Monday, January 12, 2009

The Buggy Whip Trolls

If you happened to read the last post called Totally Stupid, you might have noticed a nuclear Troll named Red "something or another" who is on a personal campaign to right the world of all this antinuclear hysteria, such as cost overruns, nuclear terrorism, unsolved storage issues, and finite fuel issues.

These folks can't seem to imagine a new world of energy where photonic devices are printed on personal computers and utilities become energy managers of energy produced in a myriad of places and ways.

One of the keystones to their argument is that there is no storage on the horizon that can solve the intermittancy of renewables, and since coal is off the table for climate reasons, nuclear is the only answer to providing smooth base load power on which all power grids must build their generation portfolios upon. To heck with reframing the nomenclature and thus the thinking around it, they insist that base load plants are essential.

This is a little bit like insisting that aircraft carriers are essential to winning a navel battle on Lake Travis. The nuclear guys can't seem to get it into their heads that large base load plants are a liability for our new electric grids. Their non-intermittancy, their inability to be turned off when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing makes them less valueable to the utility of the future.

These nuclear heads assure anyone who will listen that there is no storage that works. They don't want to hear about how our utility makes chilled water during the night with our excess windpower, and how we sell it during the day to our downtown highrises. They won't listen to success stories such as our smart power partners program which gives us an extra 60 MWs on peak simply by managing our AC load with tens of thousands of micro brownouts that customers never even notice.

And they certainly can't seem to imagine a utility that has invested in large scale capacitance instead of large scale nuclear. It's a bit like getting a turn of the previous century buggy whip manufacturer to imagine an opportunity to get into the spark plug business... it just doesn't compute.

Meanwhile, as these nuke heads try to keep us in the nuclear horse and buggy days, all the while speaking authoritatively of things that aren't happening, the rest of the world is trying to make those things happen.

Here's an example:

Austin-Based Startup, Raises Seed Capital to Commercialize Graphene-Based Ultracapacitor Technology

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Graphene Energy Inc., an Austin based startup, today announced that it has successfully raised US$0.5 million seed investment from Quercus Trust and 21Ventures. It has also concluded licensing terms for Graphene-based Ultracapacitor Technology from The University of Texas at Austin and The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The company is now in the process of qualifying Graphene based Ultracapacitor electrodes, Graphene production processes, and performance for a variety of associated components.

“Graphene has superior electrical conductivity and surface area and these attributes suggest it could work exceptionally well in electrochemical double layer capacitance applications, also referred to as ‘supercapacitor’ or ‘ultracapacitor’ technology.

The structure of Graphene is fundamentally different than activated carbon, which is typically used in supercapacitors now. Our goals include obtaining significantly improved specific capacitance in Farads/gram, and improved energy density,” said Prof. Rod Ruoff, a Cockrell Family Regents Chair in the Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin.

“We are very excited to have this opportunity to commercialize the Graphene-based Ultracapacitor technology to address the ever growing needs for energy storage, in particular, in applications with the need for high power densities,”

So, as MIT, EESTOR, and a growing list of solid state storage companies get to work on solving our problems, the nuclear energy industry continues to put its trolls to work trying to make the problems we have today even worse.

I guess they have the right, and they'll probably keep making buggy whips.

And they can keep paying their Buggy Whip Trolls.

But nobody is going to buy them.

Because we won't need them.

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