Polywell Visions: Water

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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cksantos
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Polywell Visions: Water

Postby cksantos » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:02 pm

This is my first post, so ill introduce myself. My name is Cole and I work for the water department in Maui, Hawaii. I studied aquaponics and philosophy as a student at UH Manoa. I read lots of SF and news. I was a leech on this site for a while before I decided to post.

1. Fresh potable water will become abundant.

a. Flash steam distallation will become cheap. It is much cheaper to build a flash steam distillation plant than a RO plant, but the energy costs of a flash steam plant are significantly higher. Right now Australia is integrating solar to bring the cost down, but successful polywell will make this unnecessary.

b. Atmospheric Water Generators (AWG) will become more cost effective than transmission. It is very expensive to build water infrastructure, and often our water infrastructure is aging to the point of being inoperable. Using what is effectively a giant dehumidifier one could generate a truly distributed water supply by placing small water tanks and a big dehumidifier on every home, or in every dry dying forest and desert, or industrial process plants.

c. When you combine giant ocean steam generators, and massive AWG's you can control earths atmosphere and consequently, weather. Not sure if were ready for quite this level of terraforming yet...

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:57 pm

No one cares about water?

jsbiff
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Postby jsbiff » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:34 pm

I'll bite. . .

In places too arid, I suppose an AWG would be a good solution. I think, however, in places like Ohio or Washington (state), where you get a lot of rain, it would make more sense to combine the ancient and honorable cistern with a water purifier (I'm thinking purifying the captured rain water would be more energy efficient than condensing it out of the atmosphere? Not sure - but I think you could run it through a charcoal (or other) filter, then maybe boil it to kill off pathogens - heck, you could probably use the pasteurization process, which I think is pretty energy efficient)?

Even with 'cheap' fusion power, I think there is still reason to not be outright wasteful of energy - if there is a reasonable, cost-effective solution which uses 1/10 or 1/100 of the energy, why not use it, right?

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:59 pm

jsbiff wrote:I'm thinking purifying the captured rain water would be more energy efficient than condensing it out of the atmosphere?


Here in hawaii we have the wettest place on earth in Kauai, and Iao Valley in Maui is a close second, and even there it does not rain everyday. So for everyday it does not rain you must have adequate storage. Average consumption in a single family home is 500 gallons per day. So if it rains heavily a few times per year then you need thousands of gallons of storage. This is a similar problem incurred with ground and surface water pumping, infrastructure cost.

With AGW you control when it rains into your cistern, aka all day everyday. Under this paradigm your tank would only serve as a buffer for daily uses, showers, dishwasher, laundry, baths, irrigation etc.

That said, here at our office (department of water county of maui) we use rain water catchment and AC condensate catchment into three 55 gallon drums for our outdoor irrigation.

Also there are major EPA obstacles to using rainwater catchment as a source of drinking water, back flow issues etc. Where AGW is free of any regulatory issues.

So here are the options:

Catchment- medium infrastructure costs(storage tank), zero transmission cost(on site), low energy cost(filtration), subject to EPA issues (backflow)

Pump and pipe- high infrastructure costs(pumps), high trasmission cost(pipes), high energy cost(pumps), highly reliable (2000+ years experience)

AGW- low infrastructure cost, zero transmission cost, high energy cost, output is variable (based on humidity)

jsbiff
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Postby jsbiff » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:13 am

Pardon my ignorance - what is backflow, and what does that have to do with the EPA?

For urban areas, I suppose large storage of water could be a problem. For more suburban and rural areas, your 'storage' could be a pond in the backyard that you also swim and fish in. Or a large underground tank.

For urban areas, I think pump-and-pipe will probably always be the method of choice - when you have a very high population density per land area, I think the cost of piping the water around becomes small on a per-capita basis - I.E. running a pipe to an apartment building with 500-1000 people living in it doesn't cost much more than running a pipe to a house with 1-8 people living in it.

Trying to condense water on a scale to ensure adequate water for the needs of a city is, I think, probably not reliable enough - on humid days, you'd have plenty of water, but what about if you get a stretch of pretty dry days in a row, and suddenly everyone in the city doesn't have enough water to shower, water their plants, cook, make drinks, etc. That's not even considering commercial and industrial water needs.

