I would go to /adv/ but I don't think the people that lurk there have the information I'm seeking.
I decided about 2 years ago that my goal in life is to participate in serving the world by lending my time to renewable energies. Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Tidal, what have you.
I think this is the best way to improve the world as it is and even if, somehow, renewables are -not- the future, I still want to work in the energy sector, the wee details of how energy operates and is harnessed is endlessly fascinating to me.
1)Question: What degree path am I looking for? My first thought is EE but I don't really know. Anyone working in this area, studying for it right now?
2) Either way, are online degree courses worth anything? For the sake of actually learning useful ideas?; considered balderdash by employers?
I see it as more efficient. Yea sure, we could go into the whole save the manatees environmentalist side of it, and pollution is a real preventable thing but for me it's mostly an interest in bettering our proficiency as a civilization
Not OP but been wondering if is cold fusion at least theoretically possible, or is the science behind it on the Internet as a usual free energy device you see on the Internet.
If you're actually interested in helping the world with low cost energy, get into nuclear. There's a reason why renewables still aren't commercially viable despite trllions in subsidies.
>wants to serve humanity
>hasn't read enough books to understand that humanity is retarded and will one day commit collective suicide
Science is hard bitch, you better love what your doing more than just "Hurr durr wanna put my name in da history txtboks"
So I suppose that would involve a nuclear engineering path? Is it one of those things that no one ever talks about? All I ever hear is how well wind and solar are doing and slowly but surely nuclear is being phased out.
I admire you for having a reason beyond wanting 300k starting.
Considering your measure of success is efficiency and the advance of civilization, you really have no limits in terms of education. ChemE, EE and similar pure sciences all give you a good basic knowledge for improving our methods of collecting, transporting, utilizing and transporting energy.
I'd say one of the greatest opportunities right now is that we have no real means to store electricity on the grid. Due to the unpredictable nature of solar and wind power, energy is often lost when solar/wind generation spikes. The only real energy storage we have right now is hydroelectric pumps, and there is only so many dams you can build in the world. I doubt an engineer will be the one to develop a new reliable technology to fix that problem, as it would probably require a more fundamental approach to physics. (although engineering expertise would be required to implement that technology)
My point is that it doesn't matter all too much what you study, because everyone has a part to play.
Thanks, I take that as a compliment. Frankly making good money is a plus. I do have intentions that require money but for me, having worked several industries I don't believe in, I've concluded that participating in a greater purpose that I can be constantly engaged in is very important to me.
Anyone can conclude that humanity is doomed, but that doesn't mean we should all lay down and die, and as long as we're opting for the continuation of our species, we should make our existence as prosperous as possible.
>serving the world
Everyone in the renewable energy is a filthy socialist leech
All "renewable" industies are created by government mandates at the expense of actual productive behavior.
Care to expand on this?
One thing I don't understand is the economics of renewables. So you're saying all wind farms and solar arrays are gov. funded and are not true businesses, using maybe coal fired power plants as a comparable business.
There's the Widom-Larsen theory, which describes how an electron and proton could combine into a neutron like entity to pass through the coulomb barrier.
There's muon catalyzed fusion, which takes advantage of the extra mass of muons compared to electrons. Since muons are more massive, their orbitals are much closer to the nucleus, allowing atoms to get close enough to fuse at low temperatures.
There's also turning hydrogen gas into Bose condensate/rydberg matter inside a metal lattice, delocalizing the hydrogen atoms, potentially allowing them to fuse.
The first two are definitely theoretically possible, and there's been plenty of lab demonstrations of muon catalyzed fusion. The drawback of muon catalyzed fusion is that
-the muons get bound up in the fusion products, being lost as a catalyst
So if you can create a more efficient muon generator, muon fusion is potentially viable.
The people who actually study electricity grids and who know how economics works have been saying it for year.
> All I ever hear is how well wind and solar are doing and slowly but surely nuclear is being phased out.
