Water, water everywhere

Water, water everywhere

Summary: Water worries becoming more central to the questions of electricity production.

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TOPICS: Telcos
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Yes, there's plenty of water on the earth. But most of it is in oceans, or clouds. Less than 5% of the earth's water is potable at any one time. And modern, industrial-scale energy is often derived from a process that uses enormous amounts of water. Take coal...or nuclear...or natural gas. All boil lots of water to turn turbines to make electricity. You may hate dammed rivers, but at least that water is only drained of its kinetic energy and then passed on in pretty much its original state. Dams essentially tap into gravity as a source of energy. So far, not a single geologist has warned us of global gravity depletion caused by human activity. Whew.

Here's an interesting look at...ready for this...your water footprint. Sorta like the one you leave as you walk away from the swimming pool toward the cabana.

Topic: Telcos

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23 comments
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  • steam generation in a nuclear plant...

    Steam generation in a nuclear plant is a closed system. That means there is very little loss of the water.

    This is why you never take the word of a blogger when science is concerned. Most, if not all of his arguments are political idealism and not scientific fact.

    Mr. Fuller, I realize you came into your own during the 60's. I also realize that your probably a real hippie. That, in and of itself, is not a bad thing but the socialist leanings of those times are not a good thing for the people of this planet nor are they good for the planet itself. I know you are doing it to be a good person and to feel good about yourself but if you're going to continue to post, maybe you should get the facts right and not make statements intended to denigrate certain technologies just because you don't like them.

    Ok, I'll give you the point that there may be more loss due to the cooling water that is used. In my city (the city owns the company that generates the power), we have some man made lakes that are used for cooling of the coal power plants. They are dual purpose in that they are also used for recreational activities. They have a lot of surface area and that may lead to more evaporation. How much more evaporation than if they hadn't been created? I couldn't guess but if the streams and creeks that fill it would have had the bulk of the water run into the Gulf of Mexico if not for the reservoir and therefore wouldn't have been potable anyway.

    Just keep in mind that whether you use NG, Nuke, or coal to make steam, that steam is generally made in closed system that means the water is regularly recycled with little loss.
    jtiner
    • Learn to spell, jtiner - looking ignorant

      undermines your message. You may also want to read the article cited in the blog before shooting from the hip with erroneous misstatements. Water waste in energy production is a real thing - so your (not you're) attacks are way out of line. Ignorant rants don't further intelligent discourse.
      BonMot
      • Looking Ignorant

        Before you spend the rest of your life applauding Harry's less than rigorous arguments, study the real issues.

        Water waste comes predominately from chemical processes in industrial production and agricultural waste. The small amount of water lost in closed-system electrical power production is trivial in comparison. And ultimately, that "waste" water enters back into the earth water cycle.

        OTOH, take a look at a paper mill, and see how it sucks a decent stream dry - in addition to the deforestation and transportation pollution needed to get the pulp.

        Post-mine processing of ore is another gross consumer of otherwise could-be potable water.

        But ranting about water usage of power plants is all well and good - propose a viable alternative that people are willing to buy into.
        thinking about consequences
      • Ignorant???

        I am not a professional writer and wrote that reply "shooting from the hip" so give me a break. Glad you're the spelling king though. I'm sure I can find many mistakes just by looking into your previous posts and those of Harry Fuller's writings and I don't see you attacking him or calling him ignorant...

        Now, as for the substance, tell me where you noticed the high levels of water waste in energy consumption? My argument stands and you are the fool.
        jtiner
        • Jtiner and Tinker: Both of you are

          talking without any proof. Just saying "My argument stands" or "Water waste in energy production is a real thing" without any kind of proof is not valuable.
          Leave spelling out of it and provide some links. I'm interested in whatever resources either of you can provide, as this is not an area I am very conversant with.
          ITLeader
          • links

            Try this for a very basic idea of how it works.

            http://www.explainthatstuff.com/powerplants.html

            Also notice that the article that HF links to says "Photovoltaic solar panels - the kind found on roofs, schools, office buildings and hotels and at wineries and farms - create electricity, not heat." and also says that power generation not performed by solar panels uses lots of water. He doesn't say if the water is reused like many hydro-electric plants and thus water loss is minimal nor does he actually say how much is lost at all.

            What else would he say when he says this about himself: "Tom Rooney, of Novato, Calif., is the chief executive officer of a solar power company"

            Sounds more like a sales pitch than fact.
            jtiner
          • Thanks!

            I appreciate the link!
            ITLeader
  • RE: Water, water everywhere

    A very significant blog, albeit delivered tongue somewhat in cheek. The water situation on this planet is dire. Google this and you'll find more links than can practically be included here. Energy of the future needs to be generated without harming or diminishing what precious potable water this planet still has. Thanks Fuller for another timely and with-it post.
    BonMot
    • Absolutely.

      Because, of course, we all know that when you boil water it migrates to
      an alternate dimension, never to be seen again.
      frgough
    • Bad grammar makes you look ignorant

      By the way, the phrase is "tongue in cheek" so you probably meant to say "somewhat tongue in cheek" instead of "tongue somewhat in cheek". This kind of wording makes you look ignorant and devalues your opinion.
      jtiner
      • Speaking in tongues

        Thankfully the English language is very flexible, and in a forum such as this the strictures of university grade English language usage should, and thankfully is, not required.

        But then again this maybe tongue-in-cheek.
        Agnostic_OS
  • fact checking

    [i]Dams essentially tap into gravity as a source of energy. So far, not a single geologist has warned us of global gravity depletion caused by human activity. Whew.[/i]
    It's actually the heat mostly from the sun that causes the water to evaporate, rain and flow downstream that produces electricity.
    Gravity is merely a catalyst not the source of energy.
    Linux Geek
    • Or, another version..

      Heat provides the energy to evaporate the water and
      lift it up into the clouds (also solar energy to create the
      winds that move it around and up). This energy is
      enough to overcome the gravity that wants to pull it
      down. However, once its "up" it is gravity that gives
      water the momentum to move down that a dam taps
      into.

      While solar energy may have lifted it up, hence making
      it usable - it is still the dropping bit that we are taking
      advantage of. So, Harry is still correct.... if not
      necessarily accurate.
      snberk341
  • Oh - Harry has something else now to scare us.

    Harry, after your spectacular failure to make a dent into the critical thinking skills of ZDNet readers with your alarmist enviro-stories based on fake date, it's now 'water'?

    Is there anything in your life that doesn't scare you and make you want to hide under your bed?

    Just start living man. Stop wasting ZDNet space - or just bring us some IT information.
    RobertoSn
    • Yes it's water

      Pull your head out of the sand and look around.
      ITLeader
      • The world's water problems

        can be solved with cheap, abundant energy. In fact, nearly all of the
        world's resource problems can be solved with cheap abundant energy.
        frgough
        • I hope we find that energy soon!

          Fusion maybe?
          ITLeader
          • No, fission.

            It's a mature technology that produces minimal waste. The reason we
            aren't using it is because the anti-nuke zealots have so effectively
            propagandized the population into thinking radiation is the deadliest
            substance in the universe.
            frgough
  • RE: Water, water everywhere

    Who really cares....
    proton_z
  • RE: Water, water everywhere

    I never meant for my previous post to be anything except a commentary on Tinker's grammar after he tried to avoid my comments and instead ding me on one incorrectly spelled word.

    Just trying to show high-and-mighty Tinker how throwing stones when living in a glass house is bad.
    jtiner