How Firm A Foundation – Snippet 18

How Firm A Foundation – Snippet 18

Locating it inside the pipe, however, allowed the “turbine” to use the full force of all the water rushing through the pipe under all that pressure. Not only that, but the accumulator’s design meant the pressure reaching the turbine was constant. And while it took a half dozen conventional waterwheels just to pump enough water to keep each accumulator supplied, the outflow from the turbine was routed back to the holding ponds supplying and driving the waterwheels, which allowed much of it to be recirculated and reused. Now if Howsmyn’s plans to pump water from the lake proved workable (as most of his plans seemed to do), his supply of water — and power — would be assured effectively year-round.

He’s got his canals completed now, too, the priest reflected. Now that he can barge iron ore and coal directly all the way from his mines up in the Hanth Mountains he can actually use all of that power. Archangels only know what that’s going to mean for his productivity!

It was a sobering thought, and the fresh increases in Delthak’s output were undoubtedly going to make Ehdwyrd Howsmyn even wealthier. More importantly, they were going to be crucial to the Empire of Charis’ ability to survive under the relentless onslaught of the Church of God Awaiting.

No, not the Church, Paityr, Wylsynn reminded himself yet again. It’s the Group of Four, that murderous bastard Clyntahn and the rest. They’re the ones trying to destroy Charis and anyone else who dares to challenge their perversion of everything Mother Church is supposed to stand for!

It was true. He knew it was true. And yet it was growing harder for him to make that separation as he watched everyone in the Church’s hierarchy meekly bend the knee to the Group of Four, accepting Clyntahn’s atrocities, his twisting of everything the Office of Inquisition was supposed to be and stand for. It was easy enough to understand the fear behind that acceptance. What had happened to his own father, his uncle, and their friends among the vicarate who’d dared to reject Clyntahn’s obscene version of Mother Church was a terrible warning of what would happen to anyone foolish enough to oppose him now.

Yet how had he ever come to hold the Grand Inquisitor’s office in the first place? How could Mother Church have been so blind, so foolish — so stupid and lost to her responsibility to God Himself — as to entrust Zhaspahr Clyntahn with that position? And where had the other vicars been when Clyntahn had Samyl and Hauwerd Wylsynn and the other members of their circle of reformers slaughtered? When he’d applied the Punishment of Schueler to vicars of Mother Church not for any error of doctrine, not any act of heresy, but for having the audacity to oppose him? None of the other vicars could have believed the Inquisition’s preposterous allegations against their Reformist fellows, yet not one voice had been raised in protest. Not one, when Langhorne himself had charged Mother Church’s priests to die for what they knew was true and right if that proved necessary.

He closed his eyes, listening to the shriek of the blast furnaces, feeling the disciplined energy and power pulsing around him, gathering itself to resist Clyntahn and the other men in far distant Zion who supported him, and felt the doubt gnawing at his certainty once again. Not at his faith in God. Nothing could ever touch that, he thought. But his faith in Mother Church. His faith in Mother Church’s fitness as the guardian of God’s plan and message to His children.

There were men fighting to resist the Group of Four’s corruption, yet they’d been forced to do it outside Mother Church — in despite of Mother Church — and in the process they were taking God’s message into other waters, subtly reshaping its direction and scope. Were they right to do that? Wylsynn’s own heart cried out to move in the same directions, to broaden the scope of God’s love in the same ways, but was he right to do that? Or had they all fallen prey to Shan-wei? Was the Mother of Deception using the Reformists’ own better natures, their own yearning to understand God, to lead them into opposition to God? Into believing God must be wise enough to think the same way they did rather than accepting that no mortal mind was great enough to grasp the mind of God? That it was not their job to lecture God but rather to hear His voice and obey it, whether or not it accorded with their own desires and prejudices? Their own limited understanding of all He saw and had ordained?

And how much of his own yearning to embrace that reshaped direction stemmed from his own searing anger? From the rage he couldn’t suppress, however hard he tried, when he thought about Clyntahn and the mockery he’d made of the Inquisition? From his fury at the vicars who’d stood idly by and watched it happen? Who even now acquiesced by their silence in every atrocity Clyntahn proclaimed in the name of his own twisted image of Mother Church, the Archangels, and God Himself?

And, terribly though it frightened and shamed him to ask the question, or even dare to admit he could feel such things, how much of it stemmed from his anger at God Himself, and at His Archangels, for letting this happen? If Shan-wei could seduce men through the goodness of their hearts, by subtly twisting their faith and their love for their fellow men and women, how much more easily might she seduce them through the dark poison of anger? And where might anger such as his all too easily lead?

