November 30, 2021

The Solution to the Energy Crisis

Timothy Birdnow

I was in a bit of a row with some liberal folks who were arguing for using electric cars. When it was pointed out to them that the electricity had to be generated they replied "but look at all the electricity you are saving not pumping gasoline!"

That got me to thinking about how easily the energy crisis could be solved.

Why are we running generators on natural gas or coal or even wind or solar? The solution is so obvious, it's staring us in the face.

We could run the generators on electricity!

Just get electric motors and plug them in and they can run the generators and we'd have all the power we needed!

My comment seemed lost on my friends there.I guess so visionary concepts are beyond the mundane minds of the masses!

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 02:18 PM | Comments (23) | Add Comment
Post contains 144 words, total size 1 kb.

1 It's the same concept as powering a sailboat by having a big fan on deck.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at November 30, 2021 04:53 PM (Idemf)

2 Well, just to add a little confusion to the topic, I have actually manned a switchboard on a US Navy submarine that was doing precisely what Timothy suggests – running the generators on electricity!

They were called "motor/generator sets,” and consisted of DC motors driving AC generators. (Alternators is the actual term for the latter.)

The reason for them was that submarines run on direct current electric power, because we use huge lead acid batteries, and the guys who run the radar and sonar need alternating current. There are converters that can do that conversion today, but not so much in 1960 when I served, so we did it the primitive way.

When running two at once the switchboard operator had to stay alert because the load varied quite a bit, which caused the DC motors to speed up and slow down. That caused the frequency of the AC current to fluctuate, which annoyed the electronics weenies.

Evan worse, the motors didn't change speed by the same amount, so the frequency of one alternator would be different from the other one, which caused them to sort of "fight” each other. That sometimes got quite exciting if you didn’t get things back in order pretty quickly, and sometimes resulted in the whole mess going offline. That really got the electronics weenies excited, and not in a good way.


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4 That WAS the old fashioned way Bill!  But you still had to have a power source for the generators in the first place.

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5 Well, if you want to be that way about it, Timothy, we ran the alternators from motors, and ran the motors from batteries. We charged the batteries, of course, using diesel engines.

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6 Aha! Diesel engine to charge the batteries. Fossil fuels (as they mistakenly call them). I knew there'd be a catch in there, Bill.

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