top bar
QuickTopic free message boards logo
Skip to Messages
^     All messages            48-63 of 63  32-47 >>
  Messages 63-61 deleted by author between 04-30-2010 08:02 AM and 06-29-2008 07:02 PM
young cheerleaders
01:37 PM ET (US)
It's a pleasant surprise to find a sanctury from all that modern inane garbage they call music.
04:41 PM ET (US)
Unter sind zwei digitale Kameras Minolta Verkäufe.
10:23 PM ET (US)
I'd just like to say that it is misinformed to say the solar panels produce less energy than it takes to create them. It's been shown in several studies that they produce a minimum of 4 times the power that it took to create them. You may have been looking at out dated information. Technology and manufacturing processes have greatly decreased the power required to manufacture a solar panel.
05:12 PM ET (US)
To Bristol Bachelor :-
Wind Farms do take energy out of the atmosphere. And Solar panels absorb the suns energy destined for our atmosphere. And Wave power takes energy out of the oceans. But guess what? With Global warming we have just spent 100 years fast charging that battery. Our Wind speads are up, air temps higher and oceans warmer. So I say, take our energy out of the environment, cause we just recently put it in.

As for Canals, Miving 1kg of mass by boat is very energy efficient. The next best is rail, followed a long way behind by road transport, and a gargantuan gap further back is the use of air freight!

Money only equates to the energy it represents. 20 dollars might bring you a pizza now, but would it still get you one if the shop owner had to chop wood to cook it, and the delivery boy had to ride a push bike to bring it to you? And what if the fertilizers from Natural Gas and Pesticides from Oil weren't available to provide the food for the Pizza's ingredients.

This lavish society is only temporary, and we need to use this wealth to prepare for a post fossil fuel ecconomy.
04:41 AM ET (US)
Avocatus diaboli:
Quote: "it will be less fuel efficient because, as should be obvious, water has more resistance to movement than tarmac and pneumatic tyres"
I think your a bit confused on your basic physics here. I assume when your say resistance to movement your refering to friction and water has a lot less friction than tarmac or tires which in combination produce lots of friction ( which is why a spinning tire on a big heavy truck will propell the truck forwards. Maybe you wanted to compare the air resistance vs water resistance? Anyway the amount of power (and fuel) required to move something by truck is dependent on the weight (more weight more friction, more fuel). Moving something by water the amount of friction is dependant on the surface area of the hull which is in contact with the water (ie the size of the boat not the weight). Moving heavy goods will always be more efficient (although slower) by boat than by road.

It was mention that the present canal system is designed for boats of upto 30 tonnes displacemet, actually is the victorian system which is so limited (and only certain sections because there were no agreed standards on building canals which were privately funded enterprises). The Manchester Ship Canal enables ships of up to 18000 tonnes displacement to reach Manchester from Eastham on the Mersey estuary. I believe the origional proposal called for a modern canal system along these lines.

It would be a very good idea to get some people together who know their shit to talk about the Feasability of such an idea, hang on a sec....maybe thats already happened? It has for the trasportation of goods at least:

If we could move freight of the roads onto the canals this would be a nice start, maybe then we can think about distributing power and water through the canals? Trouble is we seem to have lost the ability for long term strategic planning, something we had in spades in the victorian era. Pity!
12:35 PM ET (US)
Solar Panels:
It currently takes more energy to produce a solar panel than it can create in it's lifetime. They are great for energy in remote areas where there are no power cables, but until we have a different technology they are not as green as they look. (Yes, there are people working on this).

Hydrogen and cars:
You can currently run an internal combustion engine directly from hydrogen. You will get a similar efficiency to a fuel-cell and electronically controlled motor drive.

The IC version is currently a lot cheaper. There is a downside that you still need oil and still have some hydrocarbon emissions from the burnt oil, but the emissions are mainly water. Probably the way to go for a while.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the climate when you take several GW of energy out of the wind currents across an area? Somebody suggested a link between the killer heatwave in France a few years ago and the number of windfarms in Europe.

