About duanetilden

Engineer, Entrepreneur, Blogger, Farmer, Traveler and Nature Lover. I love music, quotes and blog about Green Building & Energy.

Oldest Nuclear Power Plant in US to be Retired – The 60 Year Decommissioning Process

When a nuclear plant retires, it stops producing electricity and enters into the decommissioning phase. Decommissioning involves removing and safely storing spent nuclear fuel, decontaminating the plant to reduce residual radioactivity, dismantling plant structures, removing contaminated materials to disposal facilities, and then releasing the property for other uses once the NRC has determined the site is safe.

According to Exelon, Oyster Creek will undergo a six-step decommissioning process. The typical decommissioning period for a nuclear power plant is about 60 years, so parts of the Oyster Creek plant structure could remain in place until 2075. (1.)

retired nuclear power plants and nuclear power plants that have announced retirement

Since 2013, six commercial nuclear reactors in the United States have shut down, and an additional eight reactors have announced plans to retire by 2025. The retirement process for nuclear power plants involves disposing of nuclear waste and decontaminating equipment and facilities to reduce residual radioactivity, making it much more expensive and time consuming than retiring other power plants. As of 2017, a total of 10 commercial nuclear reactors in the United States have been successfully decommissioned, and another 20 U.S. nuclear reactors are currently in different stages of the decommissioning process.

To fully decommission a power plant, the facility must be deconstructed and the site returned to greenfield status (meaning the site is safe for reuse for purposes such as housing, farming, or industrial use). Nuclear reactor operators must safely dispose of any onsite nuclear waste and remove or contain any radioactive material, including nuclear fuel as well as irradiated equipment and buildings. (2.)

References:

  1. America’s oldest operating nuclear power plant to retire on Monday
  2. Decommissioning nuclear reactors is a long-term and costly process
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Energy Efficiency of Power Production: How Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Turbines Operate

Duane M. Tilden, P.Eng.                                    Sept 1, 2018

Foreword:

This is another article in an ongoing series of reports on the technological development of supercritical carbon dioxide in the power production and energy efficiency sectors of industry, power plants and utilities.

dodge-sco23 supercritical CO2 turbine

Figure 1. Size comparison of Supercritical Power Turbine to Conventional Steam Turbine (1)

Abstract:

The ever increasing search for improving energy and power production efficiency is a natural quest as developments in technology seek to be utilized to improve operations and supply cost effectively. The technologies behind the utilization of supercritical carbon dioxide and other such fluids have long been established. We are furthering our exploration into this sector of power production developing new technologies along the way to a smarter economy and modernization of infrastructure.

The Principle of Operation

Supercritical fluids can play an important role in developing better electricity generators because of their liquid- and gas-like properties. A supercritical fluid is an optimal working fluid because it has a temperature and pressure above its critical point, meaning that it doesn’t have a definite liquid or gas phase. Consequently, the slightest changes in pressure or temperature cause huge changes in the material’s density.

With any supercritical fluid, the ease of compressibility goes up, explains Stapp, so it becomes something more like water. Because supercritical CO2 also compresses more easily than steam, the amount of work done during the compression phase—normally accounting for 25 percent of the work performed inside the system—is dramatically reduced; the energy saved there greatly contributes to the turbine’s overall efficiency.

“We expand it like a gas, and pressurize it like a liquid,” says James Pasch, principle investigator of the Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Brayton Cycle Research and Development Program. “You can do this with any fluid, but supercritical carbon dioxide matches really well with ambient temperatures.”

Carbon dioxide is optimal for this application because it doesn’t go through a phase change at any point during the cycle. Its critical temperature, 88 degrees Fahrenheit, is very close to ambient temperature, which means the heat emitted by the turbine is the same temperature as the surrounding environment. Supercritical carbon dioxide is also very dense; at its critical point, the fluid is about half the density of water. So, in addition to being easier to compress, less work is required to cycle it back to the heat source for re-expansion.

The Brayton Cycle also offers direct environmental benefits. For one, it’s carbon neutral. The system takes carbon dioxide out of the air and puts it in the recompression cycle loop. Just as important is the fact that the system limits water usage by minimizing discharge, evaporation, and withdraw.

“That’s a big deal for the southwest,” says Gary Rochau, manager of Sandia’s Advanced Nuclear Concepts Department. Sandia’s generator can work in places where water is in limited supply. This puts it on par with the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Generating Station, a nuclear power plant in Arizona that uses recycled waste water as cooling water, saving groundwater and municipal water supplies for other uses. (2)

Figure 1. Illustration of a Supercritical CO2 Turbine [Peregrine Turbine Technologies] (2)

Advances in Materials and Technology

GE Reports first wrote about Hofer last year when he 3D printed a plastic prototype of the turbine. His team, partnered with Southwest Research Institute and Gas Technology Institute, has since submitted the design to the U.S. Department of Energy and won an $80 million award to build the 10 MW turbine. The turbine features a rotor that is 4.5 feet long, 7 inches in diameter, and only weighs 150 pounds. The engineers are now completing a scaled-down, 1 MW version of the machine and will test it in July at the Southwest Research Institute.

