South America and China. Dams that use a stream of water to turn a turbine and create electricity are common around the world, producing zero-carbon, reliable power for cities. Hydropower is now the largest source of renewable electricity in the world, accounting for 1,200GW of installed capacity, or 17% of global electricity.

However, there are vast networks of water that until recently have been ignored as a source of potential power. Cities and towns have miles of drinking water and sewage pipes running beneath them; in the US alone, there are 1.2 million miles of drinking water pipes.

Now, micro-hydropower technologies are beginning to harvest the energy from these networks using specially designed in-pipe turbines. Portland-based company Lucid Energy is generating power in several US cities using its micro-hydro, in-pipe turbine systems, called LucidPipes. These can replace pressure-release valves in drinking water networks, capturing energy that has previously been wasted.


In 2015, Lucid became the first micro-hydro company to sign a power purchase agreement, and began selling its energy to the grid. This is a big step forward for micro-hydro, which has previously been used predominantly in trials or on a small scale, generating energy to offset water suppliers’ large energy demands.

Utilising the water that flows beneath our feet seems like a no-brainer, but can we expect the technology to take off?


Simple, efficient turbines

In-pipe turbines can be placed in gravity-fed water networks, common in towns and cities where reservoirs are used for storage. As the water travels through the system it builds up a lot of speed, creating pressure. Currently, this is controlled using pressure-reduction valves, which release the energy potential as heat, wasting it instead of capturing it.

Technology systems like the five-bladed LucidPipe can be placed at these valves. As the water travels through the spherical turbines, they spin, turning a generator and creating electricity.

Jonathan Fink, vice president for research and strategic partnerships at Portland University, told The Guardian that the LucidPipe technology is “pretty much a win-win”.

“Like a lot of cities, water coming into Portland is gravity-fed, and [the water utility has] to slow down the water as it comes down the hill. Typically, the energy [of the rushing water] is lost as heat. With Lucid’s technology they can convert it into electricity,” he said in 2015.

Whilst seemingly a simple concept, the importance of water networks means that these turbines must not affect supply or transport in any way. Lucid claims its technology does not impede the movement of water, and can continue turning 24 hours a day, at a constant rate.

The city of Portland in Oregon began using LucidPipes in 2015, as part of a $1.7m project. There are now 50 pipes installed in the city, generating 1,100MWh of electricity annually. This is enough to power roughly 150 homes in the city.

Elsewhere, a number of companies have developed and tested similar in-pipe technologies. Soar Energy has installed turbines in Oregon and Hawaii, whilst Halifax in Nova Scotia became the first Canadian city to take advantage of in-pipe hydropower in 2014. It installed a system capable of generating 32kW within a drinking water distribution control chamber, which powers around 30 homes and generates $29,000 in revenue annually.

In Richmond, Utah, New York-based Rentricity successfully completed a trial of a micro-hydro turbine within an irrigation system in 2017. “The addition of the microgrid to generate power from the pressurised irrigation water while continuing to serve our shareholders just made perfect sense!” said Terry Spackman, president of Richmond Irrigation Company.

In Europe, Scottish Water launched a £20m in-pipe hydropower scheme in 2012. Turbines were placed in water and wastewater treatment plants, lowering the power cost of water treatment by 10%.

A clean and consistent opportunity

As the world becomes increasingly urbanised and the demand for energy grows, even small-scale renewable sources of power are increasing in demand. Whilst micro-hydro may not provide the big payloads of hydropower dams, it offers a local solution that takes full advantage of previously wasted resources.

Most of the projects in place around the world use the energy generated to offset that required by the water systems’ operations themselves. 20% of the electricity consumed in California, for example, is used by the state’s water sector, where it is needed for groundwater pumping, water treatment and water recycling.

The large energy requirements of the water sector are costly and can place a strain on grid systems, many of which are already struggling with increased demand. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that companies such as Scottish Water have turned to in-pipe micro-hydro technologies, along with wind and solar, to compensate.

Unlike large-scale projects, micro-hydro doesn’t have a detrimental impact on local environments. Despite being a carbon-neutral source of power, hydropower often comes under criticism for damaging the ecosystems that surround dams by diverting water and altering water planes.

