LENR vs Solar/Wind, and emerging Green Technologies.

  • We tend to think that goods and services on the scale of a human body can only be provided by machines the size of us. Or larger. That has been the case up to now, because machines were operated by people. We cannot manipulate tiny machines. And because power supplies and robotic controls were large. This may not be the case in the future, especially with cold fusion.

    In suburban Atlanta, when you want to remove a large tree, they send men with chainsaws and a giant, noisy machine the grinds branches into wood chips. They sometimes send a bulldozer machine with giant claws. Everything is big. So, do you need big, heavy equipment to grind a tree into sawdust? Nope. Thousands of trees every day are ground up by tiny machines: ants. In the future, when cold fusion power supplies can run a machine continuously for years, we may have robotic tree-removal ants. Millions of them will be dispatched from the tree service building. They will fly to your house, swarm over the tree, and take itty-bitty bites out of it, starting at the top. Each one will fill up a small container, like a stomach, and fly back to the tree service building. A continuous stream of them will keep working until there is nothing left of the tree.

    Ants work from the base of the tree, making it fall over after a while. Robotic ants will work from the top. They will be supervised by a person or by a larger, much smarter robot that understands physics, the center of gravity, and which leaves and branches should be disintegrated first to prevent the tree from falling onto your house.

    Many other tasks might be done with large numbers of small machines, such as building roads, or recycling landfill garbage that has been in the ground for a century.

  • My annoyance is with people who quote statistics about how little the global share of energy use comes from solar and wind as evidence that they cannot end up with a huge share. They already are a huge share in a growing number of places

    Such people also lack the perspective of history. Wind turbines in the U.S. now produce roughly as much electricity as the entire country consumed in 1955: 250 billion KWh. That was enough to power the whole country through WWII, which was a gigantic industrial enterprise.

    If history were a little different, and we had started to develop large wind turbines in 1900, probably in 1955 nearly all electricity in the middle of the continent would come from them. A proposal to start building coal plants instead would be met with derision. People would say: "Why would you want to build such expensive plants?? Do you want to pay more for electricity?" People would say the same things they said when steamships began to replace sailing ships, that I quoted the other day:

    "There is a quiet exultation after all, in bounding over the heaving blue wave-backs, with no impelling power, but the swift breath of the god of winds, which steam-driven decks can never give. It is taking nature in the fulness of her bounty, and not cramping her gifts into boiling water-pots; it is a trust to the god of storms, that makes the breezes our helpers, and every gale to touch the cheek with the wanton and the welcome of an aiding brother."

    Along the same lines, as I think Donald Cardwell suggested, if history had been a little different, and Peltier had discovered his effect decades earlier than 1834, we might have developed thermoelectric devices instead of steam engines. They might have been more efficient over time, rivaling the early steam engines, which were only about 5% efficient. Someone trying to develop a spinning generator would be asked, "why the hell do you want a generator with moving parts?!?" Even in the mid 19th century we might have had coal fired thermoelectric railroad trains and other motors, instead of steam engines. Electric motors were first made in 1834, but little progress was made and they were not practical until Edison went to work on electric motors and generators in 1878. There was no point to developing large electric motors without generators. But there would have been a point to it if we had had large, portable thermoelectric power supplies.

  • Unluckily brown coal surfaced mined is dirt cheap = 2cents/kwh.

    But it would not be so cheap if history had been a little different, and wind turbines had been developed first. Coal is cheap because strip mining is cheap. Strip mining is cheap because there is a tremendous demand for it. To make it cheap they developed gigantic engines and trucks. If there were no strip mines, no one would set out now to spend billions of dollars developing gargantuan 4000 HP trucks like this one:

    Big ticket technology only becomes cheap after billions of dollars and years of effort are invested in it. If we had wind turbines already, no one would spend all the money to develop strip mine trucks and railroad loaders and other machines that make it cheap.

