To our Podcasts

Climate Action and Order

The world can be devided into two groups of countries : 1. Those that have a firm grasp on their fossil fuel supply and 2. Countries that don’t. Strangely amongs the countries that don’t have their fossil fuel access under control we find fossil fuel producing countries. Usually they are able to produce but not refine, or most of their oil is harvested by foreign companies.  In other cases the countries are under financial constraints forcing them to deliver their oil abroad.

With that access to fossil fuels comes order. The order in turn allows the governments to keep their grasp on the existing balance of power, or fight to restore or install one. We can observe how Egypt, Syria, Iran, Lybia where all thrown in turmoil because of their oil reserves, how Saudi Arabia and Iraq try to fight oil funded IS. All this in a sauce of religious delusions, fatalism and geopolitical meddling, because the cold war still lingers.

The blind  : The CIA, aways ready to protect US fossil fuel interests, fears hostile nations may manipulate US weather..

A second divide could be made in the world, between countries that supply the food to feed their own population and ones that can’t. Right now two factors come into play, one is fossil fuel availability (when farming is intensive) and the other is the weather. The recent riots in Egypt where about hunger, caused by lack of fuel caused by an inflating dollar (the US was printing like mad). But hunger can also result from droughts, as we have seen in the US, Australia and Russia in recent years. Russia in 2010 stopped selling grain to the world market. The droughts in the US are predicted to become annual, or permanent. The ‘Breadbasked’ is moving up on the map. But will it be a breadbasked when it moves?

See also Mega droughts coming to the US

The threat to order by both a sudden drop in fossil fuels (minus 15% is enough to trigger widespread chaos) or food is also a threat to the ability to respond to climate change. As every farmed calorie already costs about 10 fossil fuel calories the threat to order of the two factors fuel security and weather is multiplied.

“World face mass starvation” warning from 2009 (earlier post)

The danger is that one can no longer respond to climate change and the use of fossil fuels will continue in the fragmented non cooperating regions. Rather than trying to keep going on the brink of collapes the world should be reinforcing life in a non fossil fuel dependent way such that it becomes 100% resilient against any drop in fossil fuel supply. It makes no sense to fight a losing battle, especially when all the means to win another are available. The goal is food security and order, so humanity keeps control over its fate.

The food system is currently dependent on fossil fuels for powering irrigation pumps, petroleum based pesticides and herbicides, mechanization for both crop production and food processing, fertilizer production, maintenance of animal operations, crop storage and drying and for the transportation of farm inputs and outputs. (source)

Add to this powering the shops and supermarket, fuel for cars to go get groceries, fossil energy use in restaurants and kitchens..

Mind the Gap

One scary consequence of intensive farming is that the farmed land is dead, and usually impregnated with toxic compounds to which GM crops are resistant. The soil is carbon poor, it has no fungal mesh which usually carries nutrients to plant roots. It takes years for soil (if it is planted with the right nitrogen catchin plants) to become fertile again. This means that if it becomes impossible to farm with intensive methods due to some glitch in the chemical and fossil supply chain, the land will not produce. On top of the chaos from an interruption to the fossil fuel supply one would see a collapse of food production that would not be able to restore itself. On a larger scale this would lead to serious famines decimating the population.

The solution

Ironically the approach that reduces all these risks also reduces the resulting problem of high CO2 in our atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To our Podcasts

Fighting Climate Change Inside the Economy

Podcast version

The world as it is presented to us is currently trying to fight climate change by setting targets to replace fossil fuels and reduce emissions. This method is inviting people that do not want to reduce emissions to tweak the targets, every step of the way. The most worrying aspect of this strategy is that it doesn’t even adress the problem, which is incredibly high CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere and oceans.

As a financially dependent consumer we are tied to our homes, countries and have to make the best we can trying to earn enough money to pay the bills. As such we are being incapacitated from influencing the path of attack  against this existential threat. The motivation to lock society in this delaying death spiral is that people selling fossil fuels and people in the banking system want to keep their jobs.

The first thing that is wrong with this approach is that investments in renewables need to compete with other investments, and other investments usually retain fossil fuel cashflow for banks, while investments in renewables, especially where they are consumed directly, make cashflow disappear.

