- A zero carbon future for our planet
- An alternative to coal fired power stations
- No necessity for nuclear power
- Solar Hydrogen fuel production for transport
- Solar electricity production at any point on the planet
- A zero pollution future for our planet
- An eternal energy solution

Martin John  2nd March 2013

Implementation 8th April 2015

Introduction

This webpage presents my vision for the energy future of our planet.  My focus is to establish a universal renewable energy system that provides us with electricity, liquid fuels for transport, and gas for heating and cooking.  The starting point is quite clearly the production of low cost solar electricity.  Electricity can then be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas.  Hydrogen gas can be compressed, liquefied and stored as liquid hydrogen fuel.  Hydrogen gas can be stored in solid hydride materials and then used as a fuel.  Hydrogen can also be combined with nitrogen extracted from the air to produce liquid ammonia NH
3 using the Haber-Bosch process.  Liquid ammonia offers several advantages over hydrogen as an energy carrier and perhaps also as a fuel.

The Sun... an energy monster

The Power of the Sun

Energy is a hugely abundant resource in the Universe.  Our Sun delivers an enormous amount of energy.  The Earth is positioned 93 million miles from the sun.  At this distance, a window in space 1m x 1m facing the Sun receives 1.37kw of solar power.  In 24 hours this window receives 32.9kwhr of solar energy.  To put this into perspective my daily electricity use in a reasonably small house living as an individual is 8kwhr.  I have measured the solar power on my back veranda.  In Melbourne, Australia, my solar collector receives as much as 1.1kw/m, say 1kw.  On a clear summer's day, my collector is receiving this power through a 7 hour window.  This means that the roof of my house(200m) is receiving 200kw x 7hrs = 1400kwhr.  Now this is a substantial amount of energy.  Wouldn't it be good if we could capture just a reasonable proportion of this available energy?  There are vast unused tracts of land on this planet that receive huge amounts of solar radiation.  1m in the Sahara receives 2600kwhr per year!

The Sahara
2600kwhr/m
per year

Overview of the System

My approach is to make the entire roof of a building a solar collector.  My roof design will collect close to 100% of the solar energy it receives.  This energy is transported via vacuum insulated pipe work to a vacuum insulated energy storage tank.  This energy can then be presented at any time to a refrigerant turbine that runs a generator, generating electricity.  Using a combination of technologies to assist, some already proven, I expect my turbine design to achieve close to 100% efficiency.  Currently available refrigerant turbine systems operate at only 20%-25% efficiency.  A typical coal fired power station which uses steam turbines operates at only about 40% efficiency!  60% of the available energy is discarded or rejected in the conical cooling towers often seen issuing clouds of steam.  The reason these systems are unable to achieve higher efficiencies is because the turbine is unable to convert the major component of energy, the latent heat of vaporization, into mechanical movement and thus electricity generation.  The latent heat of vaporization is the energy required to change the state, vaporize water to steam, as opposed to the energy required to heat the water up to operating temperature.  So this latent heat component of energy is largely rejected in the cooling towers.  This applies also to nuclear power plants and solar concentrator systems(20% efficiency) that use the same steam turbine technology.  Solar panels operate at only 15% efficiency and are relatively expensive.

A coal fired power station
Conical cooling towers reject 58% of energy not converted to electricity.

A nice looking site

Modular Building System

Over a couple of decades I have designed the basis of a modular building system.  The idea is to create a building where all components are manufactured in factories, transported by container, and screwed together on site.  My design includes screw together concrete slab sections and wall sections as well as the entire roof.  For this application, modular factories with full solar roofs can be assembled in areas like the Sahara.  These factories would be filled with turbines and generators as well as hydrogen production and ammonia production.  The factory then effectively becomes a solar ammonia factory producing liquid ammonia as its' product.  This liquid ammonia can then be shipped to any point on the planet with relative ease.  It can be converted to any of the range of hydrogen fuels previously discussed.  It can also be used to power an ammonia turbine or an ammonia fuel cell to produce electricity, also in a modular factory, anywhere on the planet.
$ Economics

The advantage of this modular design is that we can make use of low cost economies such as China, Ukraine, Mexico and South Africa.  All components of the modular building system except for concrete pouring can be manufactured in these economies providing about an overall 6 fold cost advantage as compared to western economies.  The cost of one western employee will cover the cost of 18 workers in China.  Material cost differentials are about 3 to 1.  If a close to 100% efficiency is achieved in our turbine, this will give us a 5 fold operating cost advantage over current systems.  When combined with a 6 fold manufacturing cost advantage, we can potentially achieve a 30 fold overall cost advantage to current.  My expectation is that we can eventually approach an energy production cost of 1/kwhr.

