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Media => Member Creations => Topic started by: 2397 on November 06, 2017, 10:51:32 AM

Title: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 on November 06, 2017, 10:51:32 AM
I'm thinking of writing a low-tech, semi-dystopian sci-fi story, with possibly the most ridiculous concept being the home facility; a self-sustained base inside a mountain. I'm looking for some opinions on what doesn't make sense or isn't feasible.

The origin of the base is not important, as long as it would've been possible to construct with reasonable amounts of resources. Drilling into rock, setting up structures, without threatening the structural integrity of the rock.

(https://i.imgur.com/bafptXJ.png)

The blue-green background is gneiss rock. The orange-brown is the transition to open space. Obviously it wouldn't be entirely square and straight, but the scale is otherwise 1 pixel=10 cm.

Access tunnels: The top- and rightmost sections go to the outside environment, and include ventilation, drainage, sewage, and electric wires. The Secondary has backup systems to the Primary, except for it being the path for the source of electricity.

The outer grey section is a 600 or 460 cm diameter tunnel, the black in the middle is a set of hefty doors. The entire facility needs to be resistant to moderate earthquakes (up to 6.0).

Not sure if the tunnels are deep enough. The red sections being about 18 and 27 meters, so the outside structure would have to be somewhat steep for there to be solid rock all around.

The white stripes are airtight doors.

Solar panels: 256 m². Maybe it has to be much more than that. Not to scale/the correct placement and orientation. I wonder how important it is to catch all of the sun, vs. making sure they're optimally placed for the peak. And if it would be worth it to make them track with the Sun, vs. making them easier to secure by having them entirely fixed in place.

Batteries: I don't yet know how much power the facility will require, but I hope that 600 kWh in batteries will be enough for the facility to run on solar panels alone. They will degrade over time/need replacements.

Farm: This is the biggest challenge for me. It should be built to feed 20 people indefinitely. Depicted are 4 separate sections for up to 4 different atmospheric conditions. 256 m² usable space, or about 600 m3 including sprinklers and whatever else.

Not sure about the area, volume, whether there should be soil or all hydroponics, the energy requirements, crop rotation, composting, whether it would be worth the trouble to reclaim human waste, whether it's more efficient to regularly grow crops from seeds or grow the crops continuously, and whether there should be a day-night cycle.

And how big a part could the farm play in life support?

Reading this query (https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/9582/how-many-people-can-you-feed-per-square-kilometer-of-farmland), I might be off by a factor of 5. Or 2, with aeroponics. Under natural light, without layering. So maybe it is within reach of current technology to produce enough food within that amount space. But it makes sense now that having a 1:1 ratio of solar panels to growing space is far from enough. Maybe the peak power requirements (http://www.organicagardensupply.com/grow-lights/wattage-calculator-how-much-light-should-you-have/) will be in the megawatt range.

Storage: 307.2 m3 of storage space for food. 307.2 m3 of storage space for toilet paper. Or maybe the toilets have bidets.

Not sure if storage should be one big section that's cold, dry, and low on oxygen, or if there would be enough of a difference in optimal conditions that it should be multiple fully segregated compartments, or if the way to go is one section with independently refrigerated rooms.

Utility rooms: I figure a couple of transformers, one for direct power from the solar panels, one for charging/running power off of the batteries. And earthing. Maybe another way of dealing with excess electricity.

The bottom room is essentially a garage.

Waste processing; Ultimately, a lot of it will end up in a landfill, but at least there should be a small compost section attached to the living quarters. Maybe a waste compressor, sterilizing equipment (an oven?), and a centrifuge.

Water; Well, pressure tank, water heaters. It might be a bit tricky to bore a well from inside a mountain, so maybe it would be better/more realistic to bring in water from an external well. And more efficient to have water heaters in a room where you need a higher ambient temperature. But for maintenance's sake it seems more practical to have it all in one place.

Living quarters: Bedrooms, bathrooms/washroom, gym, computers, media rooms, dining area, kitchen with local food storage.

Environmental conditions and ventilation: Basically, the outside environment is not suitable for long term exposure. Temperature regulation is easy enough. The air otherwise has oxygen and nitrogen, not necessarily in ideal amounts. I don't know how difficult it is to separate those out or to filter everything else.

External, minimally outfitted greenhouses could produce some food with variable results.