The second thing wrong with the approach is that it uses fossil fuels. The manufacturing sector still uses fossil fuels a lot and so as we bring forth products that may reduce the CO2 in our atmosphere or generate renewable energy we are actually increasing the CO2 concentration.

The third thing wrong is that our economic system clearly doesn’t care about doing things that are not profitable. Profit means that whatever is grown, build or created needs to extract money from the economy to pay interest in the investment (as far as banks are concerned) and make the activity interesting for shareholders. This limits the range of activities enormously. As banks also sell or lease the land they are not about to do that for free in order to serve the attempt to balance CO2 in our atmosphere. In fact, because of the reasons mentioned before they are dead set agains that. The general instinct of banks is to make things more expensive, because that increases their cashflow and profit. A good example is the selling of ‘right of way’ along the proposed Hyperloop track between Los Angeles and San Fransisco. Everything to stop the emergence of fossil fuel free transportation.

The answer to the question “Can we fight climate change within our economy” has to be no, or at least not effectivly. The fundament of our economy is the enemy we are trying to fight. If we work with the economic system we will have to drag this enemy along all the time. Instead we should take an independent approach something that is hard to do but easy to imagine. The steps are :

  1. Create a manufacturing hub for renewable energy sources that uses only renewable energy.
  2. Use it to remove any fossil fuel involvement in the supply chain, so logistics will be electric, processing electric etc. etc.
  3. Maximize production of this manufacturing hub, accepting money for the products and alway using that cash to 1. make the hub more independent and 2. Increase production.

The resulting increase in renewable energy sources will reduce fossil fuel use at ever lower cost, and allow more regions to immitate the approach. It will also enable us to fight climate change at ever deminishing costs and while reducing CO2 emissions. This approach will put the enormous amount of renewable energy potential at our disposal much sooner than any carboneconomic strategy could.

 

 

To our Podcasts

Then new crime against Utilities : Grid Defection

Defection

noun
  1. Desertion from allegiance, loyalty, duty, or the like; apostasy “His defection to East  Germany was regarded as treasonable.”
  2. Failure; lack; loss; “He was overcome by a sudden defection of courage.”

Defection doesn’t have a positive association, it’s either betrayal or failure. Failure to stay connected to the power grid that is, the system that transports power plant electricity to your home, a human invention that may be nearing the end of its time.

In an analyses by the Rocky Mountain Institute and ‘collaborators’ the treat of Solar+Storage is deemed real and present. The logical expectation is that users of solar will go off grid in remote regions the first, as battery storage gets cheaper, and will gradually take over most grid connections around.


Parity is reached when a consumer of electricity can cover his/her energy needs at the same or lower cost using an owned installation than using the grid connection. It is possible this point is reached earlier because of basic insight in the dynamics of climate change.

 ”Almost one-fifth of Australian households now use solar panels for electricity or hot water, tempted by three- to four-year payback times and national rebates that reduce the upfront cost of a PV system.” (source)

Australia is deemede to be a grid defection hotbed as incentives as not many people use natural gas so an autonomous electricity system would cover all the needs.

A key cost component for solar/wind autonomy is the battery. So far the cost of batteries have been kept high either by market controls such as patents and smearing or reluctance to finance. Lead acid batteries are fine for most home storage but they are kept expensive and a standard recycling process hasn’t been created until now (even though old batteries are 100% recyclable), flowbatteries have been repatented and Edison Nife batteries that last a lifetime have been smeared (in spite of being safer and non toxic).

The activities of Tesla however are proving elusive to financial and patent control, the company doesn’t patent technology that is hard to discover in their devices, so as to not  wake the competition up. On the other hand it shares patents for EVs. Now, to make sure it can source the batteries for their future Tesla models, the company is building a mega factory that both doubles the global production capacity and is expected to cut the price of LithiumIon batteries by 30%. According to Morgan Stanley the costs could be reduced by 50-60%.

“Energy storage, when combined with solar power, could disrupt utilities in the US and Europe to the extent customers move to an off-grid approach. We believe Tesla’s energy storage product will be economically viable in parts of the US and Europe, and at a fraction of the cost of current storage alternatives.” (source)

Rocky Mountain Institute Grid Defection Presentation

Tesla’s battery storage plans

To our Podcasts

Ways to die from fossil fuels

“The energy sector remains one of the most dangerous industries for U.S. workers. A transition to renewable energy generation utilizing sources such as wind and solar could potentially eliminate 1300 worker deaths over the coming decade,” eh, 1300??

