Questions tagged [energy]

For questions about sources of power, generation, storage, how much is needed to perform different tasks, etc.

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2 votes
2 answers
86 views

Could this automaton be powered with low-tech means?

The automaton is a human-sized machine made primarily of wood, clay, cork, wax, and plant cord. It is designed to move around and use tools, and has roughly the same physical abilities as a human. It ...
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0 votes
2 answers
81 views

Is it possible to use energy from past trauma to be a payment for current spellwork [closed]

I've endured some pretty horrific things in my past. There's a lot of trauma and I don't know if I can say bad luck? It's possible but the circumstances were very unfortunate and definitely unfair. So ...
-1 votes
1 answer
60 views

Is a shapeshifter's transformation exothermic or endothermic?

I'll start by saying that whilst my scientific knowledge is pretty basic (if ever-increasing) it would be good to hear answers that can give a layman's summation as well as a more scientific ...
5 votes
4 answers
678 views

Is there a way to turn plants into energy without burning them?

I'm thinking of an energy source where you could put organic life forms in and get out energy that could power something (edit: something that can be transported in a small space; where you can put ...
4 votes
9 answers
2k views

Harvesting wind energy for vehicles

Theoretically, what would the possibilities/drawbacks be of harvesting wind energy created by the momentum of the vehicle to charge that vehicle's batteries? Imagine that the vehicle had a dual power ...
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Mirrors used for focusing sunlight in outer space - could they be automatically oriented towards the sun using sun sail rudder, like windmill rudder?

To be most effective, a windmill must face into the wind. Some windmills achieve this with a passive yaw system, where the wind automatically adjusts the direction the windmill is facing, often with ...
10 votes
9 answers
5k views

Could an alien civilization discover electricity before fire, if their planet lacked significant oxygen but did hold common storms?

Let’s say there was an early alien civilization, not yet advanced. They hail from a planet with little to no oxygen. If this planet had electrical storms relatively frequently, could they harness the ...
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9 votes
9 answers
4k views

How much energy would it take to keep a floating city aloft?

My fantasy novel features a floating city. I wanted to know how much energy (joules/second) it would take to keep a floating city aloft, but the definition of joules has "distance displaced" ...
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Would radioisotope thermoelectric generators be more effective on Titan than in space?

Since radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) operate by turning the flow of heat into electricity, and Titan's atmosphere can absorb heat faster through conduction than a vacuum through ...
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3 votes
2 answers
684 views

The "Exciting" Drilling company dug an underground canal connecting Death Valley to the Pacific. How much electricity can it generate on tidal forces?

Badwater Basin, part of Death Valley, is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level at its lowest point. The "Exciting" drilling company, based in Nevada (they are exciting and not at all like their b**...
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4 votes
5 answers
1k views

How much gasoline does there need to be to ignite and cause a fire in a small shed? [closed]

I'm trying to write a story where a gas leak causes an explosion. How much minimum gas would there need to be for a small shed/small room to ignite when a match is lit in there? The doors and windows ...
10 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is there a way to generate energy using a planet's angular momentum?

The most common answer is "tidal forces" "wind" since all of these are by-products of the planet's Coriolis force. Or there are rnd into generating energy from the earth's magnetic ...
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3 votes
1 answer
105 views

Hypothetical energy sources for a picotech utility fog civilzation?

Imagine an (ultra) high-tech civilization that has access to, say 1031 bits of unique usable data (Type Z on Sagan's "Information Mastery" scale), and is capable of harnessing and utilizing ...
0 votes
4 answers
199 views

What does a post-industrial world look like if there was no oil or gas, only coal?

What might the world look like if easily accessible oil and gas wasn’t available and coal was the only option? I’m trying to understand was a post-apocalyptic industrial society might look like (I’m ...
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

How would an element behave that's a plasma at room temperature?

I'm considering a world where there's an element that has an element that's naturally a plasma. I'm wondering what the broad behavior of such an element would be. Would it be inherently unstable, ...
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3 votes
1 answer
150 views

Can moon people generate electricity using a gravity dynamo that is turned by the gravity of their host planet?

On Earth, we generate electricity from the Moon's orbit using tidal turbines. Would it be possible for denizens of the Moon to generate electricity using the Earth's gravity, using a windmill-sized ...
5 votes
8 answers
658 views

How can farming be used to gain energy that powers a crystal?