What's missing, and what won't work, or would work better in a different way? Say this cost 20 million USD to build, what alternatives (in the context of long term independent survival) might someone rather spend it on?
Title: Re: Desinging an Earth base
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on November 06, 2017, 10:52:51 AM
Look up the Cheyenne Mountain facility.
Title: Re: Desinging an Earth base
Post by: Rai on November 06, 2017, 10:57:52 AM
I smell Dwarf Fortress
Title: Re: Desinging an Earth base
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on November 06, 2017, 11:00:36 AM
You need to look up how many square feet of hydroponics is required to support one person for one year.
Title: Re: Desinging an Earth base
Post by: MTBox on November 07, 2017, 02:28:51 PM
For electricity, using transformers and rectifiers is only necessary if you are trying to facilitate a Non-generated standard. You can reduce a lot of that need, by using what gets generated. Example: DC generation = DC powered lights and appliances, not AC. The power on the US Grid is "stepped down" and "rectified" because of the Transmission requirements. You are not exactly running a cross-country distribution system.
Title: Re: Desinging an Earth base
Post by: Dr Barton on November 08, 2017, 09:54:44 PM
In aquaponics, a reasonable rule-of-thumb is 3 parts hydroponics to 1 part aquaculture. Keep in mind that this ratio includes supplemental feed for the aquaculture. To reduce supplemental feed, you'd need to add more "hydroponics" space. This "hydroponics" space could be additional hydroponics to provide feed for herbivorous fish (such as tilapia) or to provide feed for herbivorous insects (such as crickets, mealworms, and cockroaches) to feed more omnivorous fish (and other livestock and humans). That said, you probably need to plan on a 3:1 ratio of farm space to human space even assuming stacked growing trays.

You're also going to have to consider storage (and possibly manufacturing) space for LED's an solar panels (or their raw materials) for lighting and powering the facility. I'm also pretty sure that solar array is way to small for the type of facility that you're proposing. Your water and waste utility rooms should be directly linked to your farm space. That is where you are going to recycle your wastes and purify your water. Batteries may be hard to maintain in the long haul. There is also the problem of disposing of the hazardous wastes that they produce. If I might suggest, consider using a weight storage system for the bulk of your energy storage needs. You use the electricity to crank weights up. When you need electricity or compressed air, you allow the weights to descend running a generator or compressor. It's basically a very large version of a grandfather clock. Use iron-nickel batteries. There are durable and significantly less toxic than lead acid. You can stockpile a lot of iron and nickel plates and sodium hydroxide for the electrolyte. When the electrode corrode, a clever person can probably figure out how to electrolytically extract the nickel from the water. You may not be able to recycle that nickel easily but, at least, you can store it in a solid form and location that isn't likely to poison you.
Title: Re: Desinging an Earth base
Post by: 2397 on November 09, 2017, 08:25:44 AM
More space, more energy, maybe not so much regulation of energy, although I worry about the explosive potential of the total battery capacity.

Maybe weights would be safer. Would it be as reliable? Hopefully it will become easier to maintain over time as you get used to what's going on and can optimize things, rather than more difficult as the system builds up faults. How much space does weight storage require per kWh? There was a discussion about something similar here (https://sguforums.com/index.php?topic=49140.0), which provides a basis.

Last rough estimate I did was for an average of 2 MWh per day, operating the grow lights 50% of the time. So it doesn't have to be all in the batteries, but it means 1500-3000 m² of solar panels at 22% efficiency, depending on local conditions. Given 400 kW peak capacity and $2 per W, the panels cost $800 k.

I think I need to define a cost for digging out space, to put a limit on how much internal space there can be. Or figure out the cost of the necessary equipment, and how much time it would take for a small group of trained amateurs to do it. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svalbard_Global_Seed_Vault) total cost was $9000 per square meter of "floor area", possibly $5000 accounting for all of it. It's the most comparable structure I know of. That would put the cost for the space I haven't quite worked out yet to well over $65 million.
Title: Re: Desinging an Earth base
Post by: junki on November 09, 2017, 01:05:54 PM
Will there still be a water cycle outdoors? Could you use old-skool hydropower? For power, or as an additional coolant for the base itself and/or the solar panels.
Could you drill really deep holes for geothermal energy? Or, how about locating in Iceland or some similar place.

stupid ideas,
Juha
Title: Re: Desinging an Earth base
Post by: 2397 on November 09, 2017, 02:11:30 PM
There will be more going on outside, and very likely hydropower of some sort, but it wouldn't be exclusive to this facility. If there's something big enough to have a reservoir, it would be reserved for winter use when it's not about to be full.

