Vertical Wind Power Plant

Daniel asks…

Why is the tidal difference greater in some places than others?

Why, for instance, does the Bay of Fundy have the highest tides in the world?

Windmill Farms answers:

In addition to the moon’s gravitational forces (which causes all tides), I believe the differences are due to the geometry of the water mass (i.e. How deep is it?) It seems that the deeper the water, the more water molecules that can be affected by the gravitational pull. It may also have be due to the coastline depths. It seems to be that a body of water would be most effected if a) deep water in the middle and then b) a long shallow shore where the water could recede the most.

This is just a guess based on logic.

…. Sorry, I was wrong….here is the correct scientific answer:

The Highest Tides on Earth
Occur in the Minas Basin!!
The tides on Earth are strongly influenced, in addition to astronomical factors, by the sizes, boundaries, and depths of ocean basins and inlets, and by Earth’s rotation, winds, and barometric pressure fluctuations. Tides typically have ranges (vertical high-to-low) of a metre or two, but there are regions in the oceans where various influences conspire to produce virtually no tides at all, and others where the tides are greatly amplified. Among the latter regions are the Sea of Okhotsk, the northern coast of Australia, the Bristol Channel on the west coast of England, and in Canada at the Ungava Bay in northern Quebec, and the Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The tidal ranges in these regions are of the order of 10 metres.

The highest tides on Earth occur in the Minas Basin, the eastern extremity of the Bay of Fundy, where the average tide range is 12 metres and can reach 16 metres when the various factors affecting the tides are in phase (although the highest tides occur typically a day or two after the astronomical influences reach their peak).

The primary cause of the immense tides of Fundy is a resonance of the Bay of Fundy-Gulf of Maine system. The system is effectively bounded at this outer end by the edge of the continental shelf with its approximately 40:1 increase in depth. The system has a natural period of approximately 13 hours, which is close to the 12h25m period of the dominant lunar tide of the Atlantic Ocean.

Like a father pushing his daughter on a swing, the gentle Atlantic tidal pulse pushes the waters of the Bay of Fundy-Gulf of Maine basin at nearly the optimum frequency to cause a large to-and-fro oscillation. The grestest slosh occurs at the head (northeast end) of the system. Because Earth rotates counterclockwise in the Norhern Hemisphere, the tides are higher in Minas Basin (Wolfville-Truro area) than in Chignecto Bay (Amherst-Moncton area).

Although it is the gravitation of the Moon and Sun that raises the tides, the energy in the churning waters is extracted from the rotational energy of Earth spinning on its axis. Near Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, a tiny portion of this energy is being converted into commercial electrical energy in the only tidal power plant in the Western Hemisphere. The peak output of the Annapolis Basin generator is 20 megawatts, about 1% of Nova Scotia’s electrical power capacity.

Tidal friction both lengthens the day and increases the size of the orbit of the Moon. The day is lengthening by about 1 second every 50,000 years, imperceptible on a human time scale, but of profound significance to Earth’s rotation over a few billiion years. If the Sun does not first incinerate our planet, in the distant future there will come a day that is as long as the lunar month (each then equal to about 40 present days) and a more distant Moon will stand stationary in the sky, as does Earth now in theh lunar sky. But this situation will not endure, for solar tides will still be present and will cause the Moon to approach Earth once more.

Paul asks…

How does 275 Billion sound?

I am writing a science fiction novel set 5000yrs in the future. Humanity controls a massive interstellar civilization that governs 3000+ worlds across roughly 1800 star systems. Earth is the capital of said civilization and I gave it a population of 275 billion. I am looking for opinions, concerns, criticism, suggestions, or questions about this so that I can formulate counterarguments to defend the population figure.

Abundant energy is provided by innumerable fusion reactors and environmental power sources (solar energy, conversion of thermal energy to electricity, wind, tides, etc). Waste heat is vented via cryomagnetic pylons that extend beyond the atmosphere and into space. Buildings and arcologies are constructed vertically. Food is genetically engineered, cloned, and grown in vertical arcology greenhouses, as well as imported from off-world. Fresh water is provided by desalinating ocean water. Nanotechnology (nanocrobes) break down waste material and sewage to its base molecular components before returning it to environment. Sufficient oxygen is provided by plant life (75% of Earth is a sanctuary, protected under law) as well as nanotechnology that mimics botanical respiration. Carbon emissions are virtually non-existent due to a variety of substantially more advanced technologies and strict development and zoning laws. Am I missing anything? If so please relay.