The idea of using CO2 to power a steam turbine has been around for a while. It first appeared in the late 1960s, and an MIT doctoral student resurrected it in 2004. “The industry has been really interested in the potential benefits of using CO2 in place of steam in advanced supercritical power plants,” Hofer says.

By “supercritical” Hofer means efficient power stations using CO2 squeezed and heated so much that it becomes a supercritical fluid, which behaves like a gas and a liquid at the same time. The world’s most efficient thermal power plant, RDK 8 in Germany, uses an “ultrasupercritical” steam turbine operating at 600 degrees Celsius and pressure of 4,000 pounds per square inch, more than what’s exerted when a bullet strikes a solid object.

Hofer says that the steam power plant technology “has been on a continuous march” to increase efficiency and steam temperature, but once it tops 700 degrees Celsius, “the CO2 cycle becomes more efficient than the steam cycle.” Hofer’s turbine and casing are made from a nickel-based superalloy because it can handle temperatures as high as 715 degrees Celsius and pressures approaching 3,600 pounds per square inch. “You need a high-strength material for a design like this,” he says.

 Figure 2. GE Global Research engineer Doug Hofer is building a compact and highly efficient turbine that fits on a conference table but can generate 10 megawatts (MW), enough to power 10,000 U.S. homes. The turbine, made from a nickel-based superalloy that can handle temperatures up to 715 degrees Celsius and pressures approaching 3,600 pounds per square inch, replaces steam with ultrahot and superpressurized carbon dioxide, allowing for a smaller design.

The hellish heat and pressure turn CO2 into a hot, dense liquid, allowing Hofer to shrink the turbine’s size and potentially increase its efficiency a few percentage points above where state-of-the-art steam systems operate today. “The pressure and fluid density at the exit of our turbine is two orders of magnitude higher than in a steam turbine,” Hofer says. “Therefore, to push the same mass through, you can have a much smaller turbine because the flow at the exit end is much denser.”

Hofer’s design uses a small amount of CO2 in a closed loop. “It’s important to remember that this is not a CO2 capture or sequestration technology,” he says. Hofer says that the technology, which is being developed as part of GE’s Ecomagination program, could one day start replacing steam turbines. “It’s on the multigenerational roadmap for steam-powered systems,” he says.

By virtue of becoming more efficient, the technology could help power-plant operators reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “The efficiency of converting coal into electricity matters: more efficient power plants use less fuel and emit less climate-damaging carbon dioxide,” wrote the authors of the International Energy Agency report on measuring coal plant performance. (3)

Previous Blog Posts on Supercritical Carbon Dioxide:

  1. https://duanetilden.com/2016/11/11/transitioning-oil-gas-wells-to-renewable-geothermal-energy/
  2. https://duanetilden.com/2016/03/13/supercritical-co2-used-for-solar-battery-power-system/
  3. https://duanetilden.com/2015/04/23/doe-invests-in-super-critical-carbon-dioxide-turbine-research-to-replace-steam-for-electric-power-generators/
  4. https://duanetilden.com/2013/10/29/supercritical-co2-refines-cogeneration-for-industry/
  5. https://duanetilden.com/2013/10/29/supercritical-co2-turbine-for-power-production-waste-heat-energy-recovery/
  6. https://duanetilden.com/2013/10/29/waste-heat-recovery-using-supercritical-co2-turbines-to-create-electrical-power/

 

References:

  1. supercritical-carbon-dioxide-power-cycles-starting-to-hit-the-market/
  2. supercritical-carbon-dioxide-can-make-electric-turbines-greener
  3. ecomagination-ge-building-co2-powered-turbine-generates-10-megawatts-fits-table/

Study Finds BC Pension Fund Manager is Funding Climate Agreement Breach

A study* released by the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP), a watchdog organization indicates that public pensions could be overly invested in the fossil fuel industry. This is a concern as international agreements signed by Canada are directed to reducing emissions, while public money is invested in an agenda that requires growth and production in a sector which is in decline.

Image result for kinder morgan pipeline

Figure 1. Map of proposed expansion current pipeline and tanker route – Kinder Morgan / Trans Mountain Pipeline. (1)

 

Image result for kinder morgan pipeline

Figure 2. Map of impact of refinery facilities and proximity to conservation areas, a University, a Salmon spawning inlet, residential housing and major transport routes. (1)

 

The area that will be impacted by the growth of the facility are diverse and vulnerable. This is not a brownfield development, and in fact is on the side of a mountain and part of a larger watershed. Serious consideration should be given to relocating the facility or decommissioning.