After the global melt-down, we all go back to living in tents tending to sheep :)
Avocatus diaboli
04:03 PM ET (US)
I started a reply to this, then had to go away for a few days because I started trying to respond to every misconception - and the result was a mess. Perhaps the best place to start is by making a very simple point. The present canal system is designed for boats up to about 30t displacement carrying, for the sake of argument, maximum loads of around 25t. At 4mph (the point at which bank erosion starts with current technology), you will be getting possibly 4mpg under ideal conditions. So to equal one 44t Artic doing 56mph, in terms of ton miles, you will need roughly 25 boats, and you will use maybe 40 times the fuel. Inconveniently, the main proposals for barge traffic are inside congested cities where artic speeds are extremely low. Widening isn't an option there, but often there are rivers (rather than canals) which can be used.
The barges on European canals range from around 360t to 4000t. At these sizes, there starts to be some economic point. However, to make use of them you would need to rebuild the entire system, confiscating in the process all the houses and businesses along the banks to gain the necessary width - say 40M, plus large amounts of land for large automated locks, catch ponds, weirs and access. And the carrying capacity will still be far less than a motorway of the same width, and it will be less fuel efficient because, as should be obvious, water has more resistance to movement than tarmac and pneumatic tyres. It was this lack of efficiency that caused canals to be obsoleted for freight by railways.
I could get very political about the way your scheme seeks to confiscate land and assets from people outside London for the benefit of people in London, just as supermarkets (based in the South-East) seek to impoverish farmers elsewhere in the country. It is not clear why people in the North should have their water stolen to send to the south, merely for the convenience of people who choose to live there. But something tells me you are a Londoner, and Londoners are remarkably obtuse about the irrationality their belief that they own everything. I know - I am a renegade Londoner who moved West thirty years ago.
However, in fact you would find the resistance to this confiscation came in many shapes and forms. Quite a lot of people do not want this country entirely converted into Watford. Towns like Hungerford and Newbury might express a little concern about the destruction if their town centres and transport links. The environment lobby - who I assume you regard as a collection of weirdos - might be a little bit upset about the wholesale destruction of sites of scientific interest. And the tourist industry would be a mite peeved at losing a sizeable slice of its income.
Back to practicalities. You may not be aware that canals go up and down, which is what locks are for (and you will need pretty big locks for your 360t barges.) They are not a good way to transport water, in fact the more common issue is one of transporting water to the canal. Open stretches of water mean that getting large volumes over summits is a bit of a technical issue. And how fast will that water have to flow? You are going to need concrete lining for the entire system.
Of course, the sensible solution is to send water through pipes. This allows you to use pressure and get readonable flow rates. What's more, you could route these pipes underground on optimised routes instead of meandering all over the country. Using modern boring equipment, surface disruptions would be minimal.
You would also increase the transport capacity of the country far more, with less disruption, by adding a single lane to every motorway and dual carriageway. Now why is that not practicable?
Finally, a word about British Waterways. My only connection with them is that I pay them over £400 a year for a licence. But I actually like BW. Far from being some fuddy-duddy, stuck in the mud organisation, they are actually a very progressive, well run company with an excellent training scheme and a huge fund of knowledge about canals. You could have saved yourself a lot of trouble by talking to them, though admittedly you wouldn't have got a story in the Inq. They would have given you the technical information you so conspicuously lack, and the economic data.
Guy KewneyPerson was signed in when posted
09:27 AM ET (US)
Thanks for the messages so far.

Some very good points there, particularly the one about needing very slow flow on a working canal. Numbers needed, I think; width, depth, capacity, flow rate.

I was also struck by the idea that canals might have to stop at the fringes of large cities. Almost certainly true, at first, I suspect.

We should organise some kind of get together in the next month or so. I mean, in the next month or so, we should organise it! - I'm not going to be back in the UK much in the next few weeks. But it would be nice to meet a few faces, and chat about it in real time...

old boatman
08:51 AM ET (US)
Having spent many many hours reading 'eco' sites, this is the first article about Englands canals I have ever found. Such simple practical solutions rarely surface. I live next to the Leeds-Liverpool. That's not a narrow canal. But never a commercial boat goes past. British waterways don't want it. Check out their web site, which has all the appearance of a leisure organisation. The only work being undertaken, is in London, with the intention of lowering road traffic in the capital city.
With respect, Solar Bud, - New vitality? You only give examples of 'prettying it up' for the leisure industry. None of the business of actually moving goods around.
Sorry, The wrong ethos runs our country. Until things get really bad, and theres no other way of shifting things, will anything get done.
Solar Bud
07:28 AM ET (US)
A great idea - but you could do it with existing canals, I reckon.

