[mythtv-users] [Slightly OT] solar power for all our gadgets

Raphael rpooser at gmail.com
Sat Mar 21 05:20:10 UTC 2009

Carl Reynolds wrote:
> Jeff Walther wrote:
>> ...
>> If you wish to object to our injecting heat into the ecosystem, we 
>> have nothing more to discuss.  Physics and the need to keep billions 
>> of people alive says we're going to do that.
> Jeff,
> Thanks for your response. I think you have made a number of interesting 
> points. I'll have to take the time to look into them. As this is so far 
> off topic for the myth-user's list, I'm going to make my response brief 
> and only respond to one of your points.
> I am not trying to say that we should stop all energy production. I 
> agree with you that energy will be an essential part of maintaining and 
> growing the culture we have established on this planet. I just want us 
> to stop using in excess of 600 watts an hour to keep one light bulb 
> burning for that time. There are other means of producing electricity 
> than the Carnot cycle engine and we are spending little or none of our 
> resources to find and use those other means. I like the idea of wind 
> power, solar power, etc. But I think you and I agree that they are not 
> sufficient to provide our electrical needs at the current time. There 
> was a small amount of research performed in the '70s and '80s into 
> producing electric directly from fusion, and into using Magnet 
> Hydro-Dynamic for the production of electricity. These and other 
> projects should be encouraged rather than spending the billions we are 
> spending on trying to further the use of Carnot cycle engines.

The Carnot cycle is the most efficient heat engine there is. Any form of 
energy production that relies on burning something or otherwise using 
heat as the energy source will have to use the Carnot cycle to extract 
work if maximum efficiency is desired. "Other means" as you describe 
would require abandoning using heat in any form as a source of energy, 
except for situations where the heat is directly used to heat a house 
(such as with geothermal heating). Fusion research is still going on, btw.


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