There are alternate locations better suited for this type of high hazard industrial facility, away from sensitive areas and remote from populations and high traffic harbours. Why are these alternatives not being discussed?

Here’s a snippet taken from the introduction of the report and their findings. How can we stop carbon emissions when local investing strategies are in the opposite direction? Are public pension funds safely invested and competently managed? Likely not.

 

CMP researchers Zoë Yunker, Jessica Dempsey and James Rowe chose to look into BCI’s investment practices because it controls one of the province’s largest pools of wealth ($135.5 billion) — the pensions of over half-a-million British Columbians. Which means BCI’s decisions have a significant impact on capital markets and on our broader society.

Their research asked, “Is BCI is investing funds in ways that effectively respond to the climate change crisis?”

Unfortunately, the answer is “No.” BCI has invested billions of dollars in companies with large oil, gas and coal reserves — companies whose financial worth depends on overshooting their carbon budget — and is even increasing many investments in these companies.

As another recent CMP study clearly shows what’s at stake. Canada’s Energy Outlook, authored by veteran earth scientist David Hughes, reveals that the projected expansion of oil and gas production will make it all but impossible for Canada to meet our emissions-reduction targets. The study also shows that returns to the public from oil and gas production have gone down significantly. (2)

 

*This study is part of the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP), a research and public engagement initiative investigating the power of the fossil fuel industry. The CMP is jointly led by the University of Victoria, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute. This research was supported by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

References:

  1. kinder_morgan_pipeline_route_maps
  2. fossil-fuelled-pensions

The Mind of a Market – Part 1

Author: Duane M. Tilden, P.Eng.                      Date: July 2, 2018

The arrow of time points forward; past events are irreversible

Foreword:

This article, has grown and is expanding as I write. Being my own editor I have to make decisions, so that in order to expedite publishing I am breaking the material down into parts. The idea behind this article is to explore what makes the cryptocurrency market move and the psychology behind the market, a collection of minds or “hive-mind“. We will use references from the stock market and investing community, social sciences, finance, engineering and other realms of thought and application.

I would like to postulate that collectively CC markets are populated by a type of person who has a basic understanding of the fundamentals of Bitcoin, blockchain and smart contracts, online interaction and the use of app’s, purchasing and trading, banking, stock markets, economics and other needed basics to make the ecosystem have value and meaning to the user.

Or perhaps, the user is in the process of learning these fundamentals, as such having desire and ability to learn new concepts and be able to employ them digitally is necessary for success. There are learning curves to be surmounted; patience, persistence and diligence are required. In any event I invite seasoned pro, novice or the curious to follow my explorations into the world of crypto.

Image result for whale

Photo #1: National Geographic – Migrating Whales

What is the Cryptocurrency Market?

The cryptocurrency market is dominated by a few major assets, most notably Bitcoin which has a current dominance factor of 42.6%. Reviewing listed CC assets listed on the website coinmarketcap.com we find the use of charts and graphs useful in understanding how values and prices fluctuate over time in these markets. I have used these charts in previous articles, listed below is the current Total Market Cap of $257 Bn, which has recently increased by $21 Bn since Friday, June 29th.

Total Crypto Market Cap Jun 24 to Jul 1 2018 #1

Figure 1: CryptoCurrency Total Market Cap Chart – June 24 to July 1, 2018

For the sake of simplicity, my analyses is generalized in nature. Individual traded assets have their own utility and value based on a multiplicity of factors, some of which may be intangible. When deciding which assets to choose for holding and trading there are many of those factors which become important when considering risking investment over time. We will delve into this issue in another post, all part of the due diligence process.

Over the past decade, blockchain technology has captured the imagination of technologists around the world, and in the past year Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) of cryptocurrency tokens have exploded in popularity. In just the first four months of 2018, ICOs raised $6.3 billion USD in funding, 18% more than in all of 2017. (1)

As we can see from the excerpt taken from the CPA Ontario website ICO’s raised $6.3 Bn in funding for the first quarter of 2018. For argument’s sake we can extrapolate a value of $30 Bn for the year, or even more to $50 Bn if we assume more issues later in the year. However, considering the total trading values in active markets we can by inspection see that the ICO market is small compared to values traded on exchanges. Total Market Cap can increase by over $20 Bn or more in a day (2), and daily volumes also can vary in the same range of about $10 to $20 Bn over 24 hour periods.

As a final note, not all transactions in cryptocurrency need to be done through an exchange, and private transactions are not included in TMC analysis, although it is fair to assume that trade values of these transactions will be made close to current market prices. When trading on exchanges one must always be aware of the market depth compared to order size, which can cause significant run up in price when a large transaction is made on the market. One reason why experienced traders generally make smaller incremental buys or sales to limit market distortion and costs as well as profit from large trade orders which run up the market temporarily.

