Friday start to the weekend

If we are burning 3,000 quads a year, there’s no use asking for justice. We will need to beg for

2 responses to “Friday start to the weekend

  1. David Richardson

    I have just come to this blog from a pointer on the Bishop Hill blog in the UK (or is that just somewhere on the web these days?) and already there are some fascinating posts and comments. I hope and expect to gain a lot of insight into the topic – thank you for providing this forum.

    The topic is simply the most important to face us over the next century – How do we get our energy during the coming rise of the developing world? The other major question for countries like the UK is how it survives this rise.

    I note that the blog owner works for a solar energy company, this suggests a bias against fossil fuel use. I know you will tell me if I wrong!! I am not trying to insult you sir, nor am I suggesting an underhand motive – just making the point.

    Solar is not having a good time. AGW predictions are not coming true and in my IMHO probably never will. But surely the future direction of energy use will not be dictated by the UN – however much they try to drive their agenda, which as we see often has very little to do with science, and more about shifting wealth from richer countries ( hollow laughter) to poorer.

    Was it Niels Bohr or somebody else who said “prediction is difficult, especially about the future”?

    What I see as pertinent points –

    Rising living standards in the developing world will lead to lowering birth rates. It will still be a huge number. As someone once said – the human race doesn’t understand the exponential function.

    Current Bio-energy has been a disaster for the developing world, leading to deaths and reduction of rainforest – the law of unintended consequences rules. As prices of food stocks rose, because some idiot was burning it, the use of fossil fuels declined imperceptibly. It has been religious believe, based on little science, that has lead to this. It is akin to thinking that a Toyota Prius is a a green car and the UK burning imported bio-mass to meet its “renewables” obligations is helping anything at all. Too many people believe in fairy tales.

    Thee end of the current Interglacial is overdue (based on the last 1 million years anyway). A return to the conditions of the Little Ice Age of 300 years ago might have a profound effect on both population and energy use.

    BUT

    The world is awash with shale gas – it is going to be burnt (whether we like it or not) – it has halved the cost of gas in the USA in a few years. Who would have predicted that? Many power stations are being converted halving their carbon footprint as well as costs.

    The use of thorium based reactors will bring a much more “viable” future for nuclear.

    These two sources alone will be the main basis for electricity generation in the next half-century. It is no coincidence that China is heavily involved in both.

    The use of supercritical fluids (such as CO2) could raise the efficiency of available “work” in electricity generation, especially in the smaller developing countries.
    The development of microbial digesting of coal to produce gas may mean that burning coal may not be a disaster – you have to believe deeply in the CO2 scare (for which there is very little scientific evidence) to opine otherwise.

    We need to live in a world that we are not polluting, but the developed countries made their leap forward by driving energy use to higher energy density from wood to coal, to gas, to uranium, and many have warned already that we need to move to even greater energy density if the world is to prosper in the coming century – not the opposite direction.

    “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance” – Confucius

    I don’t expect I ever will!!

    • Hi Dave,

      You’ve brought up several of the points we’ll be discussing at length a bit early, but thanks for dropping by.

      I think one way of rephrasing what you’ve said is that Alt Energy 1.0 was quite buggy, but that’s no reason for panic–there are a variety of promising areas to explore. You’ve noted some, but there are others, ranging from ceramic superconductors for transporting electricity to space based solar generation. I don’t think we’ll run out of topics for discussion, so I hope you’ll come back for more.

      How would you rank V2 of alternative energy technologies and methods?

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