As the world is trying to pry itself away from its selfdestructive habits, oil, coal and gas production are becoming dirtier and more dangerous. The north pole is besieged to find clathrate gas (officially not fossil fuel) and other gas, oil and/or coal deposits. Shale gas is ravaging the health and wholesomeness of the US, South Africa and other places with weak government. Tar sand oil and coal seam gas are again two techniques that on close inspection are insanely wastefull, polluting and evidently dangerous for human health.

Fossil fuels create jobs..

Ways things go wrong

  1. Oil rigs buring out of control
  2. Oil spills from ships
  3. Oil spills from pipes
  4. Oil spills from wells
  5. Exploding tar oil trains
  6. Exploding oil refinieries
  7. Gas leaks from pipes
  8. Gas leaks from fracking ground
  9. Gas leaks from wells
  10. Gross chemical pollution of surface water
  11. Gross chemical pollution of drinking water
  12. Exploding gas trucks
  13. Coal mine explosions
  14. Coal seam fires
  15. Coal smog (12.000 dead in one case)
  16. Climate change related heatwaves
  17. What more send your suggestion to @climatebabes

It is almost foturtunate that small accidents happen constantly. It allows one to build an argument to stop using this tiny energy source that is ruining life on our planet in favour of renewables (that most life on our planet already uses).

A map showing current flaring in the world. Lots of business opportunities!

The use of fossil fuels kills directly and indirectly on a massive scale, because its use in industry has shaped the industries we have and made them require continuous input of new fossil fuels instead of using the energy to become independent of the supply.


The US region of higher than average atmospheric methane is all from fossil fuel activity.

Fracking

“The flames that billowed out of the Marcellus Shale natural gas well were so hot they caused a nearby propane truck to explode…one contractor still missing”

but : Everyone got a free pizza from Chevron!

Fracking also kills by exposing workers to neurotoxic or neurodegerative chemicals. Then when workers go to the doctor, these doctors can’t develop knowledge about maladies because they are under gag order, meaning those that get sick have to hope treatment is adequate. Sometimes a judge defeats this gag order, but that says it is in place in some cases and we don’t know what it hides.

Fossil fuels kill by enabling the intensive farming industry, that makes all aspects of plant growth fossil fuel dependent such that the input for 1 calorie of food  amounts to 10 calories of fossil fuel. Secondarily the need for loans to farm using industrialized methods kills many thousands of farmers annually, not because they feel shame, but because bank representing village elders tell them to kill or the village doesn’t get any more loans.

Megantic, Quebec Tar train derailment and fire..

The damage from fossil fuels and the way we die of it is unimaginable if you compare it to a situation in which fossil fuels where not used, in which we farmed organicaly, had high speed solar powered trains instead of airtravel, clean traffic in our cities, plants that used high altitude wind energy for processes. There would not be an economy focussed on the utilization of oil, coal and gas as we explained in our piece about carboncredit. The world would not be pillaged by a horde of cashflow crazy cowboys.

Coal burning underground. “Coal-fire gas typically contains between 40 and 50 different compounds, many of which are toxic and some of which are carcinogenic.”

 ”According to Benjamin K. Sovacool, 279 major [Fossil fuel] energy accidents occurred from 1907 to 2007 and they caused 182,156 deaths with $41 billion in property damages, with these figures not including deaths from smaller accidents.” (source)

China and India are now having their smog epiphany, already loaded up with millions of people that will develop respiratory problems later.

An air mask used for one month in New Delhi

“The levels of particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less was found to be 9 times higher than prescribed safe limits by Indian authorities”

660 million Indians lose 3.2 years of life due to air pollution

To our Podcasts

New and Cheaper Wind Technology

Podcast click here

Wind turbines are adding growing amounts of energy to the grid, and new parks onshore and offshore are coming onstream every day. The recent London Array (now the biggest with 630 MW) powers homes for 500.000 homes, and England won’t stop there.

Traditional wind turbines like the ones shown above do have drawbacks. They need to be high to catch the stronger winds, they have to be strong to take the vibrations as one of the wings passes in front of the support pilon. They have become massive structures in part because banks (not wanting to allow wind at all) kept making up reasons why they could fail or where unsafe (and of course for a long time they where ‘unproven’). We wrote about the advantages of VAWTs. They have lower point of mass and other advantages. Another technology that is ready for use however are kite based systems.

