The air changed just as we entered September, and my mind is slowly returning from the summertime haze. Its been a lovely summer and here are a few highlights – more to come next post.
We went to Portland for a week, dogsitting while friends of friends went to Northwest Sufi Camp.
Around that time the article I’d written while we were housesitting for my cousin at Nanoose Bay came out in Heartbeat, the Ruhaniat newsletter (published as a pdf online.)
The theme is Sacred Nature.
The In Love with the Mystery book and CD Project is now at press, with delivery in a week or so. It’s great being part of the Eskova team helping to make this project happen! We’ve put out a few newsletters with info, plus created the website for Ann Mortifee, with info on this latest project.
Keeping in Touch #1 – announcing the book project
Keeping in Touch #2 – features the new video
We had a wonderful get-together this past weekend in memory of Shamcher Bryn Beorse, who was a yogi, sufi, pioneer of OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion.) People who had known him in his life, and those who were in touch with his work, but never met him in person gathered here, in Vancouver. I’ll report more on this event after I’ve had some time to decompress.
Taking a few moments to relax after the intensity of the weekend, I fooled around with photo booth on my mac.
The magical Lamp of Knowledge award goes to each person who was here (and you know who you are!)
The Rose of Beauty designation goes to the excellent Fifis!
Since today is Earth Day, I thought I should do something to help out our dear mother, so created this little slide presentation on solar power from the sea. I made it just to convey a taste of the information on OTEC.
If you are looking at the feed for my blog, you may have to use this link.
In 1978, Shamcher Bryn Beorse wrote this appeal for the acceptance of OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) as a solution to the energy needs of the time and for the future. This is now more necessary than ever, but what has happened with this system? It is totally benign solar power from the sea, no pollution. Here’s what he said back in ’78.
Some of my friends insist that we face an emergency, that we need to, and can build new, energy systems to replace oil, coal and nuclear. They tell me we can stop oil imports in fifteen years if we want.
“AN EMERGENCY ENERGY PROGRAM” was written by two authors: One is a Harvard-educated economist, Dr. Emile Benoit, who served in the State Department, the Defense and Labor Depts. the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the U.N. Secretariat, The Asian Development Bank and who was working on a book about sociological-economic effects of technological changes and renewals when he passed away. The other author is Dr. David Mayer of the New Orleans University, an OTEC hardhat in the midst of a potential OTEC community. They see us drifting toward a severe depression that may well cause war. The shortage of oil may favor nuclear arms. An accelerated implementation of new energy systems is to them the only way to avoid this scenario.
Before they wrote their piece. Both authors had for years listened to my experiences with OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion), which began in 1948 when I studied what the French had been doing since 1927 and the world had speculated about since 1881. Now, today, engineers and physicists are called upon to “evaluate” energy systems. Equipped with a calculator and sundry formulas. A steel brick might be so evaluated, not any system in which Thermodynamics are involved.
I spent my first few months at the University of California comparing evaporation formulae with experimental results. The latter varied from 2 to 189% of the formulae values. Dr. Irving Langmuir, author of one of these formulas, was not surprised. “I always wondered why people took my formulas so seriously” he told me. “Only years of experience with any particular system enables a person to evaluate it.’
When Robert Douglas of the TRW Co. testified before the Energy Department on 15 June 1978 and stated that OTEC now was competitive with nuclear plants, an Energy Dept. representative asked him if he could document it. “Yes,” said Mr. Douglas, “I shall send you a truckload.” Even a truckload could not have convinced the inquirer. Close and daily contact with workers in the field could. The authors of the Energy Program had maintained such contact. They also consulted shipyard presidents and workers. They estimated a building cost of $500 per KW. Compared to $1500 for present nuclear plants. The latter. Additionally, need fuel of constantly rising cost. The OTEC fuel is free. The Oceans.
The Applied Physics Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University estimates a building cost of $700 per KW, the University of Massachusetts $800, Sea Solar Power $500 to $800. Westinghouse, Lockheed and TRW $1800, since they envisage titanium heat exchangers which will be stronger and resistive to corrosion and also to allow for the idiosyncrasies of new types of plants. They count on a gradual price reduction as more plants are built.