Modeling Generalizations

For the sake of most of my market reviews there are certain generalizations which I make, first is I exclude ICO’s as a minor influence on the market as a whole. Those who intend to issue ICO’s would be wise to incorporate market analysis and timing as part of their marketing strategy. Starting an ICO in a soft market will be more difficult when money is tight for investors, as an example.

The second generalization I make is to limit reviews generally to the top 25 listed CC’s by market capitalization. From past analysis I have found that over 80% of capital is contained in the top 25 while the remaining 1500+ listed account for the remaining 20% Total Market Cap. Movements of these coins may be important to the individual trader, however as factors that may move the whole market their sphere of influence is generally limited.

Thus, as we can see, the above reductions will simplify future modeling of cryptocurrency markets by eliminating ICO’s and examining global movements of the top 25 listed cryptocurrencies, of which Bitcoin currently dominates with a MC of $108 Bn USD, followed by Tether, Ethereum, EOS, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, etc.

Who are the Players in the CryptoCurrency Markets?

First there are the digital assets or cryptocurrencies, which we already discussed in general and of which there are many. However, we have reduced this population down to a usable quantity for analytical and discussion purposes by reducing the market to the top 25 and ignoring the effects of ICO’s on the market. Next to be discussed is the user base, which is a generalization for investors, holders, developers, traders, speculators and the consumer marketplaces. Some of these markets are more developed than others as more people learn the benefits of cryptocurrency, the blockchain and distributed ledger technology.

As both sides of the markets have grown we will examine the effect of exchanges and how this third component enables the other two components to interact much like how a third leg is necessary to the utility and stability of a stool. These virtual cryptocurrency exchanges have many similarities to the stock market as both represent an asset the basis of which are distinct and separable, frequently representing commodities or utility previously considered intangible.

Demographics of the User

Is it possible to identify the “average” or “normal” user, and thus be able to establish some trends or behaviours that can be predicted? Let us explore this concept further.

One Bloomberg News article found online mentions a survey which found 5% of 5700 adults surveyed owned Bitcoin.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans have heard or read about the world’s largest cryptocurrency, according to a joint SurveyMonkey and Global Blockchain Business Council poll of more than 5,700 adults conducted in January. But only 5 percent of people actually own the digital coin.

Those few Bitcoin investors are of a fairly consistent demographic. An overwhelming 71 percent of them are male. The majority — 58 percent — are young, between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. And unlike the broader U.S. population, nearly half of them are minorities. (3)

Another survey is more thorough providing demographics on users interviewed in their surveys. It also provides interesting feedback as to the nature of existing resistance to adoption as seen below in Figure 2. Something which should be paid particular interest.

Finder

Figure 2. Table of Reasons – Resistance to CryptoCurrency Adoption

Other interesting demographic information can be examined such as age groups, gender, income level and ethnicity of those surveyed may provide useful information. For example who are those most likely to invest in Bitcoin or other Cryptocurrencies? This survey compares Millennials, Gen X and Babyboomer generations.

Millennials and Generation X

A similarity between the results of the Finder survey and the survey by LENDEDU is that Millennials are the largest group invested in cryptocurrency followed by Generation X.

The survey by Finder found that among those who purchased cryptocurrency there are:

  • 17.21 percent of Millennials surveyed,

  • 8.75 percent of Generation X surveyed.

Finder

Figure 3. Table of Crypto Investors by Age Group (4)

 

Summary Comments – Part 1

In order to make sense of our examination of the cryptocurrency market we have used scientific methods of reduction to group together data in meaningful ways and thereby reducing workloads. The generalizations, rules or assumptions are that the market is fairly well represented by the movements of the top 25 listed cryptocurrencies, and that ICO’s are a separate market which has little effect on the main market.

The current model is a spreadsheet analysis of price and total market capitalization of the top 25 cryptocurrencies as listed on Coinmarketcap.com for a particular time period. Cycles in capitalization may be uncovered through data analysis. Also opportunities in markets and penetration. Current surveys indicate populations which require more attention and information for wider adoption which are useful for marketing campaigns.

 

Part 2 (To be Continued)

  • Trading Exchanges and Price Movements
  • Whales and Institutions
  • Trading Levels, Trust and the Nash Equilibrium
  • Time Frames, Cycles and Risk
  • Geographical and Geopolitical Factors

 

References:

  1. navigating-the-brave-new-world-of-cryptocurrency-and-icos
  2. weekly-market-cap-surges-50-billion-cryptocurrency-prices-continue-to-rise/
  3. a-look-at-who-owns-bitcoin-young-men-and-why-lack-of-trust
  4. how-many-americans-really-own-crypto-skewed-results-of-polls-and-surveys

 

 

Market Sentiment Analysis of Candlestick Charts

Author: Duane M. Tilden, P.Eng.                       Date: June 23, 2018

To become a successful trader in markets, such as cryptocurrency trading, one has to develop strategies which will give them the greatest probability of success, or for most, a profit.