This is for the video game I'm developing called Skullborn. In this game there are large crystals that have energy that the player can harness. Claiming a crystal is essentially how the player claims ...
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18 votes
13 answers
4k views

What would a spacefaring race use as fuel for their matter-to-energy reactors?

Imagine that we invent the technology to convert matter directly to energy, and capture most of the output for doing work. We can convert any matter to energy in this way, i.e. the matter does not ...
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3 votes
5 answers
319 views

Energy based economy

I am attempting to design an economy based around energy, namely, within a society possessing practical nuclear fusion. As I currently have it set up currency is backed by Hydrogen, meaning you could ...
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3 votes
1 answer
145 views

Does Catalyzing Quantum Tunneling Break the Universe?

Say that someone develops a technology that enables you to catalyze/accelerate quantum tunneling within the device, with the purpose of making the kind of quantum tunneling that enables hydrogen ...
0 votes
2 answers
222 views

How big would a gravity storage need to be for a city’s electric needs?

An alien planet with gravitational acceleration of 8.9m/s$^2$ backs up its wind power with gravity storage on a hillside. The hill grade is a steep 65% and the hill is 450m at the peak. Consumption ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What kinds of things that aren't fire (but are related to fire) could cause fire damage in a world where elemental magic exists? [closed]

This question arose in the comments of a question about dragons and sunlight (How do migratory dragons avoid being blinded by sun?). The question is, what exactly is it that causes fire damage (in the ...
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6 votes
6 answers
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Where could you store the energy from a tornado?

Assuming a very large device was constructed which could harvest up to 20% of the mechanical energy of a tornado. It is a mobile platform of some sort, and one or several of these are ready to deploy ...
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5 votes
1 answer
64 views

Best way to convert solar energy through a portal

Scientists have discovered a way to make wormhole-like portals. Here's how they work : Both sides have to be created in the same place, then moved to the desired location. The gates are created as a ...
3 votes
2 answers
184 views

Metabolic cost of changing the chirality of amino acids and sugars

The aliens in my story have biochemistry that uses amino acids and sugars with chirality opposite to that of terrestrial life. The aliens also have nanites that are capable of changing the chirality ...
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5 votes
2 answers
828 views

What can run the condensers on this Hell Train?

Hell turns out to be a real, physical place. It’s a physical planet. I have most of the science figured out for this literal hades, except the heat engines used in here need a cold sink—a strong one ...
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5 votes
5 answers
305 views

What would it have taken for the world to skip fossil fuels?

I'm looking for a plausible way that humanity could have discovered, developed and then adopted renewable energy + storage instead of fossil fuels as the catalyst for industrialisation. To be clear ...
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3 votes
2 answers
128 views

Would it be possible to produce energy using copper coils on the moon interacting with the Earth's magnetosphere?

How possible is it to turn the Magnetosphere and our moon into a generator? Lets say we have all the materials and labor needed to perform the construction and that we have the delivery method for ...
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9 votes
2 answers
944 views

What speed could a Nicoll-Dyson beam propel a solar sail ship to?

So far In my research I have not found any estimates for the speed that a solar sail spaceship could be propelled to using a Dyson beam. I have not decided what mass the ships will be that I want ...
9 votes
3 answers
311 views

Possible methods to convert gravitational waves into storable energy?

I had an idea for my story for an advanced civilization to capitalize on possibly the most energetic events in their universe which is the merger of supermassive blackholes. From current observations ...
3 votes
4 answers
161 views

What are reasonable units of energy measurement for my sci-fi RPG?

I am currently creating my own custom sci-fi tabletop RPG system. While I'm willing to make concessions where necessary, my goal is to use plausible physics whenever possible, at least when it comes ...
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5 votes
2 answers
94 views

Could electric grids of the past have handled significant quantities of variable energy sources like wind and solar?

Would the technology for electricity grid load balance in the 1930’s allowed for the significant use of decentralized variable energy sources like wind or solar. Setting aside the plausibility of ...
4 votes
4 answers
131 views

Energy generation via seismic activity

In my world, there are small, micro earthquakes that move through the landscape - the kind of thing that you can feel rumbling beneath your feet, but not much more severe - usually. In areas near ...
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11 votes
8 answers
5k views

How might nuclear power have never been developed?

