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Nasa Moonbase night power quest


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So there is this...

https://www.engadget.com/nasa-crowdsources-moon-power-technology-212859357.html

Which got me thinking... so nuclear?

But nuclear... meh.  What about renewables? 

Specifically:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/amp29463165/concrete-block-energy-storage/

Instead making the blocks using moon rocks.

What do people think of this?

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26 minutes ago, theJesuit said:

So there is this...

https://www.engadget.com/nasa-crowdsources-moon-power-technology-212859357.html

Which got me thinking... so nuclear?

But nuclear... meh.  What about renewables? 

Specifically:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/amp29463165/concrete-block-energy-storage/

Instead making the blocks using moon rocks.

What do people think of this?

The first drawback I can think of is that moon dust is said to be abrasive, which will wreak havoc on moving parts. Aside from that it's similar in principle to pumped hydro storage, which would only work with heated, sealed reservoirs on the moon. Lower munar lunar gravity will reduce the storage potential of any gravity storage system to 1/6 compared to Earth

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Solar panels and nuclear reactors by day, nuclear reactors by night. That's the only solution with our current technological level. Toying with more... exotic forms of power generation and storage will come much later down the road.

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3 hours ago, StrandedonEarth said:

The first drawback I can think of is that moon dust is said to be abrasive, which will wreak havoc on moving parts. Aside from that it's similar in principle to pumped hydro storage, which would only work with heated, sealed reservoirs on the moon. Lower munar lunar gravity will reduce the storage potential of any gravity storage system to 1/6 compared to Earth

Yea the moon dust.  Gotta be a killer right?  Perhaps electrostatic charging might help.  I need to look into that.

I'd never use pumped hydro storage because of the lunar gravity means less dense water and the issues you suggest.  Water is scarce too.  Don't waste it on energy storage!

The gravity is a meh point though with the brick battery.  Just load the winches with more mass. If the mass is coming from the moon itself it won't take much to set up.  If you are making blocks though you could build this in a tall tower or even into the ground and 'vacuum' the dust out as it settles.  The only moving parts are at the top.

Getting the initial setup there is going to be a mission though.

1 minute ago, kerbiloid said:

ISS ~=120 kW

120 000 * 30 * 86 400 ~= 0.3 TJ.

0.3*1012 / (1.62 * 100)  ~= 2 mln t from 100 m altitude.

They need a lot of bulldozers to lift 2 mln t every month.

Damn your maths and high intelligence.

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They should extract metals from the regolith and produce shape-memory alloys.

Then make columns (architecture) out of these alloys and put the base on top.

So:
1. During the day the columns warm and get high.
2. During the night the columns cool and get low.
3. The base potential energy gets turned into electricity.
4. The base is always isolated from ground.

Maybe some hydraulic or pneumatic pistons instead are good, too.

Upd.
Also this can follow the sun like sunflowers.

Edited by kerbiloid
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Since your base is likely to be at a pole for water extraction... Could you build a tower high enough to keep solar arrays facing the sun throughout the night? 

 

(don't know enough about the moon's rotation to know if this is feasible) 

 

Another thought - since you are at the pole to mine water anyway... What about setting up a ring of stations that can capture the power from the change of temperature & kenetic energy of converting ice into steam? 

If you mine water and store it, as the station moves into the night side it will freeze. Moving back into the sunlight, you use passive reflective solar power to convert to steam, capture the kenetic energy and again capture power as it goes back through the phase changes to ice the next time it is in the lunar evening /night? 

http://hconews.com/2012/10/17/harnessing-the-power-phase-change-materials/

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Nuclear power is obvious solution. But it has a non-obvious problem: what about the waste heat? Nuclear power plants here almost always are located by rivers or seas, because they dump a lot of heat into the water. About the only way to get rid of heat on the Moon will be radiators.

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16 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

About the only way to get rid of heat on the Moon will be radiators.

Fortunately, there's a lot of space on the Moon. :) Yes, large radiators might be needed, but that's all right, since they're ultimately neither mass nor volume limited. As long as you can figure our how to transport them there, or make them on site (aluminium is easy to come by on the Moon), they can be as large and heavy as you want.