You should probably get your news from somewhere other than econews or some shit. The only place nuclear is being phased out is Germany and that's assuming Merkel survives the next election.
Wind and solar aren't doing "well". They only exist as a business because of subsidies and feed in tariffs. And despite several decades and several hundred billion in subsidies (not to mention the cost to the end user because of the feed in tariffs) they're still not viable.
It's a horrible simplification.
Most places with renewables have a feed in tariff. Some will also have construction subsidies.
The feed in tariff basically means that the electricity distributor has to buy any electricity made by the solar/wind farm and has to pay a fixed price for it regardless of demand. Meanwhile, every other generator on the grid will get paid for their electricity depending on how much is being made compared to how much is being consumed. Because the price changes a generator will make the decision on whether to switch off their generator or not. They will make this choice based on how long it takes to start/shut-down their generator and how long they think it will take for price to increase again.
For example, It's the middle of the day in Australia. The solar panels are outputting their maximum power when suddenly the wind picks up. All of a sudden the network has far more electricity being generated than is being consumed. The oversupply causes the price to plummet.
Now, coal takes several hours to shut down and several days to start up again. The generation is fucking cheap (Latrobe Valley in Victoria digs the nastiest coal in the Western world out of the ground for less than $4/tonne there) so they will usually just ride out the price slump. Pressurised water reactors are exactly the same. Takes too long to restart them and uranium is cheap so they ride out the downturn.
Combined cycled gas turbines take an hour or so to restart so they'll make a decision based on how long they think the slump will last for. More than a few hours and they'll switch off. Boiling water reactors are similar but rather than switching off they'll go into low power mode (25-50% depending on the design).
Open cycled turbines, hydro and diesel generators can go from zero to maximum capacity in only a minute so as soon as the price slumps they'll switch off.
The problem here though is that while the price as crashed to only a few dollars per megawatt hour, the law requires the distributor to continue to buy wind and solar at its inflated cost of a few hundred dollars per megawatt hour. This encourages people to build it. The problem though is that in a free market, wind would get more and more unprofitable the more of it you add to the grid. The days when the wind blows becomes the days your electricity is worthless because everyone else is making free electricity. No one would build them.
tl;dr They aren't businesses.
Except it's not cheap. Many times a year the wind won't blow and the sun won't shine. To build a renewable grid you needs massive overcapacity (to cover when one one is going) plus an enormous amount of backup. That backup will either be a fuck tonne of hydro trashing the countryside or batteries whose cost will skyrocket the moment people have to use them because of constrained lithium and lead resources.
And sorry to break it to you, but in most places the electricity market is a buy and sell market. A market that's forced to buy overpriced wind and solar driving up prices for the consumer and wrecking our industry costing us jobs.
I bet your America. You said yourself enough putting into people on the grid can cut the costs pre megawattage. It shouldn't be a still matter of supply and demand.
It's still cheaper Iran again.
OP here, this is awesome input, I'll be working practically the next 48 hours and it's late atm, but I'm definitely still watching this thread, so know that your time is not wasted with these posts.
I'd like to sift through what you've said and look it up to have a proper retort, as it all sounds very convincing and I don't mean to ignorantly disbelieve you, but if I know nothing else, it is to not be easily convinced or swayed without thorough consideration. I would like to believe that burning coal, gas or oil is not the plateau of energy production efficiency but the more I see the more I can imagine wind and solar being novel and over puffed without significant improvements or more, changes to battery capacity, energy distribution and the laws determining how it all goes about. For lack of a better term.
I have watched a documentary and read a few articles about the many common misunderstandings of nuclear energy and I'm not personally averse to the idea of pursuing a career there. I was just under the impression that it was becoming less viable as an alternative to energy producers with a larger impact on human health and the well being.
Thanks again anon.
Ph.D. student here investigating the impact on our power system if we integrate high levels of renewable energy. Most of my research is simulation based but I can try to answer any questions you have. Ask away.