I think for cities, having a central water plant and pipes, which can pretty much guarantee sufficient water all the time, to the entire population and industrial/commercial customers, is something people will not willingly give up.

Plus, the first time some family gets sick or someone dies because of an improperly maintained AWG which got contaminated, it'll be all over the news. . . (that applies to a cistern/pond system equally, by the way, so as not to play favorites. . . I'm just trying to think this through better).

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:00 am

jsbiff wrote:Pardon my ignorance - what is backflow, and what does that have to do with the EPA?


backflow occurs when i flush a fire hydrant line outside your home and your line sucks water/air into the system, think venturi. Now imagine if that open line sucked in wastewater, or some other contaminant. That entire distribution area can now make people very sick. Thus the EPA requires backflow preventers and yearly testing for the said backflow preventers on some meters. They also do not allow you to connect your raincatchment if you are also connected to the water supply. Then the EPA and the water utility would be responsible for backflow from your improperly chlorinated cistern (they don't trust you) entering the water supply.

jsbiff wrote: For more suburban and rural areas, your 'storage' could be a pond in the backyard that you also swim and fish in. Or a large underground tank.


That would never pass county permitting backflow issues. Remember that you have to DRINK this water.

jsbiff wrote: I think the cost of piping the water around becomes small on a per-capita basis - I.E. running a pipe to an apartment building with 500-1000 people living in it doesn't cost much more than running a pipe to a house with 1-8 people living in it.


Not true, a pipe running to a building with 500-1000 people would not just be "a pipe", first off it requires huge backflow preventers >10,000$ 4"-6" ductile iron piping (several hundred $ per section), and when it breaks (not if, when) you have to pay union workers to tear up huge sections of pavement for up to days at a time. Where with a single family home the service lateral is simply 3/4 copper line that is usually in their yard and can be fixed with a shovel and a clamp. I think most people have no idea how expensive water transmission systems are, its insane. This is not even getting into the cost of running booster pumps that can push water up a skyscraper.

jsbiff wrote:Trying to condense water on a scale to ensure adequate water for the needs of a city is, I think, probably not reliable enough - on humid days, you'd have plenty of water, but what about if you get a stretch of pretty dry days in a row, and suddenly everyone in the city doesn't have enough water to shower, water their plants, cook, make drinks, etc. That's not even considering commercial and industrial water needs.


UAE uses AWG and its fairly dry there so the variability would be marginal and only consume more energy.

Large versions, mounted on trailers, are said to produce up to 1200 gallons of water per day, at a rate of up to 5 gallons of water per gallon of fuel.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheri ... _generator

jsbiff wrote:I think for cities, having a central water plant and pipes, which can pretty much guarantee sufficient water all the time, to the entire population and industrial/commercial customers, is something people will not willingly give up.


Cities like Philadelphia have 100 year old pipes, that are estimated to cost upwards of a billion to fix, lose about 50% of their water during transmission. Industry average is 12%, we have 15% Not to mention some service areas in our county lose water for up to 3 weeks because we cant afford to repipe their line that was old leftover irrigation pipe when they installed it 20 years ago. Water service only appears to be reliable because your municipal water maintenance guys are on call to bust their a** 365/24/7

jsbiff wrote:Plus, the first time some family gets sick or someone dies because of an improperly maintained AWG which got contaminated, it'll be all over the news. . . (that applies to a cistern/pond system equally, by the way, so as not to play favorites. . . I'm just trying to think this through better).


AGW is more potentially more pure than any other water source.(although I wonder about air pollutions affect)

Groundwater, depending on your local, may contain contaminates that leach from anthropogenic activity ie dumps, agriculture runoff etc. Make sure you throw your cfl bulbs into your local water supply...

Surface water is contaminated by feral animals plus the problems associated with ground water.

Rainwater suffers from lazy people not chlorinating their water tank and making the people who do look bad by association.(all you need is a capfull of bleach)[/quote]

jsbiff
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Postby jsbiff » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:48 am

cksantos wrote:
jsbiff wrote:Pardon my ignorance - what is backflow, and what does that have to do with the EPA?


backflow occurs when i flush a fire hydrant line outside your home and your line sucks water/air into the system, think venturi. Now imagine if that open line sucked in wastewater, or some other contaminant.