In addition to OTEC the two authors propose wind power (which may be enhanced by cyclonic-vortex effects now widely studied) hydrogen, produced with or without OTEC power, tide, waves, biomass. They point out, however, that OTEC alone could provide all the energy the world needs with only a minor and ecologically safe utilization of available sites.
There are three presently available OTEC systems:
The Open Cycle, in which the surface water is sucked into an evaporator in a state of a vacuum sufficient to make the water evaporate at the temperature it has. This steam drives a turbine and is condensed by cold water pumped from deeper layers.
Secondly, The Closed Cycle, in which warm surface water heats a “working fluid” (Ammonia or a refrigerant) so it evaporates, drives a turbine and is condensed by cold water pumped from below.
Thirdly, The Foam Cycle in which a column of foam lifts water which drives a waterwheel. This third system still needs research. Eight Open Cycle and one Closed Cycle plants have been built.
Few new technologies have been so well prepared and are so ready to be built today as OTEC. If it isn’t, Ernest Callenbach has shown in his book ECOTOPIA what will happen: California, Oregon (and perhaps Louisiana, Florida and even Georgia) will secede from the Union and live solarly and happily ever after.
16 June 1978, Sea Water Laboratory, 47th & Hoffman Blvd.
University of California, Richmond. Ca. 94804
I’ve been working on the blog for my self-publishing business, Alpha Glyph Publications, adding a page that refers to the blogs I’ve put together (or helped to do so) and that I administrate. I’m also posting about some of the different projects that we’ve worked on so far, since I established the company in January of last year.
But I don’t want all my posting to migrate to that site. It seems to me that starting a blog is like getting a puppy – you have to keep it healthy, help it grow, keep it alive, and always look after it. There’s a definite commitment. So as I define the voice of the Alpha Glyph blog, it helps me better define this personal blog which is much more eclectic, and reflective.
Today, separately, two visitors arrived from the Northwest. Actually, they call it the Northwest, but from the Canadian point of view they are from the Southwest. First, Vakil Forest Shomer, (from Port Townsend) drove his Subaru into our parkade and we carried up two boxes of archival materials for the Shamcher archive. We looked at the papers, manuscripts, books, and correspondence, that he had received from both Bryn Jr. and Cal Hermann, an OTEC colleague of Shamcher's when he was at U.C.Richmond Field station. Sunny day, the Jazz festival could be overheard outside. Then Stefan Tischler (now living in Bellingham) arrived, here to visit James before going to a jazz show tonight. We discussed his music, website, life in Bellingham, creative life. Tyr was here for dinner, too, but didn't meet Forest as he had left for Amir's by that time. In the past year, we rarely had out of town visitors, but it seems the gates of summer are open wide.
The recently released new books, The Weather Makers: How Man is Changing the Climate and What it Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery and Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert, are making real the dire predictions of scientists and environmentalists the world over.
Recommendations to reduce emissions have been with us for decades, and the need is even greater than ever now that China has become so rapidly industrialized.
The OTEC technology, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, is one component of the new approaches to energy generation. It can harness the solar power in the oceans for a benign power production. One version, the open cycle OTEC plant, can also produce fresh desalinated drinking water.
Shamcher Bryn Beorse worked tirelessly from the 1950s to 1980 to bring OTEC into the international energy area, but like many OTEC pioneers, his efforts were opposed by oil, coal and nuclear lobbyists. His outline on OTEC should be required reading for officials and activists alike. Some of his work on OTEC can be found at www.shamcher.wordpress.com, and www.shamcher.org.
The predictions in the 1970s of a war in the Middle East over oil have sadly come to pass, while OTEC remains unbuilt on any scale useful to humanity.
In the tropical oceans, just offshore, plants could be built to generate benign non-polluting power – harnessing the temperature difference between the warm ocean surface and the colder depths. This difference drives the turbines which produce electricity. No emissions, as with coal. No nuclear waste or danger of disaster as with nuclear power.
The time has come for major consideration of OTEC as a viable alternative. It just might save us all.