Fundamental limitation of horizontal axis wind turbines Functional separation of rotor blade and generator, tensile force transmission and torque generation by cable drum Pumping kite concept: energy generation during reel-out phase and energy consumption during reel-in phase Components of the kite power system
Click to see Kitepower illustrations

A kite flies because it is kept in a certain orientation relative to the wind by wires from the ground. When they have the right shape and are not heavier than the wind forces they will catch the wind and stay aloft. Normal one wire kites don’t really allow another component of wind force to become noticed, that is the effect of wing lift.

If a wing shape (crossection shown above) moves through the air, the air above it has to move faster than the air below it. This causes the air above to thin relative to the air below, and this means there is less air pressure on the wing from above than from below. This is what keeps planes in the sky, they thin air above the wings pulls them up as they fly at high speed.

A kite can do the same thing, when it is moving through the air (rather than hanging in a fixed spot). The lifting force on the wing can become considerable, especially when compared to the materials needed to create them. Wing shapes, when controlled to move through the air at maximum speed, are a cheap source of power (for kitesurfers f.i.).

“ Generating 100MW from a single installation is both plausible and conservative” (kitegen)

How a kite, wing or glider builds up power on the way up,and resets on the way down..

If we look at what is being done in the field of flying wing power we see that there are several groups with products. We will look at them here:

The first group was started by astronaut Wubbo Ockels in Delft. Holland has unique access to a jetstream such that the country could be powered by the wind in only a tiny part of the sky. He imagined a kite lift (or laddermill) as a means to generate electricity. His design moved to the use of a matress kite with automated control.

“a 25m2 kite and a 20kW generator, the third and latest technology demonstrator is tested on a monthly basis since January 2010″

The group has not commercialized the technology bas far as we know and has been working on it for 10 years, which is kind of a waste of time when you can see how profitable it can be.


Wubbo about his kites (in dutch)

Another incarnation of the concept of wings in the sky is Ampeyx Power in The Hague. They use a glider plane to do the same as the kite does. This company has been established by the project manager for Wubbo Ockels project. Their plane has been in development for 5 years now. The models show that this way of generating wind turbines is way more cost efficient than conventional ones.


The ‘powerplane’

The makers seems to emphasize the critics of wind, talking about noise and the visual aspects, which are standard smearing tactics of the pro fossil liberal right. The powerplane idea is not new, it was patented in 1975 :

“A device which lifts itself into the air and either itself carries a windmill for the extractions of power from the wind, or traverses a oscillatory path back and forth across the wind such that the action of the tethering lines for the device can be used to generate useful power such as electricity is disclosed” (source)

This is great news because it means anyone can build one of these devices, which isn’t that hard. What seems to be incredibly hard is to break into the market. This however is not as difficult in every country on Earth.

Click here for another Ampyx kite plane patent and Another

Another company that does offer products, and an opportunity to invest is german Energkite. Germany tends to be more fruitfull in renewable energy because gas is not such a big part of the german economy (and hence university financing). They have replaced the matress kite with a stiffer type, and have a ready to go setup for power generation. This setup should be scalebale for home use.

Enerkite

Cyberkite

Even as flying kites, wings and gliders are being build some still patent the same concept :

It would be interesting to see how this type of system works on domestic homes.

Yet another company harvesting wind power with a kite is Twingtec in Switzerland. This kite is more plane like but not as autonomous as the Ampyx system.

Yet another Ampyx clone called Makani Power has been bought by Google, a company :

“It plans to operate the tethered wings in small groups of six with each one anchored at the points of a hexagon. The wings operate between 250m (820ft)and 600m above ground.”

Yet another company that developed off shore kite generators is Skysails. It has kites to assist ship propulsion. Are these generator the future instead of the current bladed versions?

“This worldwide patented towing kite propulsion system for cargo ships has been proven and tested in the tough day-to-day use on board seagoing vessels. In good wind conditions, it can replace up to 2 megawatts of power from the main engine, which allows ships to save up to 10 tons of oil a day. ”

E-kite Barneveld

Kitenergy

Energykitesystems.net

Wind power from kites report (2007)

Kitepower.eu

Wind driven energy system

Ockels patent

1999 Kitemill patent

powerkite

To our Podcasts

Gratis Zonnepanelen of hoe te Sparen met meer dan 5% rente.

