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Why are Honorverse Heavy Industries off Planet?

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Why are Honorverse Heavy Industries off Planet?
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:00 pm

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Heat!

I offer this somewhat simplistic but informative article to make the point.

http://bwp.io/blog/2014/thermodynamic-l ... the-Earth/

The author focuses on comparing human energy use to insolation rather than comparing human energy use to the radiating capacity of the planet. Because most industrial energy is not solar, I think the later comparison is more valid. The numbers on annual energy use are interesting and informative, but I would like to focus on POWER because it is easier to compare to natural insolation and thermal radiation.

Right now calculations of human energy use is on average about 3kw per person. With a population of about 7 billion people, this is about 22eex12 Watts. Earth insolation is about 180eex15 Watts. Human energy use equals about 1/8,000 of natural insolation. Given the fact that the equilibrium temperature of the planet rises with the total energy input raised to the one-fourth power, the temperature increase resulting directly from human energy consumption is about 1/100 Kelvin. Given the fact that the greenhouse effect can not be ignored and I will not quibblee her about the invalid assumption that CO2 controls H2O concentrations, human energy use might be increasing the equilibrium temperature of the planet by about 1 Kelvin.

Now let us make some conservative projections of energy use per capita in the Honorverse.

One less than obvious projection is that agriculture will become extremely industrialized with most food grown indoors under artificial light. To achieve this you need to increase human energy use by about an order of magnitude to 30kw per person. This is equivalent to a modest automobile engine.

The next trend that will increase human energy use will be the transition to private aircars as the primary transportation. Honorverse seems to rely on countergravity technology rather than aerodynamic lift, but it still requires energy. Assume that private transportation on planet requires an increase in energy use to about 300kw. This is comparable to the output of a heavy truck engine.

In the Honorverse, a lot of people commute to jobs in space and they utilize products that are shipped to and from orbit. This takes energy. Earth orbital velocity is about 7,000 meters per second, but getting into orbit requires more energy because of aerodynamic drag, potential energy gain, and just fighting gravity while you accelerate, so total delta Vee is about 8,000 meters per second. Energy needed to reach orbit is about 32 MegaJoules per kilogram or about 3 GigaJoules per human carcass plus luggage. However; the spacecraft masses about ten times as much as the human plus luggage, so total energy is about 30 GigaJoules per passenger. Make one such trip per day and that is about another 350 kilowatts.

Add in air freight and orbital freight for consumer goods and our average Honorverse citizen has an energy budget of about One Megawatt. Multiply by several billion people and the energy budget is about 5eexp15 Watts. This is getting close to 1% of natural planetary insolation.


Honorverse technology seems to use some extremely energy intensive, brute force industrial processes. The orbital smelters probably use plasma separation rather than chemical processing. Increase that energy budget to ten megawatts per person. Total energy use is then 50eex15 Watts or nearly 10% of natural radiating capacity. Your planetary temperature increases by about 6 Kelvin. This is global warming!

There is also the possibility that Honorverse technology utilizes super heavy elements that are created by fusing heavy elements such as Uranium. Better increase that energy budget by yet another order of magnitude. Temperature increase is then about 50 Kelvin. Now you are broiling your planet.

We will ignore the energy budget of multimillion ton spaceships that accelerate to a very large fraction of the speed of light.
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Re: Why are Honorverse Heavy Industries off Planet?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:32 pm

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TFLYTSNBN wrote:Heat!

I offer this somewhat simplistic but informative article to make the point.

[snip]
There is also the possibility that Honorverse technology utilizes super heavy elements that are created by fusing heavy elements such as Uranium. Better increase that energy budget by yet another order of magnitude. Temperature increase is then about 50 Kelvin. Now you are broiling your planet.

We will ignore the energy budget of multimillion ton spaceships that accelerate to a very large fraction of the speed of light.


The spaceships don't count because they don't contribute heat to the planet, as they are already in space. Similar for the orbital smelters. Which is why those things should happen in space, where you can just radiate away instead of dumping said heat into your biosphere. I agree totally with you.

But in any case, interesting and intriguing post. And if you watch enough of Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur (which I do), you'll see he often claims the maximum population of planet, of a colony ship, etc. is limited by its ability to radiate heat. Unless there's some clarketech that allows us to dump it via a different mechanism, you have to limit your population's energy consumption or you have to limit your population.

The most likely culprit for us is the hyperspace. The same way that you can use a gravity sump to violate inertia and extract energy from a higher band, it should be possible to dump waste energy there. How? I don't have a clue. The First Law of Thermodynamics would indicate that energy flows from higher potentials to lower. If you can extract usable energy from hyperspace, then you shouldn't be able to dump waste energy there.