I know where my heart lies, where my own faith lives, Paityr Wylsynn thought. Even if I wished to pretend I didn’t, that I weren’t so strongly drawn to the Church of Charis’ message, there’d be no point trying. The truth is the truth, however men might try to change it, but have I become part of the Darkness in my drive to serve the Light? And how does any man try — what right does he have to try — to be one of God’s priests when he can’t even know what the truth in his own heart is . . . or whether it springs from Light or Darkness?

He opened his eyes once more, looking out over the fiery vista of Ehdwyrd Howsmyn’s enormous foundry complex, and worried.

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25 Responses to How Firm A Foundation – Snippet 18

  1. KenJ says:

    And we are introduced to the next main thread of this book: Paityr’s spiritual journey through doubt, crushing revelations about the truth regarding the Archangels and Creation to maybe eventually becoming the 2nd official head of the Church of Charis after Archbishop Michael takes one risk too many….

  2. Nimitz13 says:

    For all the warnings we’ve been given that Paityr Wylsynn isn’t going to rubber-stamp the steam engine, it’s getting awfully hard to believe he won’t stretch the proscriptions as far as he can – or perhaps beyond that in his current mindset. Which would hurt Charis in the long run if the COGA didn’t accept his rulings just to keep up in the arms race. Can’t have Charis using Shan-Wei’s weapons against the pious nations that accept the COGA in its corrupt form!

  3. Randy says:

    Perhaps the G4 has more to fear what is under the temple than Merlin. I wonder how an awakened archangel (i.e. true believer) would react to all that the G4 has wrought. Cleanse the temple with wrath of GOD or the raketure?

  4. Mike says:

    Wait a minute. How can the same waterwheels that feed the turbine also be fed by the turbine? That sounds like a Second Law violation happening somewhere.

  5. Bret Hooper says:

    Could it be that Ehdwyrd is actually Ehdwyrd Howsmyn’s middle name, and that his first name is Ahlphred?

  6. dancingShadow says:

    No, its no Perpetuum Mobile.

    You use 5 units of water to pump 1 unit of water up into the accumulator. When you let the water from the accumulator flow back in front of the waterweels, you a 20% raise out of if.

  7. Drak Bibliophile says:

    KenJ, IMO Father Paityr Wylsynn won’t be the next head of the Church of Charis.

    Now Bishop/Archbishop Paityr Wylsynn might be. [Wink]

  8. RobertHuntingdon says:

    @Drak. That might take a few decades for him to make Bishop tho. Especially as he’s doing such a good job at Intendant. If he makes himself too irreplaceable in that job he may have a hard time getting a promotion. Then again, there is probably at least a fair bit of time, what with the special robes Merlin made for Maikel, he might have those decades to win the promotions he needs…

    @4 — You misread. The water outflow is ducted back up to the holding ponds where it feeds back into the accumulators. This is true. But that’s simply water recycling. No violation of the laws of physics or whatever. Because the power of the turbines has NOTHING to do with refilling the accumulators. Once the water is out of the pipe, it flows back into the source pond, where it — combined with MORE energy input from gravity — helps provide the motive power to pump SOME water back into the accumulator.

    It’s not perpetual motion. It’s reduction of waste by recycling as much as you can, but it still has a significant degree of inefficiency. If it didn’t, they wouldn’t talk in the very next sentence about plans to pump additional water from the lake. The means of supplying that pump power isn’t specifically mentioned, but that’s because it was explicitly explained in the previous snippet (approx 10 paragraphs up) as being wind power from windmills.

  9. robert says:

    @4 It is the same principle as the system used to bring water from northern California to the south. In the southernmost part of the Central Valley the water is pumped up the Tehachapi Mountains where it flows into a series of man-made lakes. As the water flows out of the lakes, back down towards Los Angeles, the energy is captured by turbines (or as one book has it, the kilowatts are taken out of the water). There is a loss, a big loss, in net energy, but not nearly as much as if the, er, kilowatts were left in the water. It is an elegant system in many ways.

  10. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Correct, Robert H.

    One of the reasons that I mentioned that about Father Paityr is that David Weber has been reported as saying that Archbishop Maikel won’t live to see the fall of the Church of Safehold and Paityr Wylsynn may replace him as head of the Church of Charis.

    Of course, saying Archbishop Maikel won’t live to see the fall of the Church of Safehold can be taken several ways including that Archbishop Maikel dies of old age before the fall. [Wink]

    While I think Paityr Wylsynn could be a good head of the Church of Charis, I also think that he wouldn’t be chosen at this time.

  11. Nimitz13 says:

    Since the Church of Charis needs to win hearts with love and gentleness, which is what Archbishop Maikel is so good at, having Paityr Wylsynn succeed him anytime soon would be a mistake, since he seems to want to incinerate the temple and the entire inquisition with it! And I REALLY hope Maikel isn’t the character the MWW does “something really nasty to.”