Windmill Farms answers:

The planetary and galactic habitation zones are quite small compared to the overall coverage of each stellar system and each galaxy.

Let’s say your advanced civilization spreads only throughout the Milky Way. And, as Sagan likes to say, there are billions of stars in the MW and each other galaxy as well. Then the habitation zone (HZ) is about 1/3 E9 stars because only about 1/3 the MW fits the criteria for life.

Same thing for each star system, about 1/3 the planets fall into a HZ around the star. 1/3 are too close and 1/3 are too far from the solar heat, which is necessary for water in liquid form and life. Other things that led to life on Earth have to be present as well for a planet to spring forth life: a stable axis inclination, a giant Jupiter like planet to sweep away meteors and comets, a rocky rather than gaseous basis, magnetic field to shield us from solar radiation, M class stable star, and more. In sum, the probability of life yielding and supporting planets around the 1/3 billion stars in the MW is very very small.

My point is this…3000+ inhabitable worlds around 1800 stars is very very unlikely. 1800 worlds around 1800 stars, i.e., one planet per star, is far more believable. In fact, I’d put that number down to somewhere between 1 (ours) and 10 out of the 1/3 billion stars in the HZ.

Let’s be optimistic and WAG 10 inhabitable planets in our galaxy. They will be rocky planets like Earth; gaseous, like Saturn, will not support our kind of life. So they will not be giants; they will be about the size of Mars, Venus, or Earth. In which case, no more than 6 billion inhabitants per planet seems about right. That’s what we now have on Earth and that is clearly pushing our limits to get along together and to exploit the planet’s resources.

Sources of energy may become more efficient and/or plentiful through technology, but they all eventually deplete…even the so-called renewable sources create entropic heat that cannot be recovered and reused. So, once again, I think the current 6.7 billion people on Earth represents about as many humans as we would want on any of the ten supposed life sustaining planets. Therefore, I think 60 to 70 billion inhabitants in the year 5000 CE is more defensible than your 275 billion.

Another major flaw is your future mode of emigration to these other worlds. Even the closest of star system, Alpha and Proxima Centauri, are more than 4 light years away. If you want scientific plausibility, do not invoke worm holes and other such nonsense for bypassing the speed of light limits. My point is this, even if you account for the migration of the human species by taking decades or centuries to travel to an inhabitable planet, governing that planet from Earth would be next to impossible.

How, for example, would Earth quell an impending riot on Bob, the inhabited planet surrounding Alpha Centauri? I think the only plausible scenario is that each planet must be autonomous; not controlled by Earth at all.

It is commendible to attempt writing a scientifcally defensible scifi story. But it is extremely difficult to do…even Sagan in Contact had to invoke worm holes and alien technology that could not be explained. There is a reason for the fi in scifi.

What you do not want to do is use 21st century technology in the year 5000 CE, some 3000 years later. No DVDs, no LCD flatscreen TVs, etc. Etc. Etc….you get the picture. Study the latest in physics and chemistry discoveries and engineer them into the next technology. For example, how would you communicate light years across the galaxy…easy, harness quantum entanglement, which is instantaneous across the universe, let alone the galaxy.

My point is this…the best scifi is written by those authors who have a physics, chemistry, biology, or other scientific background.

Richard asks…

How does 275 Billion sound?

I am writing a science fiction novel set 5000yrs in the future. Humanity controls a massive interstellar civilization that governs 3000+ worlds across roughly 1800 star systems. Earth is the capital of said civilization and I gave it a population of 275 billion. I am looking for opinions, concerns, criticism, suggestions, or questions about this so that I can formulate counterarguments to defend the population figure.