Klik hier voor uitleg via podcast

De website Zonleningen.nl

Kan dat? Zonnepanelen voor niks? Inderdaad. We gaan hiervoor gebruik maken van een constructie die u zelf met uw vrienden en bekenden en onze hulp kunt opzetten. De volgende ingredienten zijn nodig :

  1. Mensen die willen sparen met een goed rendement
  2. Mensen die zonnepanelen op hun dak willen
  3. Een installateur die de zonnepanelen levert en eea in de gaten houdt

De kern van de constructie is dat de eigenaar van het dak geld leent van de mensen die willen sparen met een goed rendement. Deze mensen krijgen op hun uitgeleende geld een rendement van 8% (enigzins variabel). Dit is ongeveer de opbrengst van de panelen op jaarbasis. De eigenaar van het dak geeft hiermee niet al zijn zonne-inkomsten weg, want hij/zij mag de rente betaling (bij een paneel ongeveer 43,- Euro) aftrekken van de belasting. Dit maakt dat hij effectief maar 27,-,24,- of 20,- Euro rente betaald, en dus tot 30 Euro inkomsten heeft uit zijn paneel (meestal panelen). Resultaat, degene die het paneel op het dak heeft heeft inkomsten, degene die het geld leent heeft inkomsten. De lening die gegeven wordt, in principe van 500,-, is overdraagbaar, dat wil zeggen, ze kan worden verkocht. Dit moet wel via een centrale administratie gebeuren.

Het bedrag van 500,- Euro betaalt de installatie van 1 paneel. Dit is als uitgangspunt voor snelle implementatie gekozen. De installateur zal het contract leveren en jaarlijks controleren of aan de betalingsverplichting wordt voldaan. Ook zal bij overdracht van de contracten de gegevens worden bijgewerkt.

U kunt zich hier aanmelden : Zonleningen.nl . Wij zullen dan via email of telefonisch contact met u opnemen.

 

 

 

To our Podcasts

Automation and Economics

 

Automation and Economics

Click here for the podcast

We believe the planet will be saved by automated systems running on renewable energy. A world where that happens would have a so called robo-eco-nomy, and a lot of things we now hold for granted would not exist in that type of economy. The roboeconomy is adapted to the existence of robotics, our current economy is not. Politicians, labour unions and workers are noticing this and it is causing concern all over the planet.

Here we want to analyse the problem of automation in such a way that the action needed to deal with it becomes crystal clear. We hope to show that there is a way out of the current trend of rising poverty, falling job numbers and apologists for enabling automation at the cost of workers. It is in the nature of our economy that these problems arise, which is why we must change it in a fundamental way to stop the trend.

The present dillema is this  : Imagine there is a machine that makes everyone anyone needs, and it does so using fossil fuels. Is then everyone out of a job, poor and unable to buy the things the machine makes (and starve as a result)? Or will everything be free.

The economic system distributing fossil fuels says : Starve (as much as needed to keep going)!

Today most production uses fossil fuel energy. Whether a worker makes a product or a machine makes it on its own, both require fossil fuels to exist. The worker will earn wages, then go to the shops and supermarket to buy products that have been produced, transported and advertised at the expense of fossil fuels. A machine uses fossil fuel directly or the raw material plastic is created from fossil fuels. Metal, wood, corn, or any other raw material has consumed fossil fuels in its harvest, mining, transportation and production.

It is that ubiquitous use of fossil fuel that creates the problem, because fossil fuels are scarce. They are distributed towards their most effective use by economic principles. If two methods achieve the same result but one uses less fossil fuels (and as a result costs less) then in the free market it happens more easily and becomes prevalent. Because it can cost more fossil fuels (usually people say it costs more money) to support a human worker than a machine that does the same work, the human worker loses his income as he/she is replaced by the machine.

A person as a worker is a burden, but as a consumer is desired,

There is however a countering effect which says that products need to be bought, or they would not be produced. So sufficient people with income are needed to justify the use of the machines (!). While automation should lead to a world where machines make everything and nobody has income to buy what is produced, this can’t happen because without people spending money on what machines make, the producers can not buy the fossil fuels to run the machines, nor can they justify further automation. In short, in the ideal world automation would stop at a certain point. The level of misery when these considerations balance out may be high though.