Hydropower is also expected to falter in coming years, as the world becomes hotter and droughts more common. African nations in particular are predicted to suffer devastating blackouts if they continue to rely heavily on large-scale hydropower. As such, diversification to include technology such as solar and wind, but also small-scale technologies like micro-hydro, will be essential for energy security.

With just 50 LucidPipes, the company is able to power 150 homes. There are, however, almost 300,000 households in Portland, so to power the whole city using these turbines would require 100,000 systems; combined, these could place a strain on water pressure levels, an effect that would be exacerbated in even larger cities.

This issue could result in micro-hydro never becoming a major power source, but the technology could undoubtedly play an important part in the energy mix. As demand grows, scavenging as much waste energy as possible will increasingly become a necessity. Micro-hydro provides an opportunity for carbon-neutral power that is consistent and predictable, should water networks choose to retrofit.
Again I am being a bro-scientist and might just be reading some scam. So feel free to troll me where I am wrong.

And over hundreds/thousands of miles use a more naturally flowing system to clean everything we draw out of the ocean. I would imagine we would have to have stations in key areas to drop out the salt, but I don't understand why we could build roads everywhere and not run water in from the ocean relatively easily and energy efficiently.
 

Dr.Amber Trichome

Well-Known Member
There are over 300 golf courses in Arizona but there are over 900 in California. Both states that are severely impacted by the drought yet they allow precious water to be wasted on golf courses. Many of which are private and off limits to the public.

Stopping the waste of water right there would definitely make a dent in things. I find it appalling that under the conditions some of these states are facing that watering golf courses is even allowed. It's because of decades old asinine water right agreements that don't have the best use of water in mind.

I was just watching a short topic on a place in Arizona where local ranchers have been raising cattle for generations. Now some out of state mega feedlots are setting up operations and planting thousands of acres of corn and silage to feed the cattle. In the process they're digging wells and sucking out the groundwater and dropping the water table significantly to irrigate. When the water runs out they'll just pack up and move operations somewhere else and do the same thing all over again. Leaving the local ranchers with no water.
Golf courses are an environmental menace. They should be replaced with homeless encampments .
 

Aeroknow

Well-Known Member
I lost my clubs in the Camp Fire :-( haven’t played a round since.

Crazy shit though. Right before the fire, PG&E was staged, on a massive scale, at a golf course that had just shut down right below Paradise. They were finally going to do some work up there. They were supposed to cleanup a bunch of branches over power lines on my property right around when the fire hit.
 

Fogdog

Well-Known Member
I was thinking along the lines of this (again, this is bro science to me, so I don't know what I am missing):



Again I am being a bro-scientist and might just be reading some scam. So feel free to troll me where I am wrong.

And over hundreds/thousands of miles use a more naturally flowing system to clean everything we draw out of the ocean. I would imagine we would have to have stations in key areas to drop out the salt, but I don't understand why we could build roads everywhere and not run water in from the ocean relatively easily and energy efficiently.
Lemme go there with you for a moment.


"Pump water up hill from the sea to some high point. Then use the energy released when the water goes downhill to make the sea water drinkable. "

The energy used to pump the water up hill will not equal the energy needed to treat and desalinate and distribute it. Not trolling but I have to say what you describe sounds to me like a perpetual motion machine that makes more energy than it consumes.


 

DIY-HP-LED

Well-Known Member
I was thinking along the lines of this (again, this is bro science to me, so I don't know what I am missing):



Again I am being a bro-scientist and might just be reading some scam. So feel free to troll me where I am wrong.

And over hundreds/thousands of miles use a more naturally flowing system to clean everything we draw out of the ocean. I would imagine we would have to have stations in key areas to drop out the salt, but I don't understand why we could build roads everywhere and not run water in from the ocean relatively easily and energy efficiently.
That ubiquitous miracle material graphene and associated materials promise to make desalination cheaper and less energy intensive and there are several companies pursuing this.
Graphene-based sieve turns seawater into drinking water - BBC News

Solar desalinization in some places is another option and there are several schemes. Also coating the inside of a hydrogen tank with a single layer of graphene makes it impermeable to hydrogen, so it would be useful for storing that too. Hydrogen can also be generated using solar power by photosynthetic means, photosynthesis can not only capture solar energy, it can store it too.

Graphene displays unexpected permeability (scitation.org)

Pumping water up a hill is used as a mechanical battery to store energy for buffering power grids during peak demand and is among the most efficient and widely used energy storage methods, but ya need the geography.
 

hanimmal

Well-Known Member
Lemme go there with you for a moment.