Edited by Guest
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7 hours ago, Scotius said:

Solar panels and nuclear reactors by day, nuclear reactors by night. That's the only solution with our current technological level. Toying with more... exotic forms of power generation and storage will come much later down the road.

At the south pole you might have so short time in the shadow you can run on batteries until sunrise. 

1 hour ago, mikegarrison said:

Nuclear power is obvious solution. But it has a non-obvious problem: what about the waste heat? Nuclear power plants here almost always are located by rivers or seas, because they dump a lot of heat into the water. About the only way to get rid of heat on the Moon will be radiators.

Assume you will bury it both for protection and shielding, this give you the moon as an heat sink :), if you have plenty of heat you probably want to bury some piping as an radiator. 

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30 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

Assume you will bury it both for protection and shielding, this give you the moon as an heat sink :), if you have plenty of heat you probably want to bury some piping as an radiator. 

Conduction into dry rock is not a good way to dump a lot of heat. This is why we make ovens out of brick.

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2 hours ago, Dragon01 said:

. As long as you can figure our how to transport them there, or make them on site (aluminium is easy to come by on the Moon)

Ore is easy to come by.  The equipment needed to mine and refine the ore, and process the resulting aluminum metal into a useful form... not so much.

Which brings up the question, where do you get (and/or store) the power required to run this (decidedly non trivial) industrial infrastructure you need to bootstrap your power system?  Why aren't you just skipping the middleman and using that power source to run your base in the first place?

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3 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

Nuclear power is obvious solution. But it has a non-obvious problem: what about the waste heat? Nuclear power plants here almost always are located by rivers or seas, because they dump a lot of heat into the water. About the only way to get rid of heat on the Moon will be radiators.

Yeah, the obvious visible part of kilopower is the radiator.

NASA-kilopower-moon-render.jpg.webp

Most lunar base concepts I have seen either berm them, blocking LOS to inhabited areas, or place them in small craters near the facility. This is not from waste heat concerns, obviously, but as radiation shielding for the facility, and ejecta shielding for the reactor (from landing spacecraft)—specifically the radiator. Solar facilities will also need such shielding from engine plume surface interactions.

Actually, on the Moon waste heat might be a useful feature for some other applications during the 14 day nigh period.

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30 minutes ago, DerekL1963 said:

Which brings up the question, where do you get (and/or store) the power required to run this (decidedly non trivial) industrial infrastructure you need to bootstrap your power system?  Why aren't you just skipping the middleman and using that power source to run your base in the first place?

Because you need to build your base first, before you have anything to power. I never said you'd build the reactor, you'd only build the radiators. You can either bootstrap with solar panels, or simply bring a small-ish radiator and use lunar ISRU build a field of radiators that'd allow you to run it at full power. You need to bring the reactor itself either way, since it takes more than aluminium to build and run one.

A lunar day is quite long, so you'd have more than enough time for that.

Edited by Guest
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Kilopower units are... units. The power production is small per reactor, obviously, but the concept is a modular one, and scalable (certainly for small bases).

Edited by tater
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13 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

Nuclear power is obvious solution. But it has a non-obvious problem: what about the waste heat? Nuclear power plants here almost always are located by rivers or seas, because they dump a lot of heat into the water. About the only way to get rid of heat on the Moon will be radiators.

i read a paper about a lunar tbm that actually disposed of its waste heat the rocky debrits it created, once heated it would be loaded into a cart and dumped outside. you can bury a network of radiators under ground in a dark crater where its colder than the surface in sunlight. i don't expect it to be better than water cooling, but better than cooling by radiant heat alone (you would use both).

alternatively put a solar satellite in lunar orbit and beam power to the surface. or land at the poles and build a solar tower high enough to stay in sunlight all the time.

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15 hours ago, Elthy said:

How about Hydrogen electrolysis? The fuel cell efficency shouldnt matter to much since they need heat during the night anyway. And hydrogen is usefull for lots of other stuff...

that might work as energy storage and its scalable. you can always add more tankage or more solar power. not to mention it has other uses like rocket fuel. 

 

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