Ruminations of a Rundown Replicant

Renewables

This video, The Most Important 2000 Years of Energy History is worth watching. In particular, it explains the important concept of Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI).

I've been quiet about renewables but I'm getting there. I've been trying to deal with the elephant in the room and, I'm sorry, but renewables are a distraction for the masses and a source of profits for business.

The general consensus seems to be that non-dense clean renewables are set to rescue us. Accordingly, dense fuels, such as fossil and nuclear, should be consigned to the scrapheap, asap. They're dirty, dangerous and increasingly expensive.

How much of that make sense?

The dirty fossil fuel burn is coming to an end. You didn't get the memo? Geoscientist M. King Hubbert wrote about it in 1956. Were you born then?

Nothing can be done about the impending energy crisis. Your days will soon be spent digging up potatoes. We're not exactly sure when, but a war in the Middle East would make it instant, and forever.

When fossils disappear, so will low EROEI renewables. Solar and wind on a large scale make intermittent electricity. At an additional energy investment, they're attached with difficulty to a constant voltage grid. They can't make themselves or the grid. Fossils are needed for that.

The laws of physics prevent improvements in battery density which would counter the intermittency. There will never be a class 8 electric truck, and we know what happens when diesel trucks stop[1].

More potatoes anyone?

We might have a slim chance with nuclear because the fuel is dense and potentially, affordable and safe. But nuclear plants can't make themselves. They only produce electricity.

Someone has to reserve sufficient fossil fuel and associated infrastructure to not only manufacture fusion plants, but rapidly scale them up to maintain living standards. Are we going to reserve fossil fuel for food or electricity?

This is a fairy tale in Oz. We can't make a car let alone a fusion plant.

The world stuffed up first gen nuclear so I'm still thinking spuds.

When fossils disappear, so will industrial food production (See below). If the sun's energy, and say 5 acres of good land feeds one person, how many acres does 600 high rise, 1 million+ cities need to feed their populations? None of them own any agricultural land.

This time I'm thinking less potatoes because they'll be fewer billions of us to feed.

Enjoy your day.


[1] Alice Friedemann

There are “forms of transport that cannot be electrified — heavy-duty trucks and planes... Even if the electricity problem can be solved, it won’t address the needs of planes, trucks, ships and some industrial heating that cannot be electrified”.

The heavy-duty trucks that do the essential work of civilisation, such as agricultural tractors and harvesters, Class 7 and 8 long-distance freight trucks, the trucks used in mining, logging, and so on are too big and heavy to run on batteries.

The battery packs or fuel cells would take up so much space there would be little, if any, room for cargo. The batteries are so heavy that the truck would barely move, and it might take a day or more to charge the battery. Tractors and other off- road vehicles would be stranded if they ran out of power, and likely to be far from a power outlet.

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