-snip-
I thought we were talking about people disconnecting from municipal/regional water pipes? If they completely disconnect, there'd be no backflow possible, right? So, wouldn't EPA regs go away?

Although it does raise the problem that Fire Departments still need hydrants, which currently, are subsidized (I think?) by the fact that you have all these customers helping to pay for the cost of a water network. Although it might be a bit smaller and cheaper to build/maintain for just fire hydrant usage, wouldn't it be at least close to the same overall cost to maintain a water network for fire hydrants, but since you have no customers (theoretically), or substantially fewer customers, doesn't it suddenly become much more expensive for the municipality to provide fire service?


cksantos wrote:
jsbiff wrote: For more suburban and rural areas, your 'storage' could be a pond in the backyard that you also swim and fish in. Or a large underground tank.


That would never pass county permitting backflow issues. Remember that you have to DRINK this water.


I wasn't proposing you drink the water untreated. Like I said, I thought I had suggested an in-home water treatment device (filtration + something to kill pathogens [chlorine, pasteurization, boiling - something; I'm no expert on water treatment, but I know there's ways to clean it up]).

I mean, obviously it would be bad if your water got contaminated by heavy metals, industrial chemicals, pesticides, etc, which might pass right through a filter, and wouldn't be affected by heat or chlorine, so that might be a valid reason to not use a pond, if there were a chance of that. In that case, go back to the cistern + underground tank (where the tank is completely sealed to prevent chemical contamination).

As for backflow, again, if you are disconnected from the muni network, shouldn't that issue go away?

cksantos wrote:
jsbiff wrote: I think the cost of piping the water around becomes small on a per-capita basis - I.E. running a pipe to an apartment building with 500-1000 people living in it doesn't cost much more than running a pipe to a house with 1-8 people living in it.


Not true, a pipe running to a building with 500-1000 people would not just be "a pipe", first off it requires huge backflow preventers >10,000$ 4"-6" ductile iron piping (several hundred $ per section), and when it breaks (not if, when) you have to pay union workers to tear up huge sections of pavement for up to days at a time. Where with a single family home the service lateral is simply 3/4 copper line that is usually in their yard and can be fixed with a shovel and a clamp. I think most people have no idea how expensive water transmission systems are, its insane. This is not even getting into the cost of running booster pumps that can push water up a skyscraper.


O.K. I stand corrected. I'll defer to you since it sounds like this is your area of expertise. I figured the costs would increase for a big apartment building, I just figured they would scale non-linearly - i.e. if it costs $x for a single-family home, it would cost less than 500*$x for a 500 family apartment building. Sounds like that is not the case?

A question, however, about that 3/4 copper line you mentioned - My limited understanding of muni water networks is that while you might have a small copper line that runs from your house to the street, that there is a water main at the street which is substantially larger, designed to accomodate all the water necessary for all the houses in your neighborhood?

So, if that water main is providing water to 500 houses in a neighborhood, wouldn't it be substantially the same cost for that water main, as for running such a water main to the apartment building?

cksantos wrote:
jsbiff wrote:Trying to condense water on a scale to ensure adequate water for the needs of a city is, I think, probably not reliable enough - on humid days, you'd have plenty of water, but what about if you get a stretch of pretty dry days in a row, and suddenly everyone in the city doesn't have enough water to shower, water their plants, cook, make drinks, etc. That's not even considering commercial and industrial water needs.


UAE uses AWG and its fairly dry there so the variability would be marginal and only consume more energy.


Alright. I wasn't really sure how effective they are, I haven't had time to research them. Just the idea of condensing water out of the air didn't seem like it would be very effective from my past experience (which, admittedly, might not be germaine to this discussion) - when I was in high-school, my family got a small dehumidifier for our basement. I don't remember exactly, but it seemed like we had to empty the approx 5 gallon holding tank every 2 or 3 days of operation, so it didn't seem like it pulled that much water out of the air (and the basement was pretty humid at that).