How much risk and reward is up to every trader, as well as the selection of digital assets held and quantity. There are short, medium and long term goals and various methods of achieving each one of these objectives.

One tool that is very useful for developing short term trading strategies which can return a profit to the trader, is understanding Candlestick charts.

Figure 1: Anatomy of a Candlestick (1)

Anatomy of a candlestick

For reading and developing trading strategies, understanding the mechanics of a candlestick chart can lead to opportunities in trading assets to maximize ROI (return on investment), or to determine when to buy and sell assets.

How to Read a Single Candlestick (2)

Each candlestick represents one day’s worth of price data about a stock through four pieces of information: the opening price, the closing price, the high price, and the low price. The color of the central rectangle (called the real body) tells investors whether the opening price or the closing price was higher. A black or filled candlestick means the closing price for the period was less than the opening price; hence, it is bearish and indicates selling pressure. Meanwhile, a white or hollow candlestick means that the closing price was greater than the opening price. This is bullish and shows buying pressure. The lines at both ends of a candlestick are called shadows, and they show the entire range of price action for the day, from low to high. The upper shadow shows the stock’s highest price for the day and the lower shadow shows the lowest price for the day.

Bearish and Bullish Candlesticks

A candlestick represents the price activity of an asset during a specified timeframe through the use of four main components: the open, close, high and low.

The “open” of a candlestick represents the price of an asset when the trading period begins whereas the “close” represents the price when the period has concluded. The “high” and the “low” represent the highest and lowest prices achieved during the same trading session.

There is much more to reading and understanding candlestick charts than is covered here. This brief has informational links to where more information on patterns and indicators, and advice on how to use these patterns to make decisions in trading.

Bottom Line (2):

Investors should use candlestick charts like any other technical analysis tool (i.e., to study the psychology of market participants in the context of stock trading). They provide an extra layer of analysis on top of the fundamental analysis that forms the basis for trading decisions. We looked at five of the more popular candlestick chart patterns that signal buying opportunities. They can help identify a change in trader sentiment where buyer pressure overcomes seller pressure. Such a downtrend reversal can be accompanied by a potential for long gains. That said, the patterns themselves do not guarantee that the trend will reverse. Investors should always confirm reversal by the subsequent price action before initiating a trade. (Read more in Candlestick Charting: Perfecting The Art)

References:

  1. crypto-trading-101-beginners-guide-candlesticks/
  2. using-bullish-candlestick-patterns-buy-stocks

Microgrids and the Blockchain – Transforming the Energy Supply

Author: Duane M. Tilden, P.Eng.           Date: June 10, 2018

In the transition from the centralized utility is the development of the Micro-grid.  The Micro-grid offers many benefits to society, including; (a) use of renewable energy sources that reduce or eliminate the production of GHG’s, (b) increases in energy efficiency of energy transmission due to shortening of transmission distances and infrastructure, (c) improved municipal resilience against disaster and power reductions, and finally, (d) promotion of economic activity that improves universal standard of living. (1)

The Brooklyn Microgrid Experiment

A Network of Energy Cells (2)

In order to be successful, blockchain platforms and microgrids require a regulatory framework. In New York State, such a framework is provided by “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV). The platform’s objectives are to minimize the vulnerability of the power supply system that became visible during Hurricane Sandy, to use more sources of renewable energy, and to reduce costs.

The Brooklyn Microgrid is a good test case for these objectives. “A microgrid is a nucleus that sets the stage for an energy future consisting of networks of energy cells,” says Stefan Jessenberger from Siemens’ Energy Management Division. “Blockchain also supports this process, because it makes it much easier to conduct energy trading within cells.”

Siemens Digital Grid, next47, and LO3 Energy all believe in the potential of blockchain-based microgrids, because this technology can be used wherever there are decentralized energy sources. “Our experiences with the Brooklyn Microgrid will certainly flow into future projects,” says Kessler.

 
Image #1: A Canal in Brooklyn, New York (5)

The Future is Now

But something else is happening to the grid as energy generation changes – the rise of microgrids. These smaller grid systems are linked to localised power sources, often referred to as “distributed generation” sources. For example, a handful of buildings in a city with their own solar panels might be connected to nearby residences.

In fact, that is exactly the model that LO3 Energy has experimented with in its Brooklyn Microgrid project. Customers signed up to it can choose to power their homes via a range of local renewable energy sources. People with their own solar panels can sell surplus electricity to their neighbours, for example. It’s a peer-to-peer network for electricity.

To ensure that accurate records of these transactions are kept, LO3 has opted to use blockchain distributed ledger technology. This means the microgrid’s accounting is decentralised and shared by everyone on the network.

