Renewable Energy Series: Biomass, What (Or Who) Is Sending Fast 2 days ago   06:41

Joe Scott
In the 2nd part of the renewable energy series, I discuss Biomass, Wave, and Tidal energy solutions.
NOTE: Yes, I put kwh when I meant twh. I suck.

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Tidal time lapse: On the Coast Photography

Tidal Barrage: Allaboutrenewables

Tidal Stream: Maygenuk

Dynamic Tidal Power: DPI Animation House


Biomass involves burning or extracting energy from biological material, like plant matter and organic waste, and yes, wood.

And while burning trees doesn’t sound that green, it is considered carbon neutral because the carbon in the plant matter was already a part of the carbon cycle, whereas fossil fuels release carbon that’s been sequestered in the ground for millions of years.

Now there are a lot of different types of biomass, from incinerators that burn the material to biofuel production that creates diesel for transportation to chemical processes to create usable methane, and they vary widely in their efficiency and sustainability.

So while it’s not the greenest energy source, it is a plentiful fuel that can provide base load electricity for local communities.

Now, if you live by the ocean, you’re familiar with the rhythmic pattern of waves crashing on the beach all day and night. There’s a lot of wave energy out there.

The idea is, the surface of the ocean is constantly bobbing and shifting from ocean waves, why not use that motion to generate energy?

It seems like a great idea. 71% of the world is covered by a constantly moving and oscillating ocean, harnessing that energy seems like a no-brainer.

Except nobody’s really figured it out.

There have been a lot of ideas that have been tested, but none of them have really produced enough to implement on a large scale.

In fact, the most efficient wave energy generators would require 25 kilometers of coastline to produce one gigawatt of energy.

And estimates have placed the worldwide wave energy potential at current technologies at 2 terawatt hours per year.

Staying in the ocean, a much better option is tidal energy.

Even though it does it day in and day out like clockwork, it is considered intermittent because there are lags between the tides going in and out where they’re not producing power.

So they call it intermittent but predictable.

Right now there are two types of tidal power systems, Tidal barrage and tidal stream generators.

Tidal barrage systems basically build a dam or bridge over the opening to bays and ports where tides rush in twice a day and capture that energy as it passes through the structure, turning turbines in the process.

Tidal stream generators are basically like wind turbines on the sea floor in areas where the moving tide will turn the turbines.

There is however a third type of tidal energy that hasn’t really been put into practice but holds a lot of potential called dynamic tidal power.

For this, we would build enormous 50km long dams that stick straight out from a coastline, forcing the oncoming tide to go through the structure and turn turbines.

This would work especially well in areas where the tide travels parallel with the coastline, such as southeast asia and northern Europe.

There are a few projects in the works to try this out, but this would be a massive engineering project.

The good thing about tidal power is it happens every day and it’ll never stop, and it’s effective even at low speeds.

They also have very long lifespans. The first one was build in La Rance in France in 1966 and it’s still working.

The downside is that it’s expensive, only works in certain areas, and the estimated worldwide potential is only 700 TWh a year. Again, we consume 21,000 so it’s not going to really move the needle.

But it can serve as a supplementary energy resource to the areas that can use it. Whether or not that is enough to spur investments necessary to build more tidal stations, we’ll see.

Comments 171 Comments

Philippe Santini
What about Tesla gyms?
Hook up all the machines to energy storage devices/systems.
Not sure about the math but every bit helps and all those spin classes would be packed if it meant saving on membership fees.
Just a random thought. ;)

P.s. we're having our roof done today and I'm disappointed that we can't afford to use the Tesla solar roofing tiles I read about a while back.
I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Unfortunately, we don't have any good subsidy programs to encourage switching to renewables. Hell, we don't even have any good gov programs for training technicians in the field of renewables.
Lol...longest "p.s." ever!
Lars Svenson
1.21 giggawatts!
Neil Blanchard
We can make biochar, and save as much of the black carbon and put it back in the soil; sinking it out of the air, and vastly improving the soil.