In order to justify automation people are slowly taught they are

dumb and inferior to machines

Another factor in the dynamics is the learing ability of humans, which is limited. This creates a problem for the economic goal to maximize the utilization of fossil fuels, to maximize cashflow, because the more jobs depend on skills of workers, the more this becomes a limiting factor on the proliferation of certain processes and products. On the one hand this creates another reason to automate more complex processes. On the other hand this means jobs tend to become less skilled. That in turn makes workers more vulnerable to lose their jobs, and it makes them look undeserving in the eyes of the elite.

The system as it results now is shedding workers, and putting them out of a job. That is because the competition for fossil fuels (money) is justified by a mythology of utility of people. You have to be usefull to work and earn money, you have to be skilled and better than anyone else to hold a job. That is certainly true for some jobs, especially for ‘knowledge workers’, but it is not true for most of them. Most jobs are non-essential, meaning that they are not required for the survival of society. Many can be considered as just a way to create consumers (workers with money to spend) of the products the automated industry with low skilled workers makes. This is fine as long as there is plenty of fossil fuels, but what happens if that supply shrinks? To answer that question one can identify a number of phases in a fossil fuel driven automated economy.

  1. Low fossil fuels use, low automation : In this situation there are many skilled workers that are needed. Society can be poor because fossil fuel is not yet employed to raise living standards and farming output is low. Society operates at the maximum consumption level allowed by agriculture, forrestry. High potential for innovation and automation to improve things. This is the place where people see a glorious future with fossil fuels.
  2. Growing fossil fuel use, rising automation : In this situation the fossil fuel supply is growing along with the number of machines and processes that consume fossil fuels. Agricultural output is growing along with the population that consumes agricultural output. The power of those distributing fossil fuels is established, economics is designed to maximize the utilization of the fuels. There is competition for them, but humans are not yet limiting the output of industry of machines. This is a period of steady increase in living standard for all, socialism and social programs make sense because not everybody can work, there’s enough fossil fuel to feed everyone after all. This is the post WO II period and the period of increased money creation (enabling the US to buy more oil) started by Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton (when we look at the US primarily).
  3. Fossil fuel use topped, automation still rises : ‘Wile E Coyote moment’. Humans are starting to compete with machines over fossil fuel resources, automation is pushed further, Workers are required to be low skilled, their jobs are made less secure to allow optimization of staffing industry. Work is relocated to regions where workers consume less fossil fuels. Social programs are eroded, jobless people are smeared so that people don’t campaign to use fossil fuels to help them. Politically a battle develops between industry that is fighting to minimize its fuel consumption through automation and job shedding, and society that expects industry to organize to maximize wealth and happiness. This is where we are today.
  4. Fossil fuel output drops, automation no longer job shedder : To remain afloat industry has a choice to either create a working elite and a powerless underclass to continue society based on fossil fuels or to instigate a war that will destroy a large number of people. Both measures won’t really help, especially the war scenario is based on the error to imagine that after the war there will be fossil fuels as abundant as after WO II. The problem is that there is not enough energy to keep everyone at the same living standard. Automation is blamed for joblessness, but it really is a shortage of energy. Countries are put on a fossil diet of by putting them into debt, or outcompeted by the US who prints money to access the fuels. Right wing politics gets support so that people agitate against those that don’t ‘pull their weight’, not knowing that automatic low staffed systems take care of the essentials, and the only problem is that nobody can make oil.

You can feel like a mighty warrior holding a gun, but if you can’t make bullets that attitude is kind of lame. The current industrialists may feel they do a lot for mankind, but without the fuels (which they don’t make) that benevolence and power amounts to very little. It is that illusion of giving to mankind, society etc. that makes their behaviour cruel when sharing becomes more painfull. The right wing rich business owner will say “I worked damn hard for my money, and you won’t get anything for free”. Ok, then teach people how to make fossil fuels, because that is what you need to share more.