“It’s virtually unhackable,” says founder and chief executive Lawrence Orsini, explaining that tampering with these records is almost impossible because of the fact that everyone has their own, regularly updated copy of the ledger.

LO3 is now rapidly expanding with a series of other projects around the world. One is based in South Australia, where Orsini explains there is already a lot of distributed generation going on – and plenty of grid stability issues. Users can now experiment with LO3 to get access to electricity from solar-fuelled batteries nearby when needed. (3)

Physical and Virtual Microgrids

Challenging the traditional electrical supply model are microgrids. The “microgrid” term normally refers to a localised grid that can disconnect from the main grid and operate autonomously. It uses local sources of energy to serve local users, integrating the supply of energy from various producers, including local power generators and providers of renewable energy such as solar power. Consumers with their own energy production capabilities (wind turbines or solar energy systems) can sell their surplus energy production back to peers in the microgrid, on a pay-per-use basis (becoming ‘prosumers’).

While physical microgrids are still rare, we do observe the development of virtual microgrids using peer-to-peer energy trading. Blockchain is just one element in the transformation of electricity supply, providing Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to members of a peer-to-peer energy network, or microgrid. It offers [or ‘provides’] a reliable, lower-cost digital platform for making, validating, recording and settling energy transactions in real time across a localised and decentralised energy system.

With increasing demand for more flexible energy supplies we expect a continued increase in the number of virtual microgrids and a gradual movement towards true, physical microgrids along 4 stages […] (4)

“This project…, is the first version of a new kind of energy market, operated by consumers, which will change the way we generate and consume electricity.”
New Scientist (5)

References:  

  1. microgrid-as-a-service-maas-and-the-blockchain/
  2. smart-grids-and-energy-storage-microgrid-in-brooklyn
  3. http://www.wired.co.uk/article/microgrids-wired-energy
  4. energy-and-resources/articles/will-microgrids-transform-the-marke.html
  5. http://brooklynmicrogrid.com/

Game Theory and Markets: Schelling Points and The Nash Equilibrium

Author: Duane M. Tilden, P.Eng.        Date: June 10, 2018

Prologue:  It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post as I have been quite involved in other matters. As part of my work involves research and learning I would like to organize some of my discoveries and thoughts and relate them further by curation and publication on my blog.

Some things that I have been aware of it seems to me, intuitively, are rules which have been previously codified by others. Two now under examination are named after their discoverer’s respectively; Schelling Points and The Nash Equilibrium.  These ideas have profound implications in various forms of trade, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and cryptoeconomics.

Schelling or “Focal” Points

In the study of crowds or markets as an example we will find that there will be a tendency of people to gravitate towards the familiar in the absence of information. Such information is useful in the study of how people tend to behave. This information can also used to make optimal choices between two or more people in games of strategy whether between strangers where the others’ choice is unknown, or between friends or groups who may be more predictable in behaviour.

Image result for grand central station new yorkImage 1:  Grand Central Terminal turned 100 years old in 2013. Photo: Buck Ennis

In my own study of markets and their behaviour it is noticeable that one can postulate certain cycles based on common patterns where conflicts for disposable income can affect the movement of capital in and out of the market. I find that this is very similar to what has been found by Thomas Schelling and is also known as “focal points”.

Image result for thomas schellingImage 2: Thomas Schelling received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1946 and joined the Harvard faculty in 1958. Photo by Martha Stewart

Thomas Schelling, the Nobel-winning game theorist … found in an informal survey that many of his students tended toward the same answer when posed this question about New York City: they would wait under the clock in Grand Central Station at 12 noon, hoping their partners had the same idea.

He introduced this concept in his 1960 book The Strategy of Conflict as a “focal point” – a solution to a coordination problem that somehow stands out as the natural answer even if the participants don’t have a chance to arrange it beforehand. Schelling argued that people’s apparent ability to coordinate without communicating was key to understanding how real-life strategic games are solved.

As game theory has developed in the decades since, Schelling’s ideas about focal points have been rarely studied, partly because the existence of focal points was perceived more as a mysterious, sociological phenomenon rather than an economic one amenable to analysis.

Schelling argued that people’s apparent ability to coordinate without communicating was key to understanding how real-life strategic games are solved.

Schelling himself said trying to determine the focal point of a game analytically is like trying to use a computer to understand whether a joke will be funny – it depends on cultural context and the relationship of the people trying to coordinate. Even the classic Schelling focal point of Grand Central might not apply if you asked different groups of New Yorkers who lived in different parts of the city or never took the trains that pass through the station.

The Nash Equilibrium

The Nash Equilibrium is a basic solution set which can be identified in every day life through some observation. One of the better examples it the driver matrix on a two-way street, where the optimal solution is for both drivers to drive on the left hand or right hand side of the road. If not, then a collision will likely result as both cars will be moving in opposing directions head-on.

