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Energy as a System, Systems as Synergy

by gmoke Mon Sep 5th, 2022 at 02:25:01 AM EST

IT has designed a program which maximizes the production of wind farms by operating the wind farm as a system, not individual wind turbines.  Reducing downwind turbulence within the whole wind farm can increase energy production by 1.2% to 3%, a result validated by field trials in working wind farms.

Source:  https:/news.mit.edu/2022/wind-farm-optimization-energy-flow-0811

When you think of these things as systems, there are previously hidden benefits that become apparent. When you don't, you have the present situation and BAU forever and ever amen.

Another example, from Edwin Black's book,

    Internal Combustion:  How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives

 (NY:  St Martin's Press, 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-35907-2), about the Milwaukee Road, an electric rail system and the advantages thereof:

"Sometimes electrified railways seemed to defy the laws of perpetual motion. For example, when the brakes were applied or the train traveled down a slope, the engine actually returned electricity to the grid. Regenerative braking and similar power returns helped the engines pay for themselves. In some mountain ranges, if timed correctly, a heavy downhill train could actually regenerate enough electricity to the grid to power another train passing it uphill. Thus both trains would travel in a minuet of seemingly energy-free motion. That might have seemed to violate the laws of physics, but not the rules of General Electric's wondrous workhorses, which were designed to observe this maxim: It is better to give than receive when it comes to electrical power. Those engines lasted not for years but for decades. Their endurance was measured in millions of miles. They were monumental vehicles that created economic prosperity and environmental balance everywhere they rolled."

Regenerative braking on electric trains is a technology that is over a century old and coming back to the fore, both on railways and with trucks.

Yet, thinking in systems is hard for most of us.

Donella Meadows' Guidelines for Living in a World of Systems [my comments] may help:

Get the beat of the system. [music and dance]
Expose your mental models to the light of day.
Honor, respect, and distribute information.
Use language with care and enrich it with systems concepts.
Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable. [system failure is too often the first clue to what's important]
Make feedback policies for feedback systems.
Go for the good of the whole. [Sarvodaya, a concept from Gandhian economics*]
Listen to the wisdom of the system.
Locate responsibility within the system.
Stay humble - stay a learner.
Celebrate complexity. [and recognize simplicity]
Expand time horizons.
Defy the disciplines.
Expand the boundary of caring.
Don't erode the goal of goodness.

More in my notes to Donella Meadows' Thinking in Systems at http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2017/09/summary-of-systems-principle.html

* Sarvodaya, Swaraj, and Swadeshi

As for getting the beat of the system, here are roughly detailed plans for 145 countries to go 100% renewable by 2035 or earlier from Mark Z Jacobson et alia:
http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/145Country/22-145Countries.pdf [pdf alert]

According to this carbon countdown clock (https://www.mcc-berlin.net/fileadmin/data/clock/carbon_clock.htm), at the current rate, the most CO2 we can emit to stay below 1.5ºC rise is 400 Gt, starting from 2020, and that carbon budget will be used up by about July/August 2029.

We are at 290 Gts carbon budget left as I write [September 3, 2022]

Would be good to run the thought experiment of 100% renewable by that climate deadline, July/August 2029, now that we have the model for one by 2035.

That seems to me to be the beat of this system.  Imagine 100% renewable by summer 2029 and backcast from there to see what we have to do today, and all the other todays from now to then if we want a more livable planet.

Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous behaviors that will avoid extinction.  
R. Buckminster Fuller

We don't have much time and should get cracking.

More energy systems thinking?
. yes 0%
. no 0%
. not yes 0%
. not no 0%
. neither yes nor no 0%
. both yes and no 0%
. don't understand the question? 0%
. none of the above 0%

Votes: 0
Results | Other Polls
"thinking in systems is hard for most of us"
as is metacognition, synergy, and quantum mechanics — intangible universe of the planet we inhabit that has evaded human control and mastery for eons. The language of this integral antagonism—including but not limited to "climate" changes—exposes divergent knowledge domains, totalizing habits, possibilites, and enterprise goals as well as problem recognition ascribed by "global leaders" to "humanity" that are so abstract as to be useless in practice.

'Systematic' or 'Systemic'?
systemic, syn. pervasive

Systemic is somewhat more formal [nope], and it is primarily used to describe what relates to an entire system, be that system physical, organizational, or societal. A systemic disease affects the entire body or organism; systemic changes to an organization impact the entire organization; and a systemic problem in a society pervades the entire society.
systematic, syn. methodical
Systematic is the more common of the pair. [nope] In current English, it is most often used to describe something [sic] that uses or applies a careful system or method, or that is done according to a system.
system, n.

So. What are the parts of an "energy system"? Are there more than one? And who are those people who design system components that work together to produce such systems' expected result? AFAICT, the desired result among "experts" has not deviated over 40 years of "study" from sustainable (read: constant) mechanical waste product. Among people given power by "global leaders" to pronounce systemic description rather than prescribe systematic elimination of human waste, it appears to me that Germans' radical if deceitful approach to experimental, ahem, energy systems' synergy fills the breach between theory and design. Am I mistaken to expect "global leaders" to learn from this interlude how to gracefully degrade industrial precepts of universal prosperity?

archived classification and its consequences

by Cat on Mon Sep 5th, 2022 at 04:51:46 PM EST
There actually is a term in thermodynamics for energy systems efficiency, exergy, which is a measurement of the ability to do useful work.*  Exergy is not often mentioned just as "full cost accounting," which would include all externalities within an economic measurement of a product or service, is not often mentioned in traditional economics.