"Pump water up hill from the sea to some high point. Then use the energy released when the water goes downhill to make the sea water drinkable. "

The energy used to pump the water up hill will not equal the energy needed to treat and desalinate and distribute it. Not trolling but I have to say what you describe sounds to me like a perpetual motion machine that makes more energy than it consumes.


And fresh water.

I was not thinking of this as a way to generate electricity as the goal, but for moving water into the interior of our nation that we used up and cut down all the vegetation that kept it from evaporating.

From what I have seen,

Desalination is possible. Moving the water from the ocean to anywhere we want is possible (we do it with oil). And outside of the pollution that we would also be drawing in from the ocean, there would be salt as pollution.

So some huge public works project like this vs mega fires and mega droughts, I really don't see why it couldn't work.


That ubiquitous miracle material graphene and associated materials promise to make desalination cheaper and less energy intensive and there are several companies pursuing this.
Graphene-based sieve turns seawater into drinking water - BBC News

Solar desalinization in some places is another option and there are several schemes. Also coating the inside of a hydrogen tank with a single layer of graphene makes it impermeable to hydrogen, so it would be useful for storing that too. Hydrogen can also be generated using solar power by photosynthetic means, photosynthesis can not only capture solar energy, it can store it too.

Graphene displays unexpected permeability (scitation.org)

Pumping water up a hill is used as a mechanical battery to store energy for buffering power grids during peak demand and is among the most efficient and widely used energy storage methods, but ya need the geography.
I was thinking along the lines of this kind of tech added to larger scale more natural methods like described in this video:


Maybe a series of lakes that the water flows to clean the water as it moves to where we need it in order to safely clean it, and then from there it gets pumped out to into the usable water grid from there.

And have some redundancy, have maybe 4 in the west (Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Texas) that draw in from different parts of the ocean to clean and send back out from there.

And use it to grow back all of the vegetation that we clear cut last couple centuries.
 

Budley Doright

Well-Known Member
Pumping water and other means of storing energy is a way to utilize green energy to allow peak demand to be met with the stored energy that was produced off peak. We need to really start to focus on using less IMO instead of thinking “how can we keep up with our insatiable needs”. And as a side note golf is a great way to waste a half a day along with ruining the environment. I haven’t played since my son in law broke my driver in half (6 years) lol.
 

hanimmal

Well-Known Member
Pumping water and other means of storing energy is a way to utilize green energy to allow peak demand to be met with the stored energy that was produced off peak. We need to really start to focus on using less IMO instead of thinking “how can we keep up with our insatiable needs”.
I look at it more as replacing what we took out over the last couple hundred years intelligently.

I don't think that just hoping it all gets back on track if humans suddenly stopped burning and dumping chemicals everywhere is really an option.

Unless you are in a death cult and think that the 'end of the world is neigh' kind of shit (not saying you are). Because who cares about human caused pollution and climate change if it is all going to end anyway.

We need to clean up our mess, and that is going to take a whole lot of water to feed the vegetation we chewed up.

And it makes sense to me to stop using local fresh water sources if we can avoid it in most areas so that we can stop polluting it with all of our cleaning products we flush out of our homes.

And as a side note golf is a great way to waste a half a day along with ruining the environment. I haven’t played since my son in law broke my driver in half (6 years) lol.
I liked golf and really do find the courses visually beautiful. But they are as wasteful as a lawn IMO. Plant trees on them all.
 

Funkentelechy

Well-Known Member
I don't doubt that desalinization may be employed to lessen the need for water in certain areas in the US going into the future. But it is not a good solution environmentally. Here is some info from sciencing.com that addresses some of these environmental issues.

"Desalination is not a fail-safe process and carries with it many environmental repercussions. The disadvantages of desalination are causing many people to think twice before starting desalination projects".

Waste Disposal
As with any process, desalination has by-products that must be taken care of. The process of desalination requires pre-treatment and cleaning chemicals, which are added to water before desalination to make the treatment more efficient and successful. These chemicals include chlorine, hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide, and they can be used for only a limited amount of time. Once they've lost their ability to clean the water, these chemicals are dumped, which becomes a major environmental concern. These chemicals often find their way back into the ocean, where they poison plant and animal life.
Brine Production
Brine is the side product of desalination. While the purified water goes on to be processed and put into human use, the water that is left over, which has a super saturation of salt, must be disposed of. Most desalination plants pump this brine back into the ocean, which presents another environmental drawback. Ocean species are not equipped to adjust to the immediate change in salinity caused by the release of brine into the area. The super-saturated salt water also decreases oxygen levels in the water, causing animals and plants to suffocate.