    Besides, we need Paityr’s anger to get STEAM past him. Sadly I believe Drak said that wasn’t going to be the slam-dunk we thought it was, but the way Paityr is thinking now… who knows?

    As for whether he becomes a member of the inner circle, before the murders of his father and uncle, I’d have said “no way!” since he was one of those men whose faith defined him. But with the massive crisis of faith he’s going through a bit of encouragement might make him welcome the truth, although the lie the church is based on would further infuriate him.

    For now they need him running the patent office in accordance with the proscriptions, and knowing the truth would make that very difficult for him. Later – I’d say he’s a shoo-in for the inner circle.

    As for the key – he has a DEATH sentence on his head if he goes to Zion, so someone else would have to take it there to use it. And we STILL have no idea what it does.

  12. Brom says:

    Did anyone else have the thought that Father Paityr might have been channeling just a bit of Nick Seafort during his soliloquy?

  13. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Since Father Paityr wouldn’t know who Nick Seafort was, no. [Wink]

    Don’t worry about it though.

    Part of Nick’s problem was he didn’t have anybody he would “talk with about his problems” (or at least trust well enough to talk with).

    Paityr has people he can (and will) talk to about this problem.

  14. Mike says:

    I still would need to see a diagram. The potential energy of the water depends upon its height.

    Once you drop the water from the tank down to the turbine, that’s it. You have used that energy. To get it back up to the tank again takes new energy. Sure, you can use the same water, but you can’t just run that turbine water back to the holding ponds that supply the energy to pump the water into the tank! The only way that could happen is if more energy is added to the water from somewhere.

    The holding ponds have to be higher than the water wheels if you are to get any energy from the wheels. But the holding ponds have to be lower than the turbine if the turbine outflow is feeding them. So the waterwheels have to be quite a bit lower than the turbine. The water wheels can not even pump water as high as their own holding ponds, much less as high as the tank.

    The only way this could work is if a there is more energy from outside this system which is not described in the passage.

    I do see the point that @6 is trying to make, that if a lot more water is coming from somewhere else then that could supply the extra needed energy. But in that case I sure don’t see how this is “elegant” or how it saves water. The only reason to do this would be that you have a LOT of water at low head, and you are trying to convert it to be a little bit of water at high head. But that’s actually quite wasteful of the water. The passage implies that he thinks he is conserving water.

  15. Mike says:

    @8) I didn’t misread. It says the turbine outflow is feeding the holding ponds *for the waterwheels*, not the holding ponds for the accumulator.

    The only way I could see it working at all like it is described is if for some reason you HAD to have the turbine higher than the waterwheel. If you did, then yeah, you might as well run the outflow water through the wheel after you are done with it. But that is pretty far from “elegant.” In fact, it’s a really blunt brute force approach which would require a massive amount of water power that is lost just getting the water back up to turbine elevation, much less feeding the tank above the turbine.

    Elegant would be to get the turbine at as low of an elevation as possible, so that the waterwheels raise their source water as little as possible. Whenever they raise any water anywhere in the system they are losing energy.

    @9) Yeah, I get salvaging what you can if you HAVE to raise the water elevation in the first place. But a really elegant solution is to not raise the water at all. There is some mention in the previous snippet about rejecting the idea of building the aquaduct which would keep the water at the needed height. So apparently this is a cost trade between an aquaduct and many dozens of waterwheels. That’s fine, that’s engineering. But it certainly does not indicate that they are saving water! Quite the opposite.

  16. PeterZ says:

    @14 Mike, you have described the process well enough, now think it through. Water wheel is turned by 5 parts water for each part that it pumps to the accumulator. The accumulator and turbine is above the original holding pond. Water flowing through the accumulator is under far more preassure than that flowing through the holding pond and more of that energy is captured in the turbines within the accumulator’s exit pipe. This efficiency captures more energy from the 20% sent to the accumulators than the traditional and less efficient water wheels could capture from their 100%. Raising the water adds no more energy, but is does allow for the more efficient use of the energy contained in that water. If the energy gain through that efficiency is greater than that used to raise the water, then the system is elegant.

    Now let’s look at recycling. The 20% sent up to the accumulators will go back and 4% will retun to the accumulator for a second run and 0.8% will retun for a third cycle. This continues until the system is shut down, effectively adding 26% to the capacity of the holding pond. All this does require that the river contionues to flow, because without the river there is now power to fill the accumulators.

    Now if they could dam the river and funnel the dam’s water through turbines, the efficiency will increase even more.