And if you can do that, then you basically have free energy. Why do ships need fusion reactors and hydrogen bunkerage?
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Re: Why are Honorverse Heavy Industries off Planet?
Post by cthia   » Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:01 pm

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I always thought industry is off planet because of what it's doing to our ecosphere now. Greenhouse effect. Pollution of air and rivers. Destruction of the water table. Safety concerns. Damage to the planet's foundation. Damage to oceans. Etc.

One of my friends hates what the many accidents of oil tankers have done to the quality of life in the oceans, and of human life consuming certain seafood tainted by various reasons traced back to these spills. Don't have to worry about oil spills in the Honorverse.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Why are Honorverse Heavy Industries off Planet?
Post by cthia   » Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:13 pm

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I would also imagine industry in space is both cheaper and, from a logistical standpoint, convenient.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Why are Honorverse Heavy Industries off Planet?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:00 pm

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cthia wrote:I would also imagine industry in space is both cheaper and, from a logistical standpoint, convenient.

Logistically in that it's got better access to the results of orbital mining, or extraction from gas giants. But worse access to planetside materials and people.

Honestly given how the towers are described, as almost being just immobile plascrete space-ships in terms of their environmental systems and ability to isolate themselves from the exterior environment, you could build a heavy manufacturing plant on a planetary surface, keeping the full environmental isolation you'd get from a space station, but getting default planetary gravity for free and have nearly as little environmental interaction - keeping closed loop environmental controls and zero waste placed into the environment. (Though it would be easier to move waste heat into the planetary environment that it would be to radiate it away while into space. which is a good thing until your industrial heat output grows large enough to affect the planetary temperature)

But some of the preference for orbital heavy industry is probably left over from when planetary industry wasn't so clean. (And when it wasn't easy to move mega-tons of material between surface and orbit).
Putting industry in space forces the factory to directly deal with anything that might otherwise pollute the environment - there's really no easy cheating. (Even if you kick it out the airlock you have to worry about it being in an orbit that'll interfere with your station or at least with other orbital traffic/facilities)
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Re: Why are Honorverse Heavy Industries off Planet?
Post by cthia   » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:31 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:
cthia wrote:I would also imagine industry in space is both cheaper and, from a logistical standpoint, convenient.

Logistically in that it's got better access to the results of orbital mining, or extraction from gas giants. But worse access to planetside materials and people.

Honestly given how the towers are described, as almost being just immobile plascrete space-ships in terms of their environmental systems and ability to isolate themselves from the exterior environment, you could build a heavy manufacturing plant on a planetary surface, keeping the full environmental isolation you'd get from a space station, but getting default planetary gravity for free and have nearly as little environmental interaction - keeping closed loop environmental controls and zero waste placed into the environment. (Though it would be easier to move waste heat into the planetary environment that it would be to radiate it away while into space. which is a good thing until your industrial heat output grows large enough to affect the planetary temperature)

But some of the preference for orbital heavy industry is probably left over from when planetary industry wasn't so clean. (And when it wasn't easy to move mega-tons of material between surface and orbit).
Putting industry in space forces the factory to directly deal with anything that might otherwise pollute the environment - there's really no easy cheating. (Even if you kick it out the airlock you have to worry about it being in an orbit that'll interfere with your station or at least with other orbital traffic/facilities)

Worse access to planet materials and people? Well, I stand corrected. It takes at least 1-3 days to ship something from any part of the country. Let's not even consider shipping time from London to America. I thought the Honorverse can beat those times easily, and people would be quickly available from anywhere on the planet. And if the industry is simply in orbit like Grayson's, no sweat at all.

The concern isn't simply the cleanliness of an operation and it's waste, but the effect caused to the planet, fauna and flora from huge projects like, say, a nuclear power plant causing sinkholes and other manmade disasters stemming from disturbing the structural integrity of the underlying rock.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Why are Honorverse Heavy Industries off Planet?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:57 pm

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cthia wrote:Worse access to planet materials and people? Well, I stand corrected. It takes at least 1-3 days to ship something from any part of the country. Let's not even consider shipping time from London to America. I thought the Honorverse can beat those times easily, and people would be quickly available from anywhere on the planet. And if the industry is simply in orbit like Grayson's, no sweat at all.

The concern isn't simply the cleanliness of an operation and it's waste, but the effect caused to the planet, fauna and flora from huge projects like, say, a nuclear power plant causing sinkholes and other manmade disasters stemming from disturbing the structural integrity of the underlying rock.