I've been thinking about a world in which nuclear power and nuclear weapons were never developed. What kind of mechanism would allow this to be possible? Nuclear weapons seem the easiest option, with ...
3 votes
1 answer
129 views

Is using tennis racket effect on O'Neill cylinder to create day night cycle cost efficient?

Imagine a diameter 1000km long O'Neill cylinder orbiting a dwarf star, it acquires most of its energy from the star directly. This space station is designed for research purpose but it has a ...
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2 votes
3 answers
173 views

What are the chances of finding uranium-238 ores on other planets?

I was thinking about aliens and space colonization and what the probability is of uranium ores being found on other planets. Would they be common? rare? medium? who knows? the cosmic abundance of ...
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6 votes
6 answers
2k views

Can mirrors on the moon allow solar panels to operate at night?

Solar panels cannot operate at night. If we put self-adjusting mirrors on the near side of the moon, they could reflect sunlight back to the dark Earth, allowing solar panels to operate at night. How ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
160 views

Where does mana come from? [closed]

I’m slowly developing a magic system loosely based on how magic is usually seen to appear in most fantasies, but with consistent rules. So far I’ve decided that mana exists in the world alongside ...
5 votes
1 answer
80 views

Could this Asp-Turtle keep itself satiated?

The asp-turtle is a truly huge reptilian whale Its dimensions are 40m across and 200m long. To achieve this, its bones and tissues are very strong, strong enough to allow it to swim like a smaller ...
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6 votes
1 answer
254 views

Consequences of having a device that can transform heat back to stored energy in a limited way? [closed]

My setting uses reactors that work on a fictional gas-like inert substance that can safely store an impossibly high amount of energy in itself (breaking the e=mc^2 equation and causing Einstein to ...
3 votes
1 answer
161 views

Throttling a black hole engine?

So, building artificial black holes is Really Hard. And when they get too small, they go out in a Really Big Dangerous Bang. Thus, if you manage to build, e.g., a kugelblitz factory that produces mini-...
6 votes
4 answers
225 views

Can an average person's (2021 Earth) lifestyle requirements be satisfied with excess energy?

Assume we have a Dyson Sphere, ready to rumble. Also Assume that knowledge bearing robots are plentiful as well (apart from energy) who can do any task (from 3d printing a laptop to creating a house ...
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2 votes
0 answers
77 views

How fast can an alien laser cannon be charged with a magnetic field?

I have some alien laser cannons that I pulled out of a perpetual hurricane. They're cylinders that are two feet long and one foot across. They can only be charged by magnetodynamic coupling - that is, ...
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0 votes
1 answer
184 views

How would a 21st-century war play out if every country had these alien directed-energy weapons?

Before we get into the gigantic wall of text, here's the question: what applications would the following device have in a 21st-century war - asymmetric, conventional, nuclear, etc. - if every country ...
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9 votes
9 answers
2k views

Could a non-nuclear sub power itself by ocean energy?

The sub would be about the size of: the Sōryū class, which displaces 4200 tonnes (implying about 4200m³ volume) and has a 6000kW propulsion system the Oyashio class, which displaces 4000 tonnes (...
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6 votes
4 answers
295 views

Are low-energy submarines possible?

I'm envisioning submarines just cruising around doing normal things, taking the role of cars, trucks, RVs. I'm trying to estimate how much energy they would need. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
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2 votes
1 answer
247 views

How efficient would it be for a magic system to be based on absorption of nearby kinetic energy?

The System in General So, the magic system involves mages being able to create semi-tangible, rope-like energy structures. I'm not gonna go into too much detail on it since this isn't the point of ...
4 votes
4 answers
153 views

How would draw weight, range, and power of a bow be affected by a magic bowstring?

So in my world, there are magical artifacts and weaponry. One of which is the bow. It's bent like a strung bow, but without a string. And when you grab where the string would be and pull back an ...
4 votes
1 answer
162 views

Thermal power sources - future tech alternative to steam

Nuclear power is perhaps the most "sci fi" source of electricity we have in our world today, and yet in the end the process still comes down to using steam power to drive a dynamo. It's ...
2 votes
3 answers
372 views

Can unlimited kinetic energy be stored in superfluid helium?

Liquid helium can be in a state of superfluidity — meaning it can flow with zero internal friction. Let's assume that for whatever reason that this form of helium is present in large amounts. Could ...

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