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The Operation

The operation focuses on several countries.  These are the areas on the planet that receive maximum solar radiation and include Mauritania, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Namibia, Northern Australia, Northern India, Bolivia, Arizona and New Mexico.  The operation is quite similar to a mining operation requiring good port facilities, good railway systems for container freight from port to site.  Assembly factories would be assembled at the solar site.  These factories would essentially be concrete plants.  All slab reinforcing metal work manufactured in places like China would arrive by container at the site assembly factory.  Concrete slabs would then be poured in moulds ready for transport to the solar factory site.  Turbines and other plant would also be assembled at the site assembly factory.  Once operational liquid ammonia product can be transported by ammonia railcar to port.  Ideally underground ammonia pipelines would be constructed from site to port.  A region like Europe could be powered by solar factories in Algeria, Libya and Egypt with ammonia pipelines across the Mediterranean.  The US already has a significant network of ammonia pipelines, rail cars, refrigerated barges and storage facilities across the country.  This network provides ammonia distribution primarily for fertiliser used in agriculture.  This existing network could be utilized and expanded if ammonia proves to be the most effective form of energy distribution.

Double stack container freight train hauled by 3 GE Evolution Series Locomotives

34,000 gal anhydrous ammonia tank rail car

Ammonia carrier ship

Low Environmental Impact

My personal position is that I wish for this operation to be of minimal physical and cosmetic environmental impact.  I do not wish to see a landscape with a sky full of turning propellers, nor do I wish to see a sky full of ugly steel structures and hissing electrical cables, or arrays of mirrors that concentrate sunlight on towers at 500C instantly vaporizing any bird that flies by.  I do not wish to see huge industrial or chemical plants that present a mass of tangled pipe work and smoking chimneys.  I do not believe that any of these scenarios are even necessary in our pursuit of energy.  The sun delivers such an enormous amount of energy that vast totally unused tracts of land baked by the sun can easily provide all of mankind's energy requirements in a manner almost totally unseen.

My modular factories provide a relatively attractive exterior.  Inside they are filled with turbines, hydrogen and ammonia production.  All processes are cooled by heat recycling technologies currently available, and together with factory wall heat exchangers provide a stable, cool, free cost air conditioned factory work environment even when it is 45C outside... as long as you don't open any doors!  Factories also have full roof rainwater collection.


 

 

 

 

 

Pipeline

The Future

If this project plays out as I visualize it will provide a zero carbon and zero pollution future for our planet.  It will provide an eternal energy solution at a cost close to existing fossil fuel derived energy.  All fossil fuels are finite resources.  World oil production already clearly appears to have peaked and is beginning a slow and relentless decline.  Although we do have approx. 30 years of reserves currently, I think we must conserve oil reserves before they are completely depleted.

Right Now

I have only recently confirmed in theory that my turbine design can potentially achieve full efficiency by the use of a range of assisting independent existing technologies.  Some of these technologies have established output performance figures confirming in principle that they can potentially do the job.  I have just begun work to make a small pilot turbine/generator system.  The efficiency of the turbine is central and critical to the outcome of the whole project.

The Purpose of this Page

The purpose of this page is to present my concept publicly.  I want to attract real investors with real intentions to invest in the eternal future of our planet and our society.  Energy is perhaps the most important foundation piece of our economy in the world today.

About Me

1975-1977 K A Reed Pty Ltd:  Survey assistant on gas pipeline and civil engineering drafting
1977-1978 Monash University:  1st year Engineering

1978-1984 R G Stephens & Assoc Pty Ltd:  Design of vapour degreasing & ultrasonic cleaning systems
               Richmond Technical College:  Sheet metal Trade Certificate
1984-1990 Emjay Manufacturing:  Specialising in precision sheet metal components for the electronics industry
1990-2013 M Rack Studio Furniture:  Design and manufacturing of a range of studio workstations for recording
               studio musicians, exporting to US and Europe.

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