I do think, given Honorverse technology, that a station in orbit around a planet would have worse access to planetary resources than a planetside factory. Everything coming up to the station has to go by shuttle, and a countergrav shuttle than can take that payload from the surface to the orbital station can make a sub-orbital hop of that same cargo to any point on the planet in little to no more time.

Plus workers can access the factory from local area high-speed mass transit which would have much more frequent service than orbital shuttles. And the planet-side factory could be supplied by pipelines for liquid or gaseous goods - avoiding having to pump those into and out of cargo tanks in a shuttle.

Admittedly the efficiencies of being planetside when accessing planetary materials aren't that large. And for any given factory you'd need to look at what it might gain in slightly easier of access to planetary population and resources compared to what it might lose in marginally less easy access to orbital materials and shipping.

But countergrav shuttles and aircars make all the logistics much easier than today. You don't need a massive airport or starport, just a field large not much larger than the shuttle - since it can land vertically. And thanks to counter grav do so with a much lower noise signature or wind/thrust issues than a modern day helicopter (much less VTOL aircraft)
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Re: Why are Honorverse Heavy Industries off Planet?
Post by cthia   » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:24 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:
cthia wrote:Worse access to planet materials and people? Well, I stand corrected. It takes at least 1-3 days to ship something from any part of the country. Let's not even consider shipping time from London to America. I thought the Honorverse can beat those times easily, and people would be quickly available from anywhere on the planet. And if the industry is simply in orbit like Grayson's, no sweat at all.

The concern isn't simply the cleanliness of an operation and it's waste, but the effect caused to the planet, fauna and flora from huge projects like, say, a nuclear power plant causing sinkholes and other manmade disasters stemming from disturbing the structural integrity of the underlying rock.

I do think, given Honorverse technology, that a station in orbit around a planet would have worse access to planetary resources than a planetside factory. Everything coming up to the station has to go by shuttle, and a countergrav shuttle than can take that payload from the surface to the orbital station can make a sub-orbital hop of that same cargo to any point on the planet in little to no more time.

Plus workers can access the factory from local area high-speed mass transit which would have much more frequent service than orbital shuttles. And the planet-side factory could be supplied by pipelines for liquid or gaseous goods - avoiding having to pump those into and out of cargo tanks in a shuttle.

Admittedly the efficiencies of being planetside when accessing planetary materials aren't that large. And for any given factory you'd need to look at what it might gain in slightly easier of access to planetary population and resources compared to what it might lose in marginally less easy access to orbital materials and shipping.

But countergrav shuttles and aircars make all the logistics much easier than today. You don't need a massive airport or starport, just a field large not much larger than the shuttle - since it can land vertically. And thanks to counter grav do so with a much lower noise signature or wind/thrust issues than a modern day helicopter (much less VTOL aircraft)

The idiot in me was comparing it to present day shipping times which are vastly different.

However, I recall one way a company of mine solved the problem of access to materials was to build a warehouse and stock the goods. The problem with that is the size of the warehouse needed to make that work. Large storage facilities shouldn't be a problem in the Honorverse. Space is infinite, and cheap by the acre. In the Honorverse, it's...buy in bulk, stock in bulk, ship in bulk. So it doesn't matter if the warehouses themselves get the goods slower than would be on planet, as long as a widget is available when needed. Inventory control. But, if you need something you don't generally stock can be a problem. Although, shipping out of the system can expose the shipment to pirates or other disasters.

P.S. If you need something right away that's not in the warehouses, a Streak Boat can get it to you the day before yesterday. LOL

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Why are Honorverse Heavy Industries off Planet?
Post by cthia   » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:35 pm

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And you don't have to worry about zoning laws. Space is zoned for everything.

And you don't have to pay any state taxes.

Late edit: Heavy industry in the Honorverse are probably really huge operations. Huge operations are an eyesore and eat up lots of space in a city. Limited space in cities with billions of people is relieved by building tall high rises and stacking the population in "concrete bunk beds." Many business operations can't be stacked. Businesses need a certain layout to be efficient.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Why are Honorverse Heavy Industries off Planet?
Post by TFLYTSNBN   » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:44 pm

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Most raw materials in the Honorverse come from asteroid mining, comets, gas mining from Jovian planets. Given the technology, this should be orders of magnitude cheaper than surface mining. Orbital industries have far better access to raw materials.

As for waste products that you don't recycle, just flush them out the airlock as a gas or liquid and allow the solar wind to blow them away.

Fusion energy is great but it requires fuel and expensive machinery. A solar collector in space is just a frame with aluminum film.
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