However, that thing was small, and running off 120V household power (it didn't even use the big appliance-grade plugs and cables like you might use for a stove or dryer), so I suppose it's reasonable that they could make a similar device which was a bit more efficient and used a lot more power, to get a lot more water.

cksantos wrote:
jsbiff wrote:Plus, the first time some family gets sick or someone dies because of an improperly maintained AWG which got contaminated, it'll be all over the news. . . (that applies to a cistern/pond system equally, by the way, so as not to play favorites. . . I'm just trying to think this through better).


AGW is more potentially more pure than any other water source.(although I wonder about air pollutions affect)


Oh, I agree. What I meant wasn't that the water didn't start pure when it was condensed, but I was thinking more along the lines of water sitting in a storage tank, getting contaminated somehow (maybe just from the water being stagnant too long), and not properly purified on-site (which, in principle, it should be purified, but system failures seem to happen with any tech).

I'm still not sure I see how some of the critiques you applied to the cistern idea (backflow issues in particular), don't also apply to an AWG-source of water? If you are hooked up to the muni network, wouldn't backflow still be an issue for AWG?

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:25 pm

jsbiff wrote: Fire Departments still need hydrants


You just had to go and burst my bubble. Your right fire is subsidized by rate payers and there is no way in hell catchment or AWG could supply them. They cant afford the pipes either.

So we must conclude utilities will never convert for political safety reasons. However if you can solve the backflow issues (regulatory not technical issues), then a grid tie type system might work. Off grid is probably not feasible if you are already in an area with fire protection and if you in the boonies then there is no issue with fire because there is no pipes.

BTW most water infrastructure was built for fire protection and was expanded after the fact for use in buildings. We had fire hydrants before ubiquitous indoor water.

It would be easier for our utility to just buy a polywell and get credits from the utility to keep the system they have. (job security for 1000's county workers)

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Postby KitemanSA » Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:17 am

With a sufficiently light and powerful polywell, the fire department of the future may just fly to the site with a water-copter and dowse from above. Need more water, its a short trip to the local pool for a big-gulp.

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:20 am

OMG i just had a great/horrible idea, how about a firefighting BLIMP/DREADNAUGHT with kiloton payload capacity...

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Postby MSimon » Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:04 am

KitemanSA wrote:With a sufficiently light and powerful polywell, the fire department of the future may just fly to the site with a water-copter and dowse from above. Need more water, its a short trip to the local pool for a big-gulp.


Navigating the updrafts and downdrafts might be a bit tricky.
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Postby BenTC » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:10 pm

cksantos wrote:OMG i just had a great/horrible idea, how about a firefighting BLIMP/DREADNAUGHT with kiloton payload capacity...


Do you mean a kiloton of water dropped in on go to douse a fires? Yep. That ought to do it.
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Postby D Tibbets » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:38 pm

I know very little about fighting fires, but huge quantities of water are often needed. Rural fire fighters often struggle to get enough water . They have to carry their water, and try to refill at local creaks or ponds. In the mean time any initial gains may be lost.
Also, directing water to specific areas- like through a window, or under the rafters is often necessary. Dumping from above may be very inefficient. Even a huge zeppelin would experience a bunch of turbulence over a large fire. I guess this is why blimps are not used to fight forest fires. Plus, they might carry alot of water, but they are slow and so it takes much longer to get to the fire and to refill their tanks.

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Postby KitemanSA » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:40 am

D Tibbets wrote:Also, directing water to specific areas- like through a window, or under the rafters is often necessary. Dumping from above may be very inefficient.
Ok so the helotanker transfers the water to the fire truck and goes for more while the tanker feeds the fire hoses.

Dudes, use your imaginations!
Last edited by KitemanSA on Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cksantos
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Postby cksantos » Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:29 pm

KitemanSA wrote:
D Tibbets wrote:Also, directing water to specific areas- like through a window, or under the rafters is often necessary. Dumping from above may be very inefficient.
Ok so the helotanker transfers the water to the fire truck and goes for wore while the tanker feeds the fire hoses.

Dudes, use your imaginations!


This would work in rural areas where there space to land and if it could go 200mph like Lockheed claims then it could get decent response times as well.
You could also use to transfer water to extreme drought areas.


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