Generally speaking one can view this equilibrium as an expectation that in various scenario’s where a choice is required, the person will behave in their own best interests. Understanding this concept is essential to how incentives work in an economy and how such incentives can be used to modify a person’s behavior, whether in a game, company, group, or a market.

Nash Equilibrium is a term used in game theory to describe an equilibrium where each player’s strategy is optimal given the strategies of all other players. A Nash Equilibrium exists when there is no unilateral profitable deviation from any of the players involved. In other words, no player in the game would take a different action as long as every other player remains the same. Nash Equilibria are self-enforcing; when players are at a Nash Equilibrium they have no desire to move because they will be worse off.

 

 

Cryptocurrency Weekly Market Cap Analysis and Forecast: Issue #1

Author: Duane M. Tilden, P.Eng.

Report Period: April 19th to 23rd, 2018

Disclaimer: The author is an active trader in cryptocurrencies and may have variable holdings in some or all digital assets reviewed. Trading and investing in cryptocurrency markets is considered a high risk venture and requires analysis, due diligence and patience. No guarantees on outcomes are offered or implied, market performance may change due to unforeseen events which may alter market participation. The analysis and subsequent forecast are “best guesses” or opinions based on information reviewed and methodology of examination and therefore may be subject to change.

Foreword

At this time I am planning to issue a weekly report and analysis. The reader is encouraged to read the analysis and familiarize themselves with terminology, cryptocurrencies and markets. Links, where deemed necessary will be included for reference and clarity. 

Purpose

The purpose of this ongoing blog is to develop and examine data in a scientific and methodical manner using a variety of tools to understand the movement of capital and price fluctuations in the cryptocurrency market. The cryptocurrency market is well known to be subject to volatility and can move quickly. To maximize profits a trader needs to have information into market movements which can be verified by various means of inquiry.

We will discuss these changes and explore the underlying causes. Forecasts made are our hypothesis or “best guess” and will be the basis of a Trading Plan.  Changes in holdings or planned capital investments may be made to adjust holdings to the forecast.  After the week we can review the results to determine how accurate our model and forecasts have been, and any required refinements.

Empowered with these tools it is hoped that those desiring to trade in these markets will be able to better evaluate portfolios and individual holdings to make buy, sell and/or hold decisions.

Weekly Analysis of Market

A. Total Market Cap

Using the tools we have developed to date let us continue with analyzing the cryptocurrency trading market using data from the past week. We seek to establish trends and using this information to forecast probable outcomes in the week ahead. To start lets take a look at the Total Market Cap (TMC) for the past week to spot the trends and chart data for further analysis. Total Crypto Market Cap April 16 to 23 2018

Total Crypto Market Cap April 16 to 23 2018 #2

Figure 1: Cryptocurrency TMC Weekly Graph of April 16 to 23rd, 2018

We can see that the overall trend for the week has been steadily increasing with a short dip on April 21st. TMC increased by $78 Billion from $322 to $400 bn for a weekly increase of 24.2%. Daily volume has increased by $7bn from $15.5 to $22.5 bn for a 45% gain over the week.Total Crypto Market Cap Mar 23 to Apr 23 2018 #1.png

Figure 2: Cryptocurrency TMC 30 Day Graph – March 23 to April 23rd, 2018

This is continuing the reported upward trend from last that started on Monday April 9th where TMC was above $250 bn moving to April 12th where TMC started at $275 bn and rose by $25 bn in under one hour to $300 Billion. Daily volume peaked on April 13th to over $27 Billion traded in 24 hours. The two week change in TMC is $150 bn from $250 to $400 bn, for a 60% gain with an average rate of increase $10.7 bn/day or 7.13%.

B. Analysis of the Top 25 Cryptocurrencies by Market Cap and Price

TMC Top 25 Cryptocurrencies April 19 to 23 2018

Figure 3: TMC and Dominance of Top 25 Cryptocurrencies; April 19 to 23rd, 2018

A spreadsheet has been created to examine a variety of components of market capitalization, pricing and dominance and their variance over time. Where there are significant changes from the norm we can look for reasons to understand individual price changes and capital movement.

C. Variation in Dominance as a Predictive Indicator

The use of a dominance factor gives us an indication of the overall contribution to the TMC of an individual cryptocurrency coin or token. When this factor changes significantly over a measured period of time we may observe movements in price or MC which stand out from the overall market average.

From the period examined we have the following predictions for the upcoming week based on variance on dominance. Dominance indicates a current established trend in buying or selling. Where dominance is high and positive then for a fixed supply MC and Price will rise, and when high and negative the converse is true, that the cryptocurrency MC and Price are in a decline in value.

