Author Topic: Designing an Earth base  (Read 642 times)

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Online daniel1948

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2017, 12:46:09 PM »
I think the batteries are a weak point  :-\ .What do you think about underground hydrogen storage?

That could be an option if you are going to burn it for energy. If you expect to use hydrogen fuel cells, the last time I read about them they have a short lifespan.

We are used to having electricity 24/7/365. I think an important strategy for a survival base would be to design it so that people can live and thrive with intermittent electric power. Abandon the expectation of constant power.
Daniel
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Offline Silfio

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2017, 08:06:48 PM »
In the winter there was a heavy snowfall, and a power line  was down, in my city we had no electricity for two days! I saw a lunar base concept that used a mirror system to bring light into the base, it can be useful for crops, they need a lot of light.

Offline 2397

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2017, 11:43:40 AM »
Obviously there's a loss of energy capturing sunlight and generating the equivalent. Commercial level efficiency of solar panels being up to 22.5% this year, then there's a small loss from involving batteries. How efficient would a mirror system would be in comparison? Especially considering the limitations it would put on design, vs. being able to put the grow lights where you want them. If there could be a tunnel of mirrors on top of the ventilation system, that would be ideal. But presumably you'd have to be able to focus light from a big enough surface area outside, to then distribute it inside.

Currently I have the farm at 1536 m². How hot would the beam be, if the equivalent area of sunlight is perfectly concentrated to say 4 m²? A perfect mirror wouldn't absorb any of the energy, so I guess the issue is with the amount of imperfection, and the challenge of capturing so much light to use it directly, vs. using solar cells.

This article is about as much information as I can find on the topic of perfect mirrors atm.

I like the different ideas for batteries and energy, but I'm going to define the location, so that I can figure out what works there, rather than figure out where in the world to be. Potentially there's more that can be explored later.

I wasn't sure about setting it in Norway, because of the lower total amount of solar radiation. But it's as good a place as any to bore into the mountains, and there will be plenty of water in the decades and centuries ahead. In countries more densely populated (if formerly), the solutions might be very different to accommodate (or avoid) the masses.

Location details/limitations:

Within 1 km there's the mouth of a river and a turbine that conservatively produces 3 GWh per year. The local residents have inherited a power plant that's no longer attached to a national grid. Most of the infrastructure is underground (pipe collecting water further up, leading it into the turbine at the bottom), and they have added underground cables to connect their facilities. It's possible, not easy, to do repairs.

This particular facility will be able to make use of about 20% of the output, 600 MWh (if it's all put to use when available, or stored in batteries). There's no reservoir, and it's not feasible to build a big one locally. But I need to know more about the cost/requirements of constructing multiple kilometers of water tunnels, to determine if they're likely to have a reservoir, or to be in the process of setting it up, or to be doing something else to add connections. Much larger hydropower sources and communities could exist within reach. They could also be politically inaccessible.

Peak solar radiation is 5000 watts day/m², lowest is 300 watts per day/m², for a yearly average of 967.9 kWh/m² (212.9 kWh/m² at 22%).

There are no previously existing underground mines or oil fields. No readily available geothermal energy. The river ends in a lake which could be put to use somehow. The local peaks and valley offer 300-700 meters height difference.

Looking more into the surroundings of the real world location I'm considering using as a basis, I could see someone damming the lake, and flood the area. Now I'm wondering about how to design the base so that it won't be flooded if the entrance is underwater. Is air pressure and an incline enough? In addition to having to pump waste/excess water up and out. But I'll leave that as a potential plot point, and not something that is a big factor when this is first built.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 11:50:31 AM by 2397 »

Offline MTBox

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2017, 03:21:02 PM »
In addition to giving them a turbine, a technology you might research is Concentrated Solar Power. You use the focus of the mirrors to heat the material in a tower, as a transfer of the power into heat. The material can be salt or water. That can turn a turbine. It also can give you heated water; heat waste for sterilization needs.

For the concept of water tunnels and a potential reservoir, you can have an Aquifer that is refilled. It doesn't have to be man-made storage. And why is there no "readily available" geothermal? Aren't you already taking advantage of this by being underground?

For air pressure and incline to be enough to keep the entrance from being flooded, it depends on the pressure you are countering. You would need an air lock system, because you could not use a method that is both combating high pressure while being used by humans, without providing pressure regulation.

A detail that doesn't seem to be adequately handled in these types of story lines is conservation of existing materials. A very basic one is clothes and other textiles; you would never bury someone or eject them clothed or wrapped in a resource you cannot spare. You don't "send them off" with their precious goods, either.

Please keep updating as you work on details.

Offline 2397

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2017, 04:28:35 PM »
No viking burials?

Quote
And why is there no "readily available" geothermal? Aren't you already taking advantage of this by being underground?

Maybe I need to check my terminology, but I mean no natural steam vents and the like.