If we accept fossil fuels do most of the work today, then we must accept we are not as productive as we think. We are all consumers

The solution to this standoff between the industrialist with delusions of his/her creative capacity and the worker that simply can’t produce what the system needs is to introduce renewable energy. Renewable energy isn’t scarce, it won’t run out, it has no owner and it can do the same things as fossil energy. Look at the dillema again :

The future dillema will be this  : Imagine there is a machine that makes everyone anyone needs, and it does so using renewables. Is then everyone out of a job, poor and unable to buy the things the machine makes (and starve as a result)? Or will everything be free.

The economic system doesn’t apply to renewables, everything can be ‘free’ or require work people can actually do

The question of automation is not “Does it take my job”, but “How do we (humans) feed the machine”. If that input can be made at no cost to anyone, then the machine can operate and bring its benefits to all at next to no cost. The trend should not be to the right, but to a social system supported exclusively by renewable energy. This would require investment (of fossil fuels) but of course an investent in a renewable energy source creates several times the same energy in return, so moving in this direction would ‘pay for’ or better said ‘power’ itself once it gets going.

To make the transition the present economic system needs to come under control so it allocates the fossil fuel resources not to optimize its use, but to optimize it’s (renewable) energy return. Gasoline burned in a car doesn’t have an energy return, many fossil fuel intensive process don’t have any energy return, and this is why we run out of fossil fuels. That is where the change must happen, and then we will be able to use automation to restore the ecology and have a quality based economy, where work is voluntary and the pressure for high levels of automation has dissapeared due to the fact that renewables aren’t scarce.

You may say “But the price of fossil fuels is low!”. That is true, but their suppy is unpredictable, the reserves are unkown and we should not be using them.  Climate change puts us in phase 4.

Robots are us

roboeconomics

UPDATE >>

 Citi Bank analysis concludes with these recommendations, which are inneffective if you consider our view : 1. Cause more of wages to end up in the hands of workers (supply fossil fuels to the bottom) 3. Active labour market policies (policies that cause people to have jobs) that creates more consumers. Where would the ‘resources’ come from? They would come from taxing where there was a surplus of money (wealth taxes, but this is somehow ‘too difficult’). The suggestion is that global wealth taxes suggested by Piketty would be a good idea.

“skills and training is required to prepare workers for the jobs of the future.”

Bullocks : “The surging cost of education is the main hurdle for workers to adapt to technological change”

So Citi Bank thinks that we can educate ourselves out of the job shedding caused by technology, and to do so we should automate education -without- losing the campuses..OR.. give stupid workers money to spend by some direct or indirect means. This is obviously an economic, bank friendly non-solution..

>>>

 

 

 

To our Podcasts

The Arrival of the Wheel Hub Motor

A few years back we wrote a piece about wheel hub motors. These (electro) motors are located in the wheels of a car, and could make conversion of an IC car into a EV very easy, as they don’t have to use more space than the wheels already do. These wheelmotors are available for cars, heavy trucks and busses.

There’s enough space in a wheel hub to hold a powerfull electromotor

 

The wheel hub electromotor is a very old concept, many of the early cars where electric, and even then the idea of putting weight in the wheels made sense. The lower the weight, the better the car holds the road and the lighter the chassis mounted on the springs will be.

1900 Lohner-Porsche petrol-electric hybride

The wheel hub motors are used now in two super car concepts, and they may become the quick and dirty way to create a rolling EV chassis. One is the Rimac, the other the Quant. The 1088 HP Rimac uses conventional Lithium Phosphate batteries and has a range of about 370 mi or 595 km. These numbers are a bit out there though ;-)

The other supercar is the Quant, it uses flow cell batteries, which is a first in cars. Flow cells are like wet batteries but the electrolyte is kept in a separate container, and fed to the electrodes when needed. This makes the output power independent of the total capacity of the system, so you can have low output power flow batteries holding thousands of kilowatthour and you can have high output holding only a few kilowatthour, and everything in between. Conventional batteries have storage linked to output capacity.

Because in flow cell batteries the power is stored in the electrolyte it is possible to ‘refuel’ it by replacing the discharged electrolyte with charged electrolyte. One drawback of this system can be that the electrolye is toxic, although in the case of the Quant one has been chosen that is non toxic.

