Sunday, June 24, 2007

Knowing what we Know

I'm stuck in a last minute MCE class. Here's another summer rerun.

One of the amazing things about the energy business is how many people

think they know something about it,

When, in fact, most really know nothing.

Last weekend, I was visiting with a professional and it happened again.

He had some solution to something or another.

I mean, it's like being a heart surgeon and having people come up

and say,

"You know, I've been thinking about that stent you guys use and

you know,
you should probably make it out of switch grass."

Practically everyone knows about energy.

And most of them know exactly nothing.

You have the Peak Oil guys who think we will be in the dark,

and that the world, as we know it, will end.

You have the guys who consistently confuse the use of hydrogen,

with hydrogen fuel cells.

They will say that hydrogen is 50 years out,

when hydrogen from water from wind power,

could be used in existing electrical generation and car engines


Some blithely repeat that it takes more energy to make hydrogen

than you get from it.

With that as a standard, we would not make electricity either.

The ratio for making hydrogen is 1.2 to 1.

The standard ratio for making electricity from fuel is 3 to 1.

You have people who say that nothing can replace oil,

but yet they know nothing about the new generation of ultra caps.

There are guys who think that gasoline cars with engines will always

be faster than electrics, but they don't understand electric torque.

You have people who want to continue our cars, our goofy work patterns,

and the ridiculous ways we eat and live and consume,

but they just want to use french fry oil to do it.

You have people who think that nuclear energy will save us,

but they have no idea how limited and finite nuclear fuel is.

You have people who want to grow corn to continue our madness,

when corn alcohol is really just a way to use sunlight, water, and land,

to convert natural gas and oil into another chemical.

Many of these know nothings don't know the difference

between power and energy.

Most can't convert a KWh to a BTU,

And most don't really understand that energy is everywhere.

Yet movie stars and singers,

politicians and entrepreneurs,

all jump in with their one cent.

Perhaps the biggest problem we have is focus. (or lack of)

So, here it is.

Humankind has two huge problems.

Climate Change and Peak Oil.

They are interrelated.

If we burn the remaining oil, (and coal)

we will cook ourselves from Climate Change.

If we move to Nuclear to avoid Climate Change,

we will waste precious time and resources and

leave a legacy of poisons,

that will be remembered and cursed for all time.

If we wage war to control the last half of the oil,

we will complete the World War trilogy,

and Einstein's comment will probably be true.

"The next war will be fought with sticks and stones. "

If we do nothing,

the doomsters will have their day.

So here it is again.

Humankind must invest heavily in wind

and simultaneously bring on line solar electricity

that can provide high energy ratios. (energy out/ energy in)

We abolish the use of coal.


The only ecconomic way to sequester carbon from coal

is to leave it in the ground.

We invest heavily in hydrogen electrolysis efficiencies,

so we can use lots of wind energy in our existing generation.

We develop the concept of the solid state utility,

and thus make use of the existent extra electric capacity in the system.

We make our vehicles capable of running on electricity and other fuels,

and create a new kind of all-electric vehicle with motors in the wheels,

and ultra caps embedded in the chassis.

The body of the car then plugs into the platform like a computer monitor.

We start building our settlements for people.

We start walking again.

We make our cities a patchwork of villages and gardens.


We create large earthfamilies.

These great international global cooperations will in time,

overtake the Wall Marts, and the General Electrics,

and corporate hegemony will be arrested,

And Democracy will return.

And sanity will emerge.

And We will go on.

Knowing what we know.


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Blogger Glycotech said...

A long time ago, back in the seventies, MIT determined that the greatest available alternative energy available to us is conservation.
Wonder why that is never in your mix??
IF the bathtub is missing its plug, replace that before you go get a new water heating system.

12:32 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

energy efficiency is always a given.

thanks for reminding me to make it clear.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I searched "energy efficiency" through a blog search of earthfamilyalpha and found 71 mentions of energy efficiency in the collected posts.

perhaps glyotech was just proving your point. SP

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one am happy to receive your re-runs.

There is so much info that is either new or just plain techy that it always feels new.

A re-run a week wouldn't be too much for me.

I know what a commitment it must be to create incredible body of work.


11:47 AM  

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