If we get methane from sewage, then the resulting effluent makes excellent fertilizer - so nothing goes to waste.

With a small amount of storage, tidal power would be quite viable.
Tim Noble
Joe, I have a friend who has patented a bladeless turbine powergen system. In conjunction with Herriot Watt University, Scotland. Originally designed to keep boats eleectrical systems charged, he has now scaled it up. I do not have efficiency figures but, basically, if there is water movement it will produce power. The issue I see is storing the electricity produced and on a large scale it cannot be relied upon to accommodate demand changes. BTW; I am Beelzebub's nephew, having spent my career in the oil and gas industry. Spent a couple of years at Exxon-Mobil HQ in Houston. For my penance, I now spend my time helping those people who have mental health and substance misuse problems as a result of adverse childhood experiences. When robots take all our jobs we will all have to switch to caring for other humans. Something the robots will not be able to do for a long time, if ever.
West Komer
Big problems with tidel energy is all the sea life it kills.
jim louis
Wave energy: AMERICA the BIG, a basis of our energy filosofy. Consider how very easy it wud be to make hydrogen with an up/down piston, the elec fully used at its origin. A small pump transfers the hydrogen thru a 3 stage compression, powered, of course, with hydrogen. When the tank is full, an automated 'truck' delivers an empty and pulls away with a full one . Now, times 500 and make it 200 little drop off back of boat piston generators. A lot of littles is big. What is a tractor trailer tank of hydrogen worth. the economy of scale, a rite size.
Maarten DJ
1:14 Tell me more about plants that incinerate leftover plant matter
The New Talker Guy
How about large scale farming of Algea? I was expecting you to cover this in detail because I've heard about it sporadically but haven't really heard much about it's real potential or new developments.
Daniel Alejandro
3:38 lmfao! Nuff said!
Quinton Beck
I am watching from the future. You don't seem to have remembered to link the third video.
Odysseus Mavrigata
I expected you to say: 'Biomass involves burning or extracting energy from biological sources like plant matter, organic waste and yes... people!'
Ron Ceilin
Actually, I've heard that biomass (particularly from wood) can be carbon negative - by using the ash as fertilizer to grow more plants. There's a great company that utilizes wood to create "wood gas" to be used in an electrical generator. Check out
David Kelley
kWh, Twh, nix, nox. I know you’re just beating the haters to the punch but don’t be so hard on yourself man, ya don’t suck...well you might but I have to assume that’s in private.
Dennis Goodayle
dont know why they dont catch the gas cumming from the sea floor as they say its so bad for the planet to just let it escape
Vimal Samuel
I understand why biomass (specifically non-waste) is classified as renewable because of the carbon cycle. However is it truly renewable? Consider that we have to cut down vegetation just to burn them at faster rate that we can replant and for the newly planted vegetation to absorb the carbon released from incineration.. Looking for some objective answers to this. Thanks
Louise Peake
Everybody go shit and burn it to make energy!!!
Climbing the Sine Curve
What methane from dumps? I know place use that to make electricity
@Joe Scott Wave energy doesn't work? Are you Kidding! Watch these videos before making such comments -
Jim Ranlet
Oops, you said terawatt hours, but the graphics said kilowatt hours. 😉
Robin Gilliver
Joe, you are wrong.
Brain size and invention are not a matter of intellence.
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What (Or Who) Is Sending Fast Renewable Energy Series: Biomass, 2 days ago   11:16

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Fast Radio Bursts are exactly what they sound like. They're highly energetic bursts of radio waves that last mere milliseconds. And they're totally random.

Because of how elusive they are, scientists are still trying to explain this weird phenomena. But thanks to new telescopes like CHIME in Canada, we're getting closer to the solution to this science mystery.

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FRBs are random and hard to catch, and theories for what causes them have literally outnumbered the number of FRBs found at one point. Explanations for FRBs include colliding neutron stars or colliding black holes, burping magnetars, neutron stars being jostled by nearby black holes, supernovas, and, of course, aliens.


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