Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2008

Solar By Numbers

A group at the University of New South Wales has announced that they have achieved a record 25% efficiency with a silicon solar cell, improving on their previous 24.7% performance...

...except that it is the SAME CELL as before. It's just that the standards body changed the reference spectrum upon which the PV cell is tested, and their cell happens to take better advantage of the new spectrum.

“Improvements in understanding atmospheric effects upon the colour content of sunlight led to a revision of the standard spectrum in April. The new spectrum has a higher energy content both down the blue end of the spectrum and at the opposite red end with, dare I say it, relatively less green.”
This is (exactly) like having the EPA change their mileage test and then having an automaker trumpet the "improved" performance of their products.

Mish, who is usually rather astute, fell for this nonsense.

NSW does good work, but please...

Doh!

Doh!

A Horse in the Sun

Horsepower (hp) is a unit of (naturally) power, or energy delivered per unit time. It is most commonly used to rate the power delivered by internal combustion engines (automobiles, lawn mowers). For a precise definition and history of this unit, this entry in Wikipedia is a good read. There is some variability in the precise conversion between horsepower and other units, but it is approximately equal to 745 watts.

I find this value rather interesting, as this is roughly the incident power delivered, per square meter, of radiation from the sun -- and also roughly the area available on a horse for collecting said power. And of course, harvesting that power is a rather inefficient process -- about 10-20% for solar cells.

Something to think about when you see an automobile rated at 200 hp: it would take 2000 square meters of (cheap) solar panels to deliver the equivalent power. That is nearly half of a football field. Try towing that behind your car.

Sobering thought.

Khurais Media Tours

The Saudis are staging a massive PR effort for their Khurais redevelopment project. A sampling:

UPI: Saudis show journalists huge oil project
NY Times: Saudi Oil Project Brings Skepticism to the Surface
AP: Giant Saudi field is key to boosting oil output
FT: Saudis rely on Khurais to speak volumes
The National (UAE): Khurais joins Saudi giants

Journalists were brought in en masse. Of course, I am miffed that they did not invite me. But I doubt that Matt Simmons was invited either.

Some tidbits:

Now the Saudis are deploying an extraordinary engineering effort to bring Khurais’s mile-deep oil to the surface. Seawater will be carried through new pipelines from the Persian Gulf and injected into oil-bearing rock to pressure the oil upward. Usually Aramco pumps seawater into a field only after several years of production, and some skeptics point to this as a reason to doubt that Khurais will live up to its billing. But Mr. Nasser said the huge seawater injection system at Khurais was about cost an…

The US Lower 48 OCS: The Undiscovered Pipedream

There is a growing amount of hand-wringing and political pandering about the fact that a big chunk of potential US offshore oil and gas resources is off limits for exploration and extraction due to limitations imposed decades ago. If you would believe the hype, the US could take a bite out of imports simply by removing restrictions on drilling the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), including areas offshore California, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Seaboard.



More like "No Clue Zone". The reality is quite different, as revealed in a report prepared by the EIA in 2007. Shown in the table below are estimates of how much oil and gas is out there just waiting to be discovered in inaccessible areas in comparison to whatis available currently:



Shown below is the impact on US offshore production if restrictions are lifted, according to the EIA:



The bottom line, in the words of the EIA:

The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and ea…

Golden Decades of Discovery

Nate Hagens and Euan Mearns discussed the graph below in this post at The Oil Drum:



The world uses over 300 billion barrels per decade at current rates. This much oil was discovered in the following decades: 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

Not good.

Khursaniyah Still Cursed

The Khursaniyah project in Saudi Arabia is still not producing oil, and it is about six months behind schedule. This after they claimed just a few weeks ago to have already started. The finger is being pointed at the gas plant:
"The gas plant is a major delay. It's really a disappointment," Falih said. "All of it will be ready in a few months." Aramco could bring on most of Khursaniyah's capacity if needed, Falih said. But gas would have to be burnt off, which Aramco wanted to avoid, he added.The field produces light crude, and Falih said Aramco had seen little increased demand for that type of oil from its customers. Most recent demand growth was for medium and heavy grades, he added.Saudi Arabia boosted crude output of 300,000 bpd earlier this month and is targeting total output of 9.45 million bpd in June. That increment came from several fields including Ghawar and Safaniyah, Falih said.Nobody wants the light crude? But doesn't Ghawar product light c…