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Old 06-25-2012, 01:59 PM  
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Originally Posted by Eddie_T View Post
One acre of land can produce about 50 gallons of ethanol.This would compute to some 2.8 billion acres to totally replace gasoline consumed in the US per year, that's considerably more cropland than is currently in use in the US. Corn requires a lot of water, fertilizer and pesticides compared to other crops and aren't those fertilizers and pesticides made from fossil fuels?
Fischer-Tropsch
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:30 AM  
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These calcs seem a bit high, but you can get the idea.
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Published on GazetteNET (http://www.gazettenet.com)

Calculating acreage requirements
By Daily Hampshire Gazette
Created 08/20/2011 - 5:00am


The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant has a capacity of 605 megawatts (MW). These calculations show how much land would be required to replace the plant with electricity generated with wind turbines or solar panels.

To begin with, we have to take into account the actual production of each of these types of power sources in comparison to their capacity. (This is a bit like comparing the gas mileage on the sticker of a new car to the performance you get under real-life conditions.) Energy specialists use "capacity factors" to express this difference as the ratio of actual production to capacity. Expressed as percentages, these factors are often assumed to be about 90 percent for nuclear, 30 percent for wind and 20 percent for solar. The latter two are low because neither wind nor solar radiation are available all the time.

To match Vermont Yankee's output, here's how much land would be needed for wind or solar power. We start by multiplying Vermont Yankee's capacity of 605 MW by 90 percent, for an actual production level of 544.5 MW. To scale up wind or solar generation to that equivalent, we divide that number by each source's capacity factor, then multiply by the land area needed per megawatt. A reasonable estimate of land area for solar is 6.3 acres for each MW of production. For wind, the total land area accounts for the spacing of wind turbines in an array. Depending on spacing and other factors, a wind farm may occupy a total area of 30 or more acres per MW. The result of these calculations indicates a land area of approximately 17,000 acres for solar power and at least 54,000 acres for wind generation to replace Vermont Yankee.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:36 AM  
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Fischer-Tropsch

The Fischer-Tropsch process converts hydrocarbon fuels to other hydrocarbon fuels. You can feed it coal, natural gas, etc. and produce gasoline, diesel fuel, etc. The Air Force has certified its fleet to operate on domestically-produced SynFuel produced through the Fischer-Tropsch process. That particular fuel is very similar to diesel fuel - it's close enough that Army vehicles - from HMMWVs to Abrams tanks to Apache helicopters - can all use it. It's close enough that most trucks could use it. The process can be adjusted to produce a more ideal diesel substitute, or a replacement for gasoline.

F-T was used to supply liquid fuels in Germany and South Africa when isolated by WWII and apartheid.

Coal-to-Liquid conversion can produce fuels at $2.56 to $2.82/gallon

Large-scale Gas-to-Liquid conversion can be competitive with crude oil prices down as low as $20/barrel.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:45 AM  
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Originally Posted by Eddie_T View Post
These calcs seem a bit high, but you can get the idea.
How many acres does the Vermont Yankee site occupy itself? How much land had to be mined to obtain its uranium fuel? How much had to be set aside for permanent storage of its waste products?

The longer you run Vermont Yankee, or any nuclear power station, (Or, to a lesser extent, a coal-fired generator) the larger its total land use. The land use of solar, wind, or water generation is fixed.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:29 AM  
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Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
How many acres does the Vermont Yankee site occupy itself? How much land had to be mined to obtain its uranium fuel? How much had to be set aside for permanent storage of its waste products?

The longer you run Vermont Yankee, or any nuclear power station, (Or, to a lesser extent, a coal-fired generator) the larger its total land use. The land use of solar, wind, or water generation is fixed.
Spent nuclear material is a serious problem but coal may be even worse when one considers the air pollution and the sludge from the scrubbers and ash.
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:07 PM  
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Furthermore, wind farms don't need exclusive use of the land where they are placed. Each tower has a surface footprint of under 1/4 acre. The surrounding area is readily available for agricultural and/or certain industrial uses. Using a 3.3MW-rated turbine and a 30% capacity factor, a single tower can produce 1MW, and occupies just 4% of that 6.3 acres of agricultural land. If 6.6MW turbines are used, they'll occupy under 2% of the land in question.


Solar doesn't need exclusive land use either. Any roof with a vertical and/or southern exposure can potentially serve as a platform for a PV solar array, providing both electrical power and protection from the elements.
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