Anything too big to go by canal should go round the coast by ship. Many big cities e.g. Manchester have their own ship canal which runs into the centre of town, where big loads can be broken up and re-distributed by the smaller canals.

Here in and around Manchester and the North West, there is already a big renovation of canals going on - with the emphasis on making the former tow-paths walkable, and the canal-side environment attractive and open, with cafes, apartments etc.

Even as I write, the canals of the UK are re-emerging with a new vitality. I think the new renaissance of British canals is well underway.
Johnny Boy
11:53 PM ET (US)
Good article. Good idea. But lets start by taxing aviation fuel loads and loads. Then we can use the money raised to pay for the canals!
Edited 09-12-2006 11:56 PM
01:04 PM ET (US)
Here's a thought.

If we could shift to a fuel economy based on hydrogen and electricity, derived from solar sources, wouldn't that be a great use for all those nasty deserts around the equator?

You could maybe do something productive in the shade as well.....

The world's energy consumption is about 12 Tera Watts at the moment and expected to double in 30 years.

Lets call it 30TW for fun

Sunlight falling on the ground at the equator is about 1kw per sq metre

Commercial solar cells are up to about 20% efficient (but rapidly getting better)

You'd need a solar farm of about 250 miles on a side to provide that amount of power.

That's it. The whole world.

Block 250 miles x 250 miles on the Sahara. Its tiny

OK, assume you'd get power about 25% of the time, so build four times as much farm and distribute it in smaller chunks around the globe.
That's still a total equal to a square 500 miles x 500 miles

You're still only talking about satisfying the world's energy needs from a total of, say, a hundred sites, each about 50 miles x 50 miles.
You may need the same area again for plant and solar collectors to process seawater by electrolysis, although I'm sure our chemist friends can suggest alternative reactions to produce hydrogen.

Use distributed gas storage and tank storage underground and above ground storage just like we do at the moment.

I'd submit that it was do-able to make a start NOW.

Hydrogen would be great for power generation and heating straight away.

Its trickier to run a car on hydrogen very well at the moment, but give fuel cells a while. In themeantime, there's industrial proceses thatcould also use solar power directly to catalytically combine hydrogen with, say CO2 or CO and produce methane or even longer chain molecules, all the way upp to synthetic oils, paraffins like diesel or alcohols like petrol.

You get low-cost power, shade in the desert, use for therwise barren land, sustainable power, huge development in relatively poor countries, with service needs that could be locallly provided.

Heck, you could even make the silicon for the cells from the desert sand itself!
Edited 09-12-2006 01:13 PM
11:39 AM ET (US)
Just reading down looking at messages about how much oil there is left, perhaps you should not be worrying about that, but the damage greenhouse emersions are doing to the world.

Please dont give me any of the arguments about "its not proven" etc. It is Coral reefs are dieing (ive seen it bleaching), animals are changing their habitat and breeding. That’s just Bush propaganda. If we dont do somthing soon it will be to late. Some think it is to late.

Please also dont give me any of the BS about "road transport is only a small percentage of the emissions". I know that, but every little helps.
Top idea
11:30 AM ET (US)
I think that a return to using canals is a brilliant idea, as do some major players in industry. What we really need is investment in the infrastructure, because if that is there then the canal transport business will boom.

Shifting goods by canal is cheaper and more effective than by lorry. As you say barges use very little fuel, probably less that the 'pleasure barges' do, because they can use high efficiency direct injection engines and the like which are currently used by people wanting a chugy "oldie worldy" feel to there holiday. On top of this a barge can hall somthing like 10 times the load of a lorry, with the same labour cost, and the barges themselves should cost around the same amount as a modern lorry once they are in mass production.

This is not taking into account the fact that you could augment the engines power using some kind of advanced hybrid using both hydro electric generation from stopping the boat and, perhaps, wind turbines mounted on the barge (in much the same way as many pleasure boats and caravans do for power), perhaps even combined with solar panels across the whole of the boats roof (if it were carrying cargo which required protection from the elements).

The other thing to consider is that the canals would probably not need widening because as long as there is room for one boat each way then you should be fine. I doubted there would be too much need for overtaking, as long as goods barges had priority over pleasure craft (especial at locks)

Anyway, that is my bit of "blue sky" thinking for today, back into "the box"

^     All messages            48-63 of 63  32-47 >>