And what's further out will be more challenging to keep operational.
Title: Re: Desinging an Earth base
Post by: Drunken Idaho on November 09, 2017, 02:52:57 PM
In such a world, I wouldn't like the idea of anything which can't be recycled--specifically, TP in your description so far. You mention bidet, which is an easy out if you have water to waste (which would make a lot of this much easier if water source and volume is not a concern)... but before you go there, I think (as a great fan of sci fi and fantasy) it's creative and  unexpected solutions to problems such as this one which can really make a story.
Title: Re: Desinging an Earth base
Post by: daniel1948 on November 09, 2017, 07:00:31 PM
Am I the only one who wonders what "desinging" means? It makes me think of cutting the burnt edges off of a piece of toast.
Title: Re: Desinging an Earth base
Post by: 2397 on November 09, 2017, 08:08:49 PM
Am I the only one who wonders what "desinging" means? It makes me think of cutting the burnt edges off of a piece of toast.

It's how you go from sung to unsung.

So, making sure there's nothing too remarkable going on, but hopefully still a worthy concept.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: Silfio on November 10, 2017, 10:44:00 AM
I think the batteries are a weak point  :-\ .What do you think about underground hydrogen storage? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_hydrogen_storage
 You don't need maintenance/replacement , ideal for apocalyptic future!. Maybe hidrotermal energy will be  an option to the solar.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: starnado on November 10, 2017, 10:53:04 AM
If you vented a hydrothermal system at a high point and allowed the steam to condense you could store massive reservoirs of water and use hydroelectric turbines to recover stored energy whenever needed. Excess solar power could be used to pump water uphill into the reservoirs.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: Silfio on November 10, 2017, 11:31:42 AM
Obviously if you want to survive you need redundant systems.But I think the conventional batteries there isn't an option for long term situation.I would like to make some easy -super simplification calculate to see the approximate dimension of the installation , and $$.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: Silfio 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.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 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 (http://news.energysage.com/what-are-the-most-efficient-solar-panels-on-the-market/), 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 (http://news.mit.edu/2013/a-new-way-to-trap-light-0710) 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.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: MTBox 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.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 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.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: Silfio 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 (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/eng/?page_id=118)
http://thesunportal.com/2016/upload/pds/Sunportal-Busan-Onchunchun-Walkways-2013.pdf (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!.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 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.

(https://i.imgur.com/VA98Oa4h.jpg)

Full size with readable heights in meter. (https://i.imgur.com/VA98Oa4.jpg) The colors are a bit screwy. In particular, all the 74s should've been the same color. That's the lake.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: daniel1948 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.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 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 (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118081043.htm) is the first article I found on it, so maybe not. Maybe they don't need a very different atmosphere from ours to fly.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: junki 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.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: Rai 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 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2981443/).
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 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 (https://www.ta.no/nyheter/kjop-et-bomberom/s/1-111-2371256), 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.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: Silfio on November 16, 2017, 03:46:55 PM
Did you think in natural caves https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/03/dark-star-deepest-cave-climbing-uzbekistan/ (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/03/dark-star-deepest-cave-climbing-uzbekistan/) or old mines?
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: junki 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.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 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.

(https://i.imgur.com/Z9bu3Tfh.jpg)

Full size. 1 pixel = 120 cm. (https://i.imgur.com/Z9bu3Tf.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/XYmGuLMh.jpg)

Full size. 1 pixel = 10 cm. (https://i.imgur.com/XYmGuLM.jpg)

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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhubarb_Triangle#Cultivation) 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 (https://www.google.com/search?q=2622*9.81*200*0.7+joules+to+wh) 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.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: MTBox on November 17, 2017, 07:13:33 PM
"it's a series of solar collectors that focus light into narrow tunnels"
"Solatube" is already on the market. Good tech, for day time.

