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Sun-based economy

Use most energy during the day.
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Consider the effect of installing a concentrating solar power plant in a previously non-electrified 3rd world village. Suddenly you can have water purification, refrigeration, clean fueled ovens, and a dozen other technologies that can reduce disease and increase quality of life. However, at night you'd have very little power (CSP can store energy, but you'd have a somewhat limited capacity). You'd probably have enough for a few lights in each house. A good way to set this up would be to have two power supplies to each house - a 24-hour line that's limited in capacity, and a higher capacity line that is only active when the sun is out.

To a village that has never had electricity, even a small number of lights at night would feel like a great improvement. And if this would work in a 3rd world village, why can't it work everywhere?

The sun-based economy would use the daytime to be productive. Factories, offices, dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, refrigerators, etc., will all be used only during the day. Night time will be a time for rest and leisure. This would allow a society to use an inexpensive sustainable energy source, with the additional benefit of limiting the work day.

Worldgineer, Jul 02 2008

Biodiesel is bad http://gristmill.gr...007/10/10/92220/476
For [Jim] [Worldgineer, Jul 03 2008]

[link]






       you've always lit up this part of the world.
po, Jul 02 2008
  

       My father did this to some extent. My mother would always have all the lights on up until the very point she went to bed, but when she went to Bingo, my father would have the bare minimum to keep from bumping into things. It was quite relaxing. I felt more in tune with nature, especially when the windows were open. (Some people find humid Florida evenings uncomfortable, but I love them!) It's also nice being able to see outside from the adjustment of light.   

       We have daylight savings to try to solve this problem, but frankly it's not enough. We should live by the sun more and stop trying to be such night owls.
kevinthenerd, Jul 02 2008
  

       Biodiesel or ethanol powered generators would be better. They give much more power per dollar spent, they work at night, and the villagers could grow their own fuel.   

       Onto developed countries. Currently there is high demand during the day and low demand at night but nearly equal power capacity. This usually means a cheap rate at night. In a solar world you just switch it around, so you pay less during the day when there is high power capacity but more at night when something else must be switched on. You don't need different lines, just economics.
Bad Jim, Jul 02 2008
  

       Load leveling across the World with a big ring main? The Sun is always shining somewhere. Except England, mostly.
Ling, Jul 02 2008
  

       I like it, truly. The only downside is the feasiblity (or lack thereof) of a third-world village being able to come up with the money for the up-front costs (parts purchase, shipping, installation, etc.). Another practical concern is security. In many third-world nations, warlords will take anything useful and turn it to war production or lining their own pockets, and the villagers manning these factories will see little if any of the benefit. I mean countries like Zimbabwe and Myanmar, where loads of international aid is flown in every day, but the ruling dictators intercept the shipments and refuse to distribute them fairly. Sounds great in principle, but, like every other form of relief, cannot be guaranteed not to feed the evil. Sorry, but I must remain neutral.
21 Quest, Jul 02 2008
  

       Hi [po]!   

       [Bad Jim] Biodiesel only makes sense if you're re-using grease (which only works in small quantities). Otherwise it takes almost as much oil to produce as you get out of the process. Not to mention the food shortages caused...   

       [21] Watch out! The Myanmarian warlords have a bunch of big mirrors. Ah! My eyes!
Worldgineer, Jul 02 2008
  

       // Otherwise it takes almost as much oil to produce as you get out of the process//   

       You're thinking of ethanol. The US has subsidised ethanol greatly as well as fuel for farmers. The surprise result has been farmers burning tonnes of fuel to maximise their ethanol production. But if you take away the perverse incentives it is quite possible to produce far more energy than you consume with ethanol production.   

       Biodiesel can be made from a number of plant oils. Sunflower oil, rapeseed, palm oil etc. It also produces much more energy than is required to make it. The diesel engine is quite versatile and was originally designed for biofuel.
Bad Jim, Jul 03 2008
  

       [Jim], for just one of the articles I've read on the subject, see the link. Yes, ethanol has a very high carbon footprint right now, but even biodiesel from rapeseed has at least 70% greater carbon emissions than regular diesel. This mostly comes from the fuel required to cultivate it. We can discuss this elsewhere, or just agree to disagree.
Worldgineer, Jul 03 2008
  
      
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