A recent story Wired This gives us a particularly frightening reason to create our own electricity at home: the crown mass discharge (CME).
What is CME?
They start using the analogy of a nightclub to explain that there is a lot in the sun. As everything moves inside, it can take 100,000 years or more for a photon to move from the nucleus formed by the synthesis reactions to the edge of the sun and into space. So much is happening in the sun that going through the crowd takes away what people think is eternal.
However, leaving the club and entering a cool, fresh night in space is not always a very regular process. Sometimes you go out alone and everything is fine. At other times, there is a rush for performances, and a lot of energy pushes the “door” at once. When it comes to the sun, where there are no clubs and nights, the cause of the confusion is not as dense as the tangled magnetic fields. When things are messy enough, a bunch of charged particles can scream from the sun.
Often, when a gun-like explosion occurs, the third rock from the sun, which we call home, is not on the road. People who study the sun will be in a hurry, but no one will feel it. But when it is directed to the Earth, things can get worse quickly.
If we are lucky, the polarity of a magnetic hurricane is the same as the electromagnetic field of our planet. In this case, the particles fly safely into space because the planet’s natural force field pushes them away. However, when the poles are opposite, the particles are absorbed by one another like a magnet and hit the planet.
What happens when the earth hits?
We have experienced this several times on Earth.
The most famous example is the 1859 Carrington Incident. I wrote about it CleanTechnica before, but I will conclude here. The storm was so severe that, as always, the auroras were not visible only near the poles. People as far away as the equator could see the sky at night. While people working in the mines of western America got up and started making breakfast, thinking that the sun was preparing for sunrise (and probably wondering why they were so tired), people in the city could read a newspaper in the floodlight. ).
Beauty and confusion were not everything telegraph operators experienced. The long, long wires from the telegraph station to the telegraph station were long enough to store the energy of the solar storm. Some telegraph operators were shocked by the current from the wire, which is believed to be dead. Others were able to send and receive messages without powering their equipment, because there were already enough on the lines, and then there were some. Several fires also occurred as a result of faults in electrical wiring.
As we know, no one died, but since 1859 the world has changed a lot. When weaker storms came in the following years, they destroyed power grids, another invention that used long, long wires. Sometimes the energy comes out of the ground, it involves long wires, but in the process you can fry expensive and difficult power transformers. Anything connected to the network can heat up.
In some ways, such an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is not as bad as it appears in Hollywood and books. When there is such energy in the air, whether from bad cosmic air or man-made causes, such as a high-altitude nuclear explosion, the TV will convince you that no electronics survive. The truth is that many will survive, but there will be no electricity to provide them. For example, 90% of cars will still work, and most of the remaining 10% could be repaired by removing the batteries a little, but if there is no electricity, where will gas-powered cars get fuel?
The problem is that it can last for months, maybe years. When expensive and difficult-to-replace transformers heat up, it will normally take months or years to replace them. What if everyone needs them at once? This will be a longer delay. Until the situation is resolved, many countries will be without electricity.
There are solutions, but electricity utilities are behind the eight balls. In the worst case, with just hours of warning, or at best, warning days, unplugging everything to keep it from breaking would be a daunting task that simply can’t be done on time. Instead, we should do what Quebec’s electrical services did after a bad solar storm: add capacitors to the transformers. Capacitors not only rectify the spikes, but also completely block the direct current (DC) power caused by such an event.
However, it seems difficult for utilities (especially in the United States) to add this important equipment to the network.
What can I do to protect my family?
There are several approaches and they will vary depending on your budget and whether or not you own your home.
If you don’t have a lot of money and / or don’t own your own home, you may want to keep this cheap and portable solution. We looked at various solar generators or kits with solar panels, batteries, and converters built to power normal electronics using solar energy. These can be as cheap as $ 200-300, but they won’t do much more than charge mobile phones and computers. Or, they can cost several thousand dollars and can power almost anything. They can be found at affordable prices for most budgets.
The most extreme set I’ve tested is the Jackery’s Explorer 2000 Pro with six Solar Saga 200-watt portable panels. It’s not cheap, but it will turn on many appliances and even help you cook without fuel (there is currently no link to the review, as the review is underway). It can not only operate any 120-volt appliance, but can also add a few miles to the EV if needed in an emergency.
I found that even with 200-watt solar panels and a relatively small battery, it is possible to use a portable refrigerator to keep not only food but also vital medicines cold. You will need to save money and / or stock up on medications that require a consistent early recharge, but even diabetics can survive such a long power outage.
If you own or finance your own home, or have money to spend, turn on a built-in solar + storage system. it must be resistant to AMIP itself, but with these two things, the system can survive a solar storm or other AMIP event and provide energy to a family. You will need to contact a specialist about these options and don’t let them deter you from getting the good parts.
Whatever you do, do not try to rely on a gas or diesel generator for such an emergency. No one can store enough fuel or be sure that the generator will run for months at a time.
In a sense, electricity would be one of your smaller concerns in such a scenario, but things like food storage, water supply, and defense are out of the question. CleanTechnica. For each of these, you should try to make a reasonable plan for your family.
Image selected by NASA (Public Domain).
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