Abundant energy is provided by innumerable fusion reactors and environmental power sources (solar energy, conversion of thermal energy to electricity, wind, tides, etc). Waste heat is vented via cryomagnetic pylons that extend beyond the atmosphere and into space. Buildings and arcologies are constructed vertically. Food is genetically engineered, cloned, and grown in vertical arcology greenhouses, as well as imported from off-world. Fresh water is provided by desalinating ocean water which is resalinated upon being returned to the seas. Nanotechnology (nanocrobes) break down waste material and sewage to its base molecular components before returning it to environment. Sufficient oxygen is provided by plant life (75% of Earth is a sanctuary, protected under law) as well as nanotechnology that mimics botanical respiration. Am I missing anything? If so please relay.

Windmill Farms answers:

It would make sense. If we made Earth a sanctuary, means we got smart about resource use & wouln’t be breeding like rabbits. With a population under control you could easily have planets with only 1-2 billion people or less.

Asimov’s universe has planets with only a few thousand people as well as the Capitol planet, Trantor, everything was covered (looking like the Death Star) and around 40billion people on it.

Betty asks…

Should all sports stadiums be environmentally sound?

I’ve noticed that the trend of building brand new sports complexes has slowed down a bit due to the deteriorating economy. Since the early 90′s, almost every professional baseball, basketball, and football franchise has built a brand new stadium. Each complex cost the municipal government hundreds of millions of dollars. I wonder why they didn’t spend a few more to add solar panels, helical wind turbines, rainwater collecting cisterns, and geothermal heating pumps. Further, I think all the facilities should have methane digesting toilets with bidets. The output each stadium returns to the grid may not be equivalent to that of a power plant, but it could be close. What do you make of this idea?

Windmill Farms answers:

They don’t because operating costs comes out of another budget for which those who design and build the stadium are not responsible for. Why would they spend more to save someone else some money? Now, if they had to put up a certain percentage of an operating endowment up front then they may be motivated to build more efficient facilities.

I don’t think the general public in North America would know what to do with a bidet and a methane digesting toilet would have difficulty with the typical stadium usage which spikes during events but is non-existent between events, they would work better with a steady stream of “input”.

Vertical axis wind turbines though cooler looking are less efficient than horizontal axis wind turbines. This is mostly because the wind represents a load perpendicular to the axis of rotation hence making it difficult to design efficient bearings.

With solar panels, they should be solar thermal panels producing heat to run absorption chillers for the air condictioners. This would be much less expensive than photo-voltaics and more efficient. Once the air-conditioning needs have been met, some roof space can be used for photo-voltaics for energy demands that can only be met with electricity.

Rain water cisterns are fine but you should include porous or permeable pavement. It’s important to get the surface water to percolate into the ground else our ground water resources will suffer.

Sharon asks…

Flux core welding test?

I have a job offer at a hydroelectric plant in mass. I have a mig certification for 4g with a 1/4 in backing on 3/8 mild steel. How different is fcaw with no gas than mig? They are using flux core because it is outside in the wind. Do you know what the test will be. Will i have a backing strip or not. I have never heard of using fcaw for a open root. How hard is it?

Windmill Farms answers:

Hello From texas….The flux core welds nearly the same..maybe a tad slower.remember that there is no gas so if you want to drag or weld vertical you can..no need to push the wire….***do this though*** they will issue you some sort of coupons to weld on. Don’t start with these weld on the table if you have to but get your machine set first. Also If the space between the plates is more than twice(say .050) for .025 wire then move it a little closer…You’ll probably get .035 or .040 or even larger core wire. So make your root weld as clean as possible. Take a piece of tungsten with you like goes in a tig and use it to clean any scale off the edges. You should do just fine. Don’t let them pull a cut to bend from the ends of your coupons. And If they allow it mark your own face and root bend. If they X-ray see if they will let you see the film..Sometimes they just blow you out because you look wrong..As far as the test goes it will be two pieces of A36 with a bevel . You have to tack all this together.One last thing here if there is no backer which i doubt you will have it You might need to use a little circular motion on your root if the gap is set. That way you’ll let the puddle cool on one side while your on the other…On your filler and hot pass do what you need to and watch for undercut especially if the inspector is watching. For a cap you can use a round steam cap or a fig 8 lace if your way out on the hot pass. If your going to work at a power plant and testing on mig you will probably be welding duct work or flume or stacks so they want a welder who can be a little of everything to them…Good luck with the test It should only take about an hour and a half but if you need longer do..Also don’t be afraid to ask for grinders files and whatever…Your the boss on your test…not them…from the E

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