Definitely need Secondary access for emergencies, when primary is blocked. This is a huge concern in my current location. We (these neighborhoods) have one means of moving in/out by road; if it got blocked by fire, there is no getting over the river via a different route (except, we could swim for it, I guess). And now they are putting a school at the bottom, near the river, as well.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: junki on November 18, 2017, 07:49:10 AM
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

US Navy has old all-analog geostationary satellites, which can be used with simple 300 MHz radios, no special equipment, arrangements or large antennas needed. You hear mostly portuguese now, and some encrypted transmissions too. Other nations have launched similar stuff. Uncontrollable from the ground. Unless they are physically shot down, I guess some of those will stay operational for decades.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleet_Satellite_Communications_System
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 on November 18, 2017, 04:17:11 PM
Kessler syndrome (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome) is another factor. Which could happen by itself at this point. But especially if someone decides to blow up more satellites.

"it's a series of solar collectors that focus light into narrow tunnels"
"Solatube" is already on the market. Good tech, for day time.

Definitely need Secondary access for emergencies, when primary is blocked. This is a huge concern in my current location. We (these neighborhoods) have one means of moving in/out by road; if it got blocked by fire, there is no getting over the river via a different route (except, we could swim for it, I guess). And now they are putting a school at the bottom, near the river, as well.

I try to avoid dead ends for the most part. There could be a narrow path out from the other side of the living quarters, and it could be where the sewage outlet goes.

It might be cost-effective to build an elevator instead of the staircase, which needs more space. But they need to be able to manually access any surface and mechanism.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 on November 19, 2017, 09:47:02 AM
What sort of excursion gear would be necessary, when the atmosphere provides about 15% oxygen, and contains 2,000 ppm CO2? The latitude makes it easier to work at night in summer. During heatwaves, the temperatures could still be up to 35°C. Excluding peak temperatures, limited to walking and not carrying heavy loads, I'm guessing that they could be outside for an hour without serious difficulties.

If they have to spend more time and effort to make repairs, gather resources, trade, they need something that can either supplement oxygen, scrub CO2, or both.

It's about the same amount of oxygen as there currently is at 3000 meters elevation (https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-altitude-pressure-d_462.html), but it seems worse to have less oxygen by lower ratio (https://sciencing.com/minimum-oxygen-concentration-human-breathing-15546.html), than having less oxygen because there's less air (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altitude_sickness).

2,000 ppm CO2 is enough for a permanent headache. Although miners have to deal with much more than that, judging by this system (http://www.strataworldwide.com/co2-scrubber-system) which is advertised as keeping levels below 10,000 ppm. 5,000 is a typical exposure limit (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32006L0015), averaged across 8 hours. Maybe I don't have to worry about the CO2 part. Or enough CO2 could be displaced by the extra oxygen.

So a small mask and oxygen tank? A ventilator that uses about 10% of the tank, 90% air. Or injecting oxygen into the nose while otherwise breathing regularly. Could have an electric ATV with a cabin, and bigger tanks.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: MTBox on November 19, 2017, 04:27:47 PM
Not a tank. That's about equivalent to 8,000' elevation now; although you can live there farily easily, it might be nice to provide a concentrator as part of a work toolbelt; you see people carrying these at the store and eating out. Instead of hauling a Tank, it is more like a large backback unit or large purse and they have a cannula ("nose hose") attached. 
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 on November 25, 2017, 01:29:44 PM
Wondering about how to create various substances.

Vegetable oil would likely be the substitute for mineral oil for machinery and moving parts. It could be a component to produce soap (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegan_soap) with, too. Hopefully trees are still growing.

It would've been useful to have access to seawater.

In a way, they'll be more protected from infectious diseases than most humans are today, though they won't have access to emergency services or routine checkups. Or most medicines. Possibly some reserves to be extremely conservative with.

I was wondering if ethanol should be excluded for behavioral reasons, but maybe they need it as a disinfectant. Maybe other infamous recreational drugs will be needed as painkillers.

Birth control and abortifacients could be necessary. "Natural" abortifacients are pretty brutal, and I don't know much about synthesizing hormones. Given that people manage to manufacture anabolic steroids (https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/iowa/articles/2017-11-23/man-pleads-guilty-to-illegal-manufacture-of-steroids) on their own, it might be doable for them to produce estrogen and progesterone.

