Comment 43479

By Kiely (registered) | Posted July 16, 2010 at 11:29:21

Kiely, your link gives us somethnig to chew on (but am just heading out the door). Can't read the whole article but it says xxx wind & solar plants + will be cheaper than conventional. Can you give us some idea of how they plan to do that since everything i've seen says these things are way more expensive. Cheers. Bob

I read that article on a plane a while back and found it very interesting… As far as expense, if I remember correctly, they basically take the "as these technologies become more main stream they will become more economical" stance which is often true does but leave a little bit to be desired in the "how" department.

I have seen this expensive to economical shift happen with technologies first hand before so I know it does happen. An example is the use of synthetic fluids (a significant technology improvement). 10-15 years ago synthetic fluid was deemed too expensive and not economical by many users. But as the technology developed and improved and as more suppliers of synthetic fluid became available it became economical and the benefits are significant.

Some numbers to "chew" on:

A small to medium mining operation will have say 100 haul trucks (Big operations will have 2-3 times that).

The trucks typically operate 6000 hrs per year

100L of oil is required per final drive and there are 2 per truck = 200L

Conventional Oil needs to be changed every 250 hrs = 24 oil changes per year

24 x 200 = 4800L of oil consumed per year per truck.

4800 x 100 trucks = 480,000L of oil consumed

Synthetic Oil needs to be changed every 4000 hrs = 1.5 oil changes per year

1.5 x 200 = 300L of oil consumed per year per truck

300 x 100 trucks = 30,000L of oil consumed

A difference of 450,000L of oil.

I could show you similar numbers for engines and hydraulic systems but I assume you get the point … it very quickly gets into millions of litres of oil saved per year just on 100 trucks. Factor in additional equipment, larger fleets and more sites and you can see the significant impact the development of synthetic fluids has had on consumption. With the dawn of nano-technology in lubricating fluids we are seeing even longer life from oils and even the potential for nano-coatings capable of allowing "dry-running" (i.e., no lubricating oil at all).

I could go on about DC to AC inverter technology, GTOs, IGBTs, regenerative hydraulic systems, eco-fluids and other new technologies that reduce our demand on fossil fuels and our impact on the environment but hopefully at this point you can see why I really have no time for people who want to declare that technology can't help.

As for civil rights and other improvements, it's important not to view that kind of thing entirely within our own cultural context. - Undustrial

True Undustrial I was providing a North American perspective. It is a tough topic, lots of "ya, buts" to consider.

Comment edited by Kiely on 2010-07-16 10:33:06

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