Offline Silfio

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2017, 11:43:07 AM »
Look at this :

https://www.minnpost.com/stroll/2015/09/seven-stories-down-u-building-serves-tribute-minnesota-experimentalism
[/url]
http://thesunportal.com/eng/?page_id=118
http://thesunportal.com/2016/upload/pds/Sunportal-Busan-Onchunchun-Walkways-2013.pdf

I have a question, is the air polluted? (radioactive, virus, little oxygen?)
You have to take resources from the atmosphere, if you do not want to end up as Biosphere 2.
You can control the air, but you need a system like a submarine or ISS. It's complicated.

I know that water is a big problem for miners. The only solution I know is to pump it to the surface.
It can manage organic waste with anaerobic digestion, it produces biogas and fertilizers. It does not need light or oxygen, and the warm temperature of the earth is perfect!.

Offline 2397

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2017, 04:20:43 PM »
I have a question, is the air polluted? (radioactive, virus, little oxygen?)

General atmospheric conditions are that there's up to 2000 ppm of CO2. Oxygen around 15%. I'm wondering if oxygen levels would be more variable by location, if the oceans are no longer supplying their share, and depending on how well local plants are doing. Nitrogen levels would be slightly higher. I'm not sure what the composition of other gases would be. Average atmospheric pressure is mostly the same, but more erratic. Water vapor is higher. There could be remnants from escalated military conflicts and other dire measures.

I'd like to cover all the walking tunnels with self-luminous materials. Or bioluminescent organisms, although they'd have to be maintained somehow. I don't think that using electric lighting for humans is an issue, but the power could drop out unexpectedly, and be out until it's manually restored.

The living quarters should probably have its own battery system for emergencies.

Now that I have more details on the surroundings, I can't quite rule out a local reservoir for hydropower. Should be possible to contain a month's worth of water, with a dam sized 450 x 40 x a few meters. Depending on how useful it is to not have water over what used to be the main road. It still wouldn't have been built before other homes had been abandoned, and wouldn't be part of pre-existing infrastructure.



Full size with readable heights in meter. The colors are a bit screwy. In particular, all the 74s should've been the same color. That's the lake.

Online daniel1948

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2017, 04:41:30 PM »
Have you thought of jacking up CO2 levels to the point where the atmosphere is significantly thicker and pterodactyls can fly again? I read a paper a long time ago (by the late father of a former friend) that hypothesized that during the age of dinosaurs there was so much CO2 that the atmosphere was significantly thicker than it is now, and this thicker atmosphere was what enabled very large reptiles to fly. You could have pterodactyls menace the population whenever they ventured out into the open.

I still think that making do with less energy would be a good strategy. Not just efficiency and conservation, but adopting a lifestyle less dependent on electricity. Less stuff and more direct social interaction. E.g. group storytelling instead of video games, tv, and movies. More walking and less motorized transportation. Replace machinery with human labor. etc.
Daniel
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Offline 2397

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2017, 05:43:29 PM »
I have a draft for a similar story involving dragons. But this is basically my first serious attempt at writing as an adult, and I need to stick with something that I don't have to make up the rules for (the systems aren't necessarily in optimal condition at the point where the story starts).

In the case of flying monsters, I thought that was mostly about having very high levels of oxygen. But this is the first article I found on it, so maybe not. Maybe they don't need a very different atmosphere from ours to fly.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 05:51:05 PM by 2397 »

Offline junki

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2017, 06:49:46 AM »
I suppose not useful or applicaple for your case,  but just today someone bought a used military bunker in Lappland. An auction ended at 700'000 €. 600+ square meters in the ground and 40 hectares forest above ground. Near town of Rovaniemi.

News article at https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-9933733 . Not much more there than what I already wrote, and Google Translate is not too good with finnish, so...

Must have been a really wealthy prepper.

Offline Rai

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2017, 07:21:43 AM »
Have you thought of jacking up CO2 levels to the point where the atmosphere is significantly thicker and pterodactyls can fly again? I read a paper a long time ago (by the late father of a former friend) that hypothesized that during the age of dinosaurs there was so much CO2 that the atmosphere was significantly thicker than it is now, and this thicker atmosphere was what enabled very large reptiles to fly. You could have pterodactyls menace the population whenever they ventured out into the open.

Sorry to butt in, but that heavier air thing is not needed for pterosaur flight. Even the biggest ones (same apparent size as a giraffe) were very light, with a remarkably small body and large wings. They were perfectly capable of flying under contemporary atmospheric conditions.

Offline 2397

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2017, 07:45:56 AM »
I suppose not useful or applicaple for your case,  but just today someone bought a used military bunker in Lappland. An auction ended at 700'000 €. 600+ square meters in the ground and 40 hectares forest above ground. Near town of Rovaniemi.

News article at https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-9933733 . Not much more there than what I already wrote, and Google Translate is not too good with finnish, so...

Must have been a really wealthy prepper.

I've noticed similar sales of no longer needed facilities in Norway.