Ocean Populations
The organisms most commonly affected by brine and chemical discharge from desalination plants are plankton and phytoplankton, which form the base of all marine life by forming the base of the food chain. Desalination plants therefore have the ability to negatively affect the population of animals in the ocean. These effects are further developed through the disadvantages caused by desalination "impingement" and "entrainment." While sucking ocean water in for desalination, the plants trap and kill animals, plants and eggs, many of which belong to endangered species. In addition, the desalination process uses or produces numerous chemicals including chlorine, carbon dioxide, hydrochloric acid and anti-scalents that can be harmful in high concentrations.
Health Concerns
Desalination is not a perfected technology, and desalinated water can be harmful to human health as well. By-products of the chemicals used in desalination can get through into the "pure" water and endanger the people who drink it. Desalinated water can also be acidic to both pipes and digestive systems.
Energy Use
In an age where energy is becoming increasingly precious, desalination plants have the disadvantage of requiring large amounts of power. Other water treatment technologies are more energy efficient.

High Costs to Build and Operate
It is very costly to build and operate desalination plants. Depending on their location, building a plant can cost from $300 million to $2.9 billion. Once operational, plants require huge amounts of energy. Energy costs account for one-third to one-half of the total cost of producing desalinated water. Because energy is such a large portion of the total cost, the cost is also greatly affected by changes in the price of energy. It is estimated that a one cent increase in the cost of a kilowatt-hour of energy raises the cost of of one acre-foot of desalinated water by $50.



You've also mentioned creating "a series of lakes" that gradually decrease in salinity. Creating a salt lake would irreparably destroy the soil and contaminate the ground water in the vicinity around in salt lake you create. Have you heard of the Salton Sea?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salton_Sea

Also completely independent of environmental impact, or financial viability, desalinization would not in any way address issues with wildfires in the west. Wildfires in the west are not happening because of a lack of water availability to municipal sources, they are happening because of lack of snowpack and rain which increase the moisture content of the flammable duff on the forest floor.
There is literally no way to pump water desalinized or not en masse onto the areas where the western wildfires are likely to happen. Remember that snowpack and rainfall are needed as a preventative for wildfires, they work by keeping the forest moist before fire season. We already have airplanes and helicopters that can dump water and flame retardant onto a fire that has already started, that's not what we are talking about, what is needed is increased moisture content in the forest to stop a forest fire before it starts after a fire starts it's too late.

There is no practical way even if we had infinite amounts of desalinized water to water all the forests of the west, so that they were properly moist, ahead of fire season. There is no way to distribute the water to all of those areas on a regular enough basis to address fire danger, it has to happen in the form of snow and rain. Fires are happening due to a lack of precipitation.

The Sierra Nevada mountain range which runs down most of the eastern side of California, north to south, is 39,612 mi², (notice that's square miles), most of which is wilderness, forest service land, or private logging land. There aren't even roads into much of that land let alone...what...I guess a fire hydrant or some other way of delivering this water. Airplanes and helicopters can dump water in small areas, but aside from the hydrocarbons from the fuel used and the financial cost to operate, they still would never be able to come close to distributing enough water across that much land to properly water the forest.
Then there's the Cascades 58,484 mi², the Rocky Mountains 382,894 mi², the Bitterroots, the coastal range, etc, etc.
 

Don't Bogart

Well-Known Member
I've been reading through this post and my head spins. I knew the west coast and adjoining states were in crisis but....whew.
Here in New England we panic over our "drought" situation. It's a laugh. I mean it's serious but my neighbors with there in ground sprinklers move the timer to run at dawn. Towns do nothing to enforce water usage. Only one house in my neighborhood has it's own well.
Several years back I visited my son-in-law outside of San Diego. I walked out into the back yard. My daughter-in-law said, "Your lucky we had rain last week and everything is green." GREEN?? My yard never looked this bad. Well now it does I don't run any sprinklers just hand water but it recovers in the fall. I really don't know the pain.
 
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