As I learned from spending time with big-name journalists in small, informal groups, sometimes not only can't we see the forest for the trees, often we don't see the trees for the leaves.  Concentrating on maximizing the power output from a single wind turbine in a wind farm can be detrimental to the overall energy efficiency of the wind farm, as MIT has shown.  That is not seeing the tree for the leaves.

* The annual energy production of USAmerica is about 100 quadrillion btu's and about 2/3rds of that is "rejected energy," does no useful work, is lost to friction, in distribution and transmission, dissipated as waste heat.  There are ways to capture at least some of that rejected energy but we don't usually link up a waste heat source with a method to use it productively.  The EU, especially Denmark, seems to be much better at that particular aspect of energy planning with all their district heating systems.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Mon Sep 5th, 2022 at 05:36:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
about academic "energy systems" modeling from the EU demonstration?
by Cat on Mon Sep 5th, 2022 at 07:15:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not an expert on energy modeling but I follow the rough outlines of the field.  There are links to real experts here:  https://www.eurotrib.com/story/2022/8/23/235648/682

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Tue Sep 6th, 2022 at 05:52:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been asking my sources if there's a sense of urgency to insulate everything that needs it and to promote energy efficiency and conservation in the EU as a response to the present carbon/energy way in the Ukraine.  The answer I get  seems to be materials and skilled labor have a year or so lag time and there doesn't seem to be great urgency because of that.

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Tue Sep 6th, 2022 at 07:54:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I finally read IPCC | Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Illustrated scenario modeling galore. Consequently, I even looked for a live carbon capture demonstrations—the oldest, largest reservoir is the Sleipner CO2 Storage Site in Norway (10-year data).

This was weeks before the RUSSIAN war of aggression that precipitate the EU Russian gas "embargo". 7 months of qual and quant data is in the can.

How did EU27 prepare constituencies for a functional "just transition" to renewable fuel consumption?
(optional: drought, controlled demand destruction, emergency)

What improvements to design can EU27 affect to achieve least cost, greatest good scale efficiencies and one objective?

by Cat on Tue Sep 6th, 2022 at 08:53:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Tue Sep 6th, 2022 at 11:30:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
breugel | A grand bargain to steer through the European Union's energy crisis, 6 Sep
The current crisis looks set to leave behind it a radically different system, but what that system will look like remains an open question
four broad principles: (i) all countries bringing forward every available supply-side flexibility, (ii) all countries making comprehensive efforts to reduce demand, (iii) a political committing to maintain energy markets and cross-border flows, (iv) compensation for the most vulnerable consumers. This grand bargain can be the first step on a new course towards united energy policy at EU level. ...
by Cat on Wed Sep 7th, 2022 at 02:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[TRUE] ... could undermine the goals of calming energy markets over the next 18 months and achieving ambitious decarbonisation targets. At the basis of the crisis is a post-COVID-19 global energy imbalance. While demand bounced back quickly as economies re-opened, supply did not. A particular challenge is that the reducing supply of fossil fuels in line with climate targets has not been matched by a commensurate reduction of fossil-fuel demand. 

[FALSE] ... Russian manipulation of European natural gas markets since summer 2021, exploiting its significant market power, has deepened the crisis.

US Congress from the Kyiv coup d'état in 2014 forward put sanctions on Russia in place and did everything possible to stop an European consortium to build Nord Stream 2. Even after Biden agreed with Chancellor Merkel the pipeline could be finished (June 2021) after a two year delay❗️the German government did not certify the exploitation due to a new EU law put in place by a terrified EP in Strasbourg ... or is it Brussels? It is all Europe's undoing ... don't do stupid things [quote president Obama 😂].

Biden launched a very successful Blitzkrieg this year and destroyed Europe as an economic community. Let the Socialists die ...

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Sep 7th, 2022 at 01:10:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exergy is not often mentioned just as "full cost accounting," which would include all externalities within an economic measurement of a product or service, is not often mentioned in traditional economics.

Full cost accounting is rarely mentioned in traditional economics (including the neoliberal and socialism-lite schools that inform our political decisions) because it is a political minefield and would show our sustainability models to be sick jokes.  I suspect something similar is the case with exergy.

by rifek on Tue Sep 6th, 2022 at 07:35:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My favorite is single-entry GAAP -- all expense, no income.
by Cat on Tue Sep 6th, 2022 at 08:56:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"We lose money on every sale but make up for it in volume."
by rifek on Wed Sep 7th, 2022 at 12:48:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't forget the "good will."  The good will accrued is enormously profitable (just not monetarily)!

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Wed Sep 7th, 2022 at 09:20:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a niche, but there is an industry ramping up to recover "énergie fatale" (it sounds so much better in French) in industrial installations, to generate electricity. Works quite nicely, for example, in gas pumping stations (transport and filling storage).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Sep 12th, 2022 at 01:24:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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