Depending on how they ended up there, and what the long term outlook is, maybe being sterilized is the preferred solution.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: junki on November 25, 2017, 02:16:42 PM
a component to produce soap
Some families still made soap from pig fat and ash when I was a young boy. Awful stench. The end result was just soap all right, though.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: MTBox on November 25, 2017, 02:37:16 PM
You could introduce a manipulated crop, such as a modified Sweet potato/yam, developed for food production and the byproduct diosgenin, which is a naturally occurring hormone, to create a birth control substance.

I don't see having lubricants and soap without having at least one degreaser, such as an alcohol or ketone. You can make these hard to abuse or even a nondrinkabe product entirely.

And you know that ultimately any resource possible is used to attempt to make hooch, right? That would be part of your story line. If you need to have a still to purify water, it is a still, still.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 on December 31, 2017, 07:16:46 PM
Now I have to actually write this thing.

I'm almost worried I'm making it too low tech, given how much time has passed before the events of the story (in the area of 200 years, given the climate). It's natural that there will be stagnation, once the country or the region collapses, and no longer has immediate contact with the rest of the world. Even regression, deterioration, loss of technology that relied on a long supply chain (and constant replacement). But it wouldn't just fall back into 2030, depending on where it fell from.

Thanks for all the comments.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: MTBox on January 01, 2018, 05:07:20 PM
"I'm almost worried I'm making it too low tech,"

Please, do! I get tired of, "Look, in the future, we are this advanced and go into Space" and then we run into Space Warriors that wear skins and burn torches onboard their ships. Or, we see post-apocalypse lifestyles, as if woven fabrics lasted forever. You need Low Tech = basic skills and functions. If you don't have a machine shop, how can you have all of that equipment you use and repair, elsewhere? You cannot Three-D print something without the ability to manage the machines, and get raw stock, and recycle every bit and scrap of anything, into something else.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 on January 04, 2018, 08:25:14 AM
How to make sure to cover all exercise needs in the gym? Keeping in mind injuries and other limiting factors.

I've set up the gym to have one section for free weights, one section for matte exercises/suspension training, and there's a treadmill, an elliptical trainer, an exercise bike, a rowing machine, a shoulder press, and a leg press. Which might be overkill. Or maybe the focus needs to be what's most durable.

From personal experience, I'd guess that the machines with pulley systems are the most fragile. But if they can be easily fixed, that's not a concern. The treadmill could be the most difficult to fix, especially since it seems to need an electric motor for optimal use. According to this possibly biased eBay page (http://www.ebay.com/gds/What-Is-the-Difference-Between-an-Electric-Treadmill-and-a-Manual-Treadmill-/10000000177579939/g.html).
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: MTBox on January 07, 2018, 02:58:45 PM
"How to make sure to cover all exercise needs in the gym?"

Real Life takes care of that. I go out and shovel snow for 2 hours, and my neighbor pays for a service, so that he can go to the gym.

If you need anything at all, I would suggest a "universal machine" = one footprint, one frame, you work your way around its Stations. This is helpful for rehab and range of motion. But nothing takes the place of Real Work. Do you think your people will have a lot of leisure time and not have to at least rotate through menial tasks for work?
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 on January 08, 2018, 10:41:36 AM
Maybe it's not that big of a deal. It depends on how much time they can spend outside. Running up and down the hallway might not be that good on their joints. Unless it's designed with that in mind, I suppose. And some people could have specific physical therapy needs.

In the subarctic winter there could be a lot of downtime, since food production scales with sunlight.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: MTBox on January 12, 2018, 06:01:24 PM
"In the subarctic winter there could be a lot of downtime, since food production scales with sunlight."

Go to Discovery Channel and see if you can find the episode of Homestead Rescue, where the host takes you on a tour of his Alaska neighbor's Food Cache, reviewing methods and his calculation for needs, cycling out the product, etc. It was very interesting.
Title: Re: Designing an Earth base
Post by: 2397 on May 08, 2019, 05:12:27 AM
The year is 2197. If I had planned this better, I would've updated this thread then. 2397 refers to a different story, which I eventually decided to make this part of the same universe of.

That's about what I have so far.

I came up with this story to practice writing, before writing what I've been wanting to write about for a long time. For whatever reason I've been unable to commit to writing the actual story. There are limits to how much/often I can write, but considering the amount of comments I write, I figured I'd be able to convert some of that into book writing.

I've decided on a main character, on the how story is told, and a general path. Now I'm going to outline the story as far as I have planned it.

(click to show/hide)

I couldn't find that episode of Homestead Rescue.