    Wind turbines are becoming cheaper every year, more than some people thought was possible. Paul Krugman said he never saw it coming. He does not seem to have much knowledge of technology. Turbines only became cheap because they were subsidized by governments for many years. The same with steamships. The British government decided to pour money into the Cunard line. It would have been a losing proposition without their support. The sailing ship interests were upset. It was unfair competition. It violated the economic principles of capitalism, which were well established by that time. But, the British wanted to dominate the coming steamship industry. They wanted steam-powered warships. Steamships would have emerged eventually, perhaps decades later. They decided to make it happen sooner. That was a good idea. Abraham Lincoln decided to do an end-run around industrial capitalist timetables and build the transcontinental railroad many years sooner than the railroad companies would have done it. That was a good idea too. We should not let economic theory stand in the way of important technology. Yes, it may be slightly less cost effective to push coal into obsolescence and build out wind power in the 1990s and 2000s, rather than waiting for the industry to do it. But economic cost effectiveness is not the only criterion we should apply to decisions as important as this.

    Uncle Sam was purchasing transistors by the truckload in the 1950s, back when a transistor might cost $16 to replace a vacuum tube costing 25 cents. That was economic lunacy. No one running a business would do that. But Uncle wanted them for nuclear weapons, submarines, ICBM missiles and other expensive toys, and AT&T wanted them for their network. They soon developed into integrated circuits. They too cost a fortune when they were first introduced, but NASA couldn't get enough of them, and handed out carte blanche fill-in-the-check-numbers-yourself purchase orders. There would be no moon mission without them. The rest is history. People a few years ago were saying "we shouldn't spend so much on wind" or "we shouldn't subsidize technology; let the market decide!" They didn't know what they were talking about. This is not about "the market." The market is a vague abstraction. An educated guess. This is about technology, which is numbers, engineering, maps showing wind currents, materials. Economists, even ones with Nobel prizes like Krugman, don't know a darn thing about technology. I do know. Tech people do. If the government wants to set policy it should ignore the economists and ask us.

    "The market" did not develop computers, semiconductors or wind turbines. Engineers did!

  • Japan has put about 100'000 fuel cells into operation to balance the grid. This is far more than a nuclear power plant on demand. Reaction time 2-3 seconds.

    Actually way better than that- A site of significant support for the utilization of fuel cells, Japan has demonstrated the versatility of the power source. As of 2018, nearly 265,000 ENE-FARM residential fuel cells, with generating capacities of up to 5 kW, have been installed for home use. Japan plans to deploy 5.3 million of these residential units by 2030.

  • Quote

    Such people also lack the perspective of history. Wind turbines in the U.S. now produce roughly as much electricity as the entire country consumed in 1955

    But do they consume less fossil fuels than fossil fuel plants by itself? This is the question.
    I will stand my ground, until I don't see carbon dioxide levels at least slowing in growth, not to say plummeting.


  • But do they consume less fossil fuels than fossil fuel plants by itself? This is the question.
    I will stand my ground, until I don't see carbon dioxide levels at least slowing in growth, not to say plummeting.

    So, you did not understand what I wrote?

    Let's try again:

    In 2018 solar alone globally delivered 455 TWh electricity and wind delivered 1128 TWh.

    In 2019 I believe the same numbers will read 585 TWh and 1270 TWh.

    A Nice growth that is 😉

    The global CO2 intensity in 2019 was 442 tonn CO2 pr. TWh.

    THIS MEANS: in 2019 solar and wind resulted in 820 000 tonn CO2 avoided from Coal and Gas generators.

    AND: it takes only MONTHS for wind and solar to pay back ALL CO2 that was produced during construction of the plants Including all of the Value chain from mining to finished project.

    Of course the global energy consumption increased more than growth of nuclear, Hydro, solar and wind, so the low Carbon sources must grow further with exponential coefficient higher than total global energy increase, and tye world must turn electric, away from liquid fuels.

  • So, by Zephr’s brand of reasoning, since U.S. annual traffic accident fatality numbers stayed essentially flat from the 1980s until 2000, seatbelts and airbags must have been causing the deaths.


    "Since the use of belts and airbags have increased since the 80's, but fatalities have been Essential flat, shows belts and airbags have had no impact. I.e. no point using them " 😂🤣🤪😱

  • Or

    "Since the use of belts and airbags have increased since the 80's, but fatalities have been Essential flat, shows belts and airbags have had no impact. I.e. no point using them " 😂🤣🤪😱

    No, if I understand Zephyr correctly, he believes that deploying renewables actually increases fossil fuel use. So, in the auto accident analogy, he would say the belts and airbags increase the number of accidents

  • Well, it just shows, that "renewables" don't work for curbing carbon dioxide emissions in both absolute numbers, both relative numbers.