  17. Mike says:

    @16) Let’s assume the waterwheel is 10% efficient and the turbine is 90% efficient. You need 100 watts of power from the turbine. That means you need 111 watts worth of potential energy in the accumulator. so you need 1110 watts of energy in the water that goes past the waterwheel — and that assumes perfect efficiency in the pumps.

    Now if the pumps are 50% efficient, suddenly you need 2220 watts of energy in the water going past the waterwheel.

    This is why you want to minimize the amount of pumping you do. That’s why you want to have the water source for the accumulator start out as high (relative to the turbine) as possible. So you want the turbine to be as low as possible. So your overall system efficiency will be best if the turbine is below the waterwheels, not above them.

    If you absolutely have to have the turbine above them for some other reason, then yeah, OK, run the turbine outflow water through them. But this is not “elegant” and it certainly does not conserve as much of your waterpower as possible. Getting your turbines as low as you can would be the more elegant solution which would conserve the available waterpower.

  18. The water starts at some height. It has available potential energy P. It is run through waterwheels, and some of the energy is lost. Then the waterwheels are used to drive pumps, and more of that original energy is lost. Then the energy, now stored in the accumulator potential energy, is dropped through the turbine, and still more of the energy is lost. Only the remaining bit of energy does useful work.

    “By lost” I mean turned to heat, and no longer available for work.

    Where the water went does not matter to this question.

    Now, if you were short of water, you might use windmills to charge the accumulators, reusing the same water. That would make sense.

    The accumulator can give you a higher peak power.

    And, yes, I did once upon a time teach thermodynamics to undergraduate engineers.

  19. Mike says:

    George, I completely agree with you. I’m just saying that the way to minimize the loss of power is to, as much as possible, avoid all that waterwheel pumping in the first place. Or at least to avoid as much of it as possible. So place the turbines as low as you can, so you pump the water as little as you have to.

    This bit in the passage about how wonderfully efficient it is to place the turbine high enough so that its outflow can still power the waterwheels is all wrong.

  20. Mike says:

    In fact, why do any of this? If you have all that power from the waterwheels, why not just use it directly instead of taking the losses in the pumps and the turbine?

    The only reason would be because you want the power when you need it, not when the waterwheels can provide it. Thus, the turbine is really an energy storage mechanism. None of this has anything to do with getting more efficiency from the original power source (the waterwheels). It has to do with storing that energy and using it on demand.

  21. Mike says:

    So … to recap. The accumulator does just that. It accumulates a lot of energy that is supplied at low power levels over a long period of time and by many watermills, and it uses that energy up quickly at high power levels. OK, fine. Good solution.

    But I still point out that the most elegant and least wasteful location for the turbine is as low as possible in the system, not so high up that it can feed water into the watermill holding ponds.

  22. KenJ says:

    The other aspect of this system that you need to keep in mind is that it is intended to be CONSTANT/CONSISTENT. That is: It provides power at a steady release rather than in surges. This would be important if you need to keep things at, say, a constant temperature. Just thinking/reading.

  23. Willem Meijer says:

    I wonder what other users of the river think of these mills, ponds and the like. The shipping trade and the fishermen generally dislike dams and other obstacles. Or is this such wild country that no one used the river?

  24. FriarBob says:

    Actually, the accumulator is not JUST a storage mechanism. Oh it’s a large part of it, but it’s also got another function. By running it through this system, they can even out the “power surges” from the rise and fall of the available river water. If they lack enough water supply in the river to run all nine accumulators, they just run 7 or 8 instead. (At least until they get the windmill pumps working, then they can harness wind power into the equation and get back to running all 9 again.)

    If you think about it, the power supply to the blowers (and whatever else) is actually pretty important at high-temperature smelting. They need to have steady supply of this power or whatever they are working on has a high risk of being ruined. By storing potential power in the accumulator, if the water supply in the river suddenly becomes less-than-adequate to their needs, they still have at least a small period of time (maybe an hour?) in which they can finish up the task they were working on and avoid wasting the ore (or at least time needed for cooling to transfer to a different furnace and then re-heating to resume the work).

    In fact, I think the “brownout” reduction is the PRIMARY purpose of this design. Creating a steady power supply is a good thing in it’s own right, but it also makes steam even more useful later, because they are now used to the idea of a steady supply of power. From that perspective, this is probably a very deliberate effort towards “change beget[ting] change”.

  25. Lynn says:

    @Mike, you are assuming that the water outflor is perhaps in an open channel and being moved solely by gravity to get back to the holding ponds; what if you pictured instead that the same pipe just curved back up? It would be like a hose with a curve in it, the water pressure would be all that’s needed to drive the water back to a higher position. How much (if any) efficiency this would take from the turbine I’m not sure, but it seems a better solution than positing a higher turbine.

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