This is an old article, most recent newspaper articles require a subscription to access. In that one they say they may even give some of them away, if the conditions are poor, since they have no use for them, and they cost money to keep.

I suppose buying a bunker like this to refit is a possible approach. But there's a big difference between having shelter during crisis, and being completely self-sufficient.

Offline Silfio

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2017, 03:46:55 PM »

Offline junki

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2017, 08:27:56 AM »
Or how about building it from scratch, on the surface?

This and the nearby villages are on some desirable type of granite (rapakivi), so there are multiple companies shipping rock worldwide. As funny as it sounds.
It's been going on for 40+ years and they've built up big 50m high hills of waste rock. The height comes from aviation regulations, I've heard.
Hundreds of meters wide, countless car sized slabs mostly in random orientation but at places arranged lego-like. Deep open holes right next to them.

Had someone had the inclination, planned it earlier, and settled on little less profits, they could have built cavities into the hills. No too many pharaos or super villains around, so I guess this wasn't done.

Offline 2397

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Re: Designing an Earth base
« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2017, 10:56:09 AM »
The story isn't necessarily limited to this, but it's what I've settled on for now. A location in southern Norway, a facility inside a small mountain/hill. The entrance is at 287 meters above sea level.



Full size. 1 pixel = 120 cm.



Full size. 1 pixel = 10 cm.

Energy management: Energy-intensive operations will run during peak/proportional to power generation. The farm being by far the most intensive.

The farm, or parts of it, might need to be kept to a day-night cycle even when the water turbine provides enough power, depending on how the plants would react to a less predictable schedule. Food production will definitely have to be seasonal, because of the location. Maybe it's possible to have plants like rhubarb exposed to the Sun outside in summer, and brought inside to grow in the dark in winter. Cycling the crops.

Life support, temperature regulation, and the heating of water are probably the next three biggest ones. Water will be heated and reheated when there is power. The local atmospheres will be brought to their ideal states when there is power, or towards the other extreme so that it can return to an optimal condition when the systems turn off. The central tunnel has 2000 m3 of air, about a day's worth of fresh air for 20 people. The doors to the living quarters probably have to be kept open whenever the ventilation is off.

Sun mirror system: If this is technically possible, it's a series of solar collectors that focus light into narrow tunnels, which go down into the farm where it spreads out again. The main issue for me is if what the price tag would be, vs. solar panels.

Electricity generation: 1024 m² of solar panels for now. July average daily production is 1126.4 kWh, January average daily is 67.58 kWh. The water turbine supplies an average of 1642.7 kWh per day, but would vary greatly with precipitation.

Batteries: Downsized the lithium-ion batteries to 160 kWh, which are mainly there to help transition from high levels of energy production, to shutting things down. Should otherwise be enough to power the living quarter lights, fridge, and water pump.

I like the idea of molten salt solar power, but I don't know that it can be efficient in the local climate. Or how much more space it would require.

Still considering using external rails or deep wells for storing gravity potential. The amount of mass involved means it's unlikely they'll be able to perform repairs if it breaks down (2622 kg per kWh for a 200 meter drop, at 70% efficiency). Using liquids would probably be the best way to do it.

Damming a month's worth of water for the river would cost tens of millions of USD, judging by concrete prices.

Staircase: Goes up about 200 meters. Biggest digging challenge.

Farm: 1536 m² of hydroponics. Maybe aquaponics, but I'm concerned about how difficult the fish would be to maintain over time. I'd like to replace them with less complex organisms, something it's possible to store frozen.

Produce processing: Includes a well that's only connected to the farm, possible water recycling going on.

I don't know what all's needed, but it would have things like equipment to dry the produce before putting it away.

Isolated storage: Kept to optimal conditions for long term storage. Not necessarily safe for humans to enter without gear.

Workshop: Various machinery for repairs and possible manufacturing. Storage for raw materials, replacement parts, etc.

Radio mast; communication and monitoring equipment: Could be placed on the peak, if it can be made secure over time. It would be a means of checking in with other facilities, and picking up other communication.

I'm not sure if there are satellites to link with. I'd like to have a few weather stations in the area to communicate with remotely, to help create a model of local weather, or at least get a good description of current weather.

Seismographic equipment could be useful when living inside rock.

Living quarters: Adding more space here, since so much other space is needed anyway. It retains its own well, instead of running pipes throughout the facility. I don't think the emergency sprinklers need to be plumbed in, if they can be manually refilled.

Total area to dig out: 6000 m², including walls and staircase, not including mirror tunnels. I'm satisfied with that, depending on if the configuration otherwise makes sense.

If the sun mirrors aren't workable, relying on robots to do most of the digging, and to construct the light paths, then they will be replaced by more solar panels up top. Which I guess would have been helicoptered in there when they were installed. The staircase section's main purpose is to contain wiring, but is the most direct route to the solar panels when needed, and is an emergency exit. General maintenance of external equipment is automated.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 11:35:42 AM by 2397 »