    EU dependency on fossil fuel imports on rise despite energy consumption decrease - I'm not judging it - I'm just explaining, why it so (EU also utilizes largest portion of "renewables")



    As your article states

    "Their [EU fossil fuel] share has constantly decreased over the past decades, from 83% in 1990 to 73% in 2015"

    Imports have nothing to with Absolute or relative CO2 numbers.

  • But do they consume less fossil fuels than fossil fuel plants by itself? This is the question.

    Wind turbines do not consume any fuels. Not fossil fuels or any other kind of fuel. They are powered by wind, not fuel. They may consume some fossil fuel during manufacturing, depending on where they are manufactured. But they soon produce all of the energy it takes to manufacture them. They do not consume more fossil fuel during manufacturing than gas turbines do.

    I will stand my ground, until I don't see carbon dioxide levels at least slowing in growth, not to say plummeting.

    If it were not for wind power, carbon dioxide levels would be rising even faster than they are.

    Well, it just shows, that "renewables" don't work for curbing carbon dioxide emissions in both absolute numbers, both relative numbers.

    No, it shows that we are not using renewables enough. Not that they do not work.

    Your statements are illogical, to say the least.

  • Quote
    Zephyr, you are something of a mystery. We have a pretty good idea of what you are strongly opposed to. Would you possibly share what it is you are in favour of?

    Well, definitely not Saudi or Russians. Both their leaders, both fossil fuel companies get happy from "renewables", as they can calculate (with compare to people here) and they realized, it brings them profit. I just support life environment, i.e. overunity and cold fusion.


  • But meanwhile, renewables absolutely can do the job and will, provided politicians, entrenched fossil fuel interests, and just plain stupid people get out of the way. Or do you think we should just give up unless LENR rides in on a white horse?

    I just believe it is a misallocation of resources to put so much into renewables when there is only conjecture about them being able to provide 200,000 TWh in the future. Of course, I am so pessimistic, I don't believe we will even need 200,000 TWh as if we don't get nuclear power ASAP, civilization shrinks in its technological glory. I wish I didn't feel that way, but the numbers proposed in this thread are no comfort, only conjecture.

  • What’s the true cost of renewables? When the report says that the levelized cost of wind is $17 per megawatt-hour and solar is $25 per MWh, it is only counting the cost to build the wind turbines and solar panels and hook them up to the grid. In reality, when we add wind and solar to our grid, we are paying for two systems: the renewable resources themselves, and the cost to firm them up — to provide backup power when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, and to cut production when there is too much wind or sun. In other words, the more renewables we have, the less value they add because we are having to pay more for the second system behind them.

    In brief: for to have some net contributory effect, the energy from "renewables" must get cheaper, than this one from fossil fuels. The slope of this curve must be negative, not positive - and there's no other way around it. I guess that the (remarkably consistent, btw) slope of this curve enables to estimate carbon footprint of "renewables" in straightforward way.


    The notion that renewable electricity is cheap is one of a number of Green Myths that have been woven into a gigantic Green lie that is undermining our society, our welfare, our institutions and the way that we think about and rationalise problems. Exposing this Green lie is part of the core raison d’être of Energy Matters. And you all here are part of this mythology: the attitude of yours clearly shows, how religion is actually working.

  • There are some amazing examples of skewed logic here. Zephir spends all his time quoting statistics that have virtually nothing to do with the points he is trying to make while somehow thinking they do. Ruby is skeptical about renewables because their ability to solve our problems is “based on conjecture “ but is convinced that LENR is what will solve our problems. That is a stunning example of inconsistent thinking.

    Anyway, Zephir is in favor of overunity. I’m in favor of divine intervention. But, as a practical matter, I don’t plan to sit around and wait for it to happen.

  • If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive?: The Paradox of Declining Renewable Costs and Rising Electricity Prices Well, the fact we're producing low quality (unpredictable, volatile) energy expensively doesn't imply, we'll be able to sell it for higher price.. See for example: The Effect of Intermittent Renewables on Electricity Prices in Germany:


    Despite that renewables make electricity more expensive at large space-time scale, they're making it cheaper at local share. Except we aren't talking end price or consumers of electricity - but spot price for its suppliers. Falling electricity prices offer a good demonstration of how quickly the market discounts intermittent "renewables: as penetration increases, thereby further eroding the already poor competitiveness of these electricity sources. Well, for to have net contributory effect, the slope of this local price / consumption dependence must be also reversed - and there is no other way around it.