If I was you Id do a bachelors degree in physics. After that youd be able to do a masters in some form of renwable energy engineering, or if youre smart enough, do a masters and doctorate and researcg nuclear fusion, which is probably the future of energy
Whilst i personally endorse the idea of nuclear energy this is a horrible strategy if you plan to make some bucks and have some job stability. Noone knows at this point if fusion will ever be economically viable, and if it wont probably happen in the next three decades.
Most birds get whacked flying into illuminated office buildings at night. You should delete that shit.
Isn't that a sort of oxymoron, "renewable" and "respectable university". Solar panels and wind turbines are not renewable, you need to build them with manufacturing plants full of plastic and fossil fuels? Same with nuke plants and radioactive rock mining and enrichment, processing.
The best plan is depopulation and eventually revert to coal when all the easy oil is gone. Of course nothing will happen, population will increase and most will be driven into energy poverty and die while a small percentage play with their technocratic toys, batteries and widgets. Also resource wars from here on out, prepare they anus "renewable" and "green" energy fags because in reality, you are just more energy sinks.
>Muh free market
This is meant to be about the actual science lnot complaining about taxes and Government interventions. If we take market forces out of the question what sort of investment in (in basic infrastructure) does it take to use renewable energy to power a city?
>trying to pretend cost doesn't matter.
I do have to wonder about you. Do you sit around waiting all day for any thread that mentions nuclear so you can shitpost, or do you have a crawler that notifies you?
Sure, go into politics and tell the public they need to stop fucking without protection because their kids will most likely be completely useless in a world in which a factory operated by 10 people can produce a 1000 cars per day.
Do this in india, china and africa...
Well not only that but Pope of Rome with his dogma and 1 billion legion is still rolling around.
I'm all for alternative energy sources but so far all that has been discovered since oil is nuclear, and that was more to build a bomb than anything else, even the waste is turned into bullets. Solar is best employed on a large scale in the classic sense, growing crops. Wind has some potential to supplement. Geothermal is interesting. These fill tiny niches and don't even come close to something we can rebuild the industrial world around. I'm not even a coal miner but its what we should be looking at long term.
Until then we should invest in fission anyway. But unfortunately most people are retarded and are still using a shit tier lead-based reactor meltdown from the 70s as the reason why we can't possibly consider nuclear, it's too "dangerous". Never mind the thousands of coal miners that die every year
It all honestly depends on what direction you want to attempt to tackle the problem from. There's a ton of different disciplines that can get you in. That said, I'd put EE toward the bottom of the list. While EEs do a lot of shit with things like generators, they're not necessarily part of dealing with what powers the generator.
MechE is, I think, not a direction you'd want to go either. Giant hunks of mechanical engineering is looking for ways to make machines work more efficiently and much of what they're doing is transferable between the field they were developed for and other fields.
Aeronautical Engineering is an area in which I think there's still a decent amount of room for growth and innovation in renewables. I'm not just talking about designing the props on windmills, but remember that their specialty is strongly grounded in fluid flow. Dealing with shit like turbulence is a massive problem in many, many kinds of industry, especially those in which heat transfer is a big deal.
Materials engineering is a good support type position.
ChemE is one of your best bets because a lot depends upon us doing something with different fuels or battery technologies.
NukeE is kinda obvious.
Biology/OChem/Genetics -- making shit that makes fuel out of things that aren't fuel, even the squishy scientists have a place.
Is there wind always at night?
>Also do you understand the concept of a battery?
You obviously haven't bothered to do the basic calculations on the amount of lithium, lead and other metals you'd need to backup the world's power.
Really? They should propagandize these major ideological shifts so heathen like myself can be kept abreast.
Yeah batteries and storage...these are energy sinks and probably the biggest drawback of so called renewable sources right now. When you factor it all in the entire system starts to look like a net energy loss, a Jevons Paradox.
I was going to suggest OP get into that line as that is where the demand is. Battery and electrical storage tech is plateauing. That's some chemistry for sure, not so much magnets. Or maybe a combination of electricity, chemistry and magnets is the answer?