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View Diary: Six Suicidal Strategies We Must End (38 comments)

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  •  Do you think that the trains could be (0+ / 0-)

    As an added plus, Great Plains windpower could provide electricity to that section of the transcontinental freight railroads immediately - without the need to build-out a smart grid.

    out-fitted with giant sails to directly capture the wind?  

    Wouldn't that be even more efficient??  (and once again, you wouldn't need a smart grid, or a grid of any type for that matter).

    •  You need to buffer the energy somehow... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      otherwise your train could become becalmed, like a sailing ship of old.

      The grid is essential as a "flywheel" to smooth out the variability in wind power.


      •  Sure, it'd probably have to be a diesel/wind (0+ / 0-)

        hybrid . . .

        I don't share the diarist's concern about the weight of the fuel, because locomotives are purposefully made heavy through layers of concrete (at least in the old days, they probably use something else now . . . .).

        •  Question: what about overpasses? Wires? (0+ / 0-)

          A lot of crap winds up near railroad rights of way. The cost of clearing out a space big enough for sails could eliminate the advantage. Even if you go with a vertical-axis windmill instead of a sail, you have to worry about overpasses.

          You have to do a cost benefit analysis of the efficiency of windmill vs sails on trains.

          I think sails on freight trains sounds like some bad scifi. Sails on passenger trains might work if the trains are light enough.

    •  No. (0+ / 0-)

      Maximum efficiency from sail power only happens when the wind is directly behind you. Off a couple of points and the loss is great. Wind turbines don't have this problem. Plus, conversion to electricity avoids the problem of calm.

      •  Umm, not really . . . . (0+ / 0-)

        Plus, conversion to electricity avoids the problem of calm.

        Unless you evoke the dreaded grid that the diarist was trying to get away from, and also assume that the wind will *always* be blowing someplace, perhaps far away . . .

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