Caution is the word; not all declines in dominance are bad nor increases necessarily good. Sometimes when a market has moved too far in one direction a market correction may be in order and short term changes in dominance may indicate a correction. Increases in dominance should be examined for underlying cause for the cryptocurrency to gain popularity in the market.

Be aware, there are pump and dump schemes which can run up values in MC and Price for a short term while the architects of these manipulation activities profit. Generally speaking the organizers target obscure coins and tokens held on certain exchanges. Due to size and wide distribution the top 25 cryptocurrencies are considered safer from influence and price manipulation, although not immune.

In future articles I plan on performing more detailed examination of results and expand predictions or forecasts to include possible future outcomes as well as explore underlying causes to individual price movements.

Recommendations:

Top pick for the week is Bitcoin Cash.

Top 5: Buy or Hold

  1. Bitcoin Cash variance in dominance increased by 28.30 %
  2. IOTA variance in dominance increased by 7.94 %
  3. Monero variance in dominance increased by 5.51 %
  4. Ripple variance in dominance increased by 5.08 %
  5. Bitcoin Gold variance in dominance increased by 4.83 %

Bottom 5: Sell or Hold

  1.  Qtum variance in dominance decreased by -13.24 %
  2.  Tether variance in dominance decreased by -11.27 %
  3.  OmiseGo variance in dominance decreased by -10.96 %
  4.  Stellar variance in dominance decreased by -8.90 %
  5.  NEO variance in dominance decreased by -8.14 %

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oilsands and Fossil Fuels Receive Major Blow Due to Paris Agreement

LONDON — Europe’s largest bank HSBC said on Friday it would mostly stop funding new coal power plants, oilsands and arctic drilling, becoming the latest in a long line of investors to shun the fossil fuels.

Other large banks such as ING and BNP Paribas have made similar pledges in recent months as investors have mounted pressure to make sure bank’s actions align with the Paris Agreement, a global pact to limit greenhouse gas emissions and curb rising temperatures.

“We recognize the need to reduce emissions rapidly to achieve the target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement… and our responsibility to support the communities in which we operate,” Daniel Klier, group head of strategy and global head of sustainable finance, said in a statement.

via Europe’s biggest bank HSBC says it will no longer finance oilsands projects — Financial Post

Banning the Internal Combustion Engine: Is this the end of Fossil Fuels?

As a general rule I find that most North Americans are unaware that there is a growing movement of countries that are banning new sales of vehicles powered by gasoline or diesel and may also include other fuels such as propane, compressed and LNG (liquid natural gas).

The local news is rife with plans to grow our exploitation of natural resources and build more pipelines for anticipated expansion to new markets such as China. The federal government is in the process of colluding with the petroleum industry to force the construction of a dil-bit pipeline in a densely populated region of Greater Vancouver.  Meanwhile our future markets are vanishing as other governments are phasing out fossil fuels and their engines.

Image #1: A rendering of the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) platform with truck chassis. 

SURUS was designed to form a foundation for a family of commercial vehicle solutions that leverages a single propulsion system integrated into a common chassis. (1)

Fuel cell technology is a key piece of GM’s zero-emission strategy.

General Motors’ Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) is an electric vehicle platform with autonomous capabilities powered by a flexible fuel cell. GM displayed it at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army, as the commercially designed platform could be adapted for military use.

SURUS leverages GM’s newest Hydrotec fuel cell system, autonomous capability and truck chassis components to deliver high-performance, zero-emission propulsion to minimize logistical burdens and reduce human exposure to harm. Benefits include quiet and odor-free operation, off-road mobility, field configuration, instantaneous high torque, exportable power generation, water generation and quick refueling times. (1)

 

Table 1. List of Countries Banning the ICE & Timeline (2)
Wikipedia Table of Countries Banning the Internal Combustion Engine.png

At an automotive conference in Tianjin, China revealed it was developing plans towards banning fossil fuel-based cars. Though China has not set a 2040 goal like the U.K. and France, it said it was working with other regulators on a time-specific ban.

“The ministry has also started relevant research and will make such a timeline with relevant departments. Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry’s development,” Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology, said.

Both India and Norway have also said they have electric car targets set for the next few decades. India, home to heavily polluted cities, said by 2030 it plans to have vehicles solely powered by electricity. (3)

Final Remarks:

I explain this worldwide movement to the electric vehicle and the impact this will have oil markets, however, most of whom I discuss this issue with are unaware of these vital facts. In addition we are seeing growing alternate forms of power sources for our electrical grid, such as solar, wind, tidal, hydro-electric, geothermal and others.

If you ran a business that called for a major investments in capital for infrastructure, would you make it knowing that your market is non-existent? Maybe it’s time for Canadians and Americans to wake up and smell the coffee.

References:

  1. fuel-cell-electric-truck-platform
  2. List_of_countries_banning_fossil_fuel_vehicles
  3. how-internal-combustion-engine-bans-could-catalyze-big-oil-concerns