As you can see the Quant uses four electromotors located in the wheels. The image also shows the two electrolyte compartments (in the case of Vanadium for example, the electrolyte in one container can accept electrons, while that in the other can offer them, causing current to flow through the electrodes to power the car). The car also uses supercapacitors, this is common in electric cars. Supercapacitors can store and release relatively small amounts of energy but do so extremely fast. They can thus match the dynamic requirements of driving a car, and are also used to catch the electricity generated while braking.

Above a Michelin Activewheel wheel hub motor where the coils are not integrated with the rim of the wheel. This may make it more shock resistant, and allow sourcing of electromotors from different sources. More changes to the car and suspension are needed though.

The spanish Volar-e is build on the Rimac chassis by spanish engineering firm Applus+Idiada. It also has four wheel engines, and maybe more similarities. It seems that the four wheel motor concept allows for flexible design.

We hope to see conversions of traditional cars using wheel hub motors, so that the transition from IC cars to electric won’t require a full replacement of every IC car with a new one. People are trying it and developing kits.

 

To our Podcasts

Mega Droughts coming for the US

 

Telling the general public that climate change is bad is not easy. People have the habit of fighting single threats, and the media is feeding them a steady diet of seemingly unrelated threats they can dismiss. Not NASA comes with the prediction of prolonged droughts in the US by mid century. The drought will be the most sever in the last thousand years.

Lake Mead, feeding the Hoover Dam, has been low due to recent drought.

It isn’t really surprising to run into once in a millenium drougths in a time when we are pushing our climate to new extremes. It is the general effect of increasing temperatures by several degrees. It seems people don’t understand the meaning of ‘warming’ or it the media is trying slice and dice the process into a message the public gets easily desensitized to “Another degree of warming” so what?

Economic forces will keep discouraging wise policies, although slowly the focus of the climate effort shifts to attacking fossil fuel interests and players. Apart from all other measures the increase of emissions must be halted and reversed to leave humanity with more time to fix their predicament (which is possible). States like California have been run by smart leaders like Schwartzenegger and Brown who have always been aware of environmental issues and threats, and have created an example out of California to the world.

The tide is turning for fossil fuels, even if exploration is still happening. The global carbon divestment movement is trying to starve fossil fuel companies of cash to explore. This won’t necessarily have an ultimate impact on the big fossil fuel companies (because they don’t need money to operate, only fossil fuels), but it does reduce the political support for them.

California is currently in its fourth year of drought

At the same time investment in renewables is growing explosively. India just announced it will invest $166 per citizen or $200 Billion in renewables. That kind of investment creates so much jobs and such a powerbase for clean energy that renewables will take over from there. The solar, wind, wave industries have their won lobbyists who will make sure their industry thrives. Current chinese solar panel production capacity is maxed out. New factories have to be build to serve new markets.

Renewables will become unstoppable once they are made with only renewable energy

But the fight hasn’t really begun yet. The fighting of climate change involves changing farming practices everywhere to ones that cause accumulation of carbon in the soil, this is a very effective way to recapture CO2. Current methods deplete soil carbon. Palm oil plantations grow on high carbon tropical rainforrest soil and deplete that resource.

Trees are being planted by the millions in some parts of the world, but it is still not mandatory to do so on unused land. They don’t only store carbon, but also cause transportation of rain as they create micro climates that cool the soil and retain water in an evaporation/rain cycle. A great example is shown in the picture below. It is a small planted forrest in an arid region of Australia. It did require some irrigation, but obviously with that it was a big succes. How much of Australia could be covered by this approach?


When will it become law that land that isn’t being used for food or recreation will be turned into woodland.  The dutch queen shows a dutch invention, the Growasis waterboxxx that collects rainwater to feed the young tree, so it can develop a deep root system that will make it stronger. It doesn’t require any irrigation and can be reused!

A major problem with all these initiatives is that they still occur in the economic matrix. They still have to yield some kind of return. While trillions are spend on defense, the defense of humanity is never considered. The best layer of protection we have is life itself. More life, trees, plants, fungi, insects, mean more evolutionary options, more variety for selection. Economic forces inspire people to build traps for consumers, to create artificial scarcity so people have less freedom to choose and will come back to the same (ineffective) solutions.

To our Podcasts

Subsidie voor schonere bestelwagens in Rotterdam

 

goede ideen sterven niet

Diesel bestelvoertuigen produceren veel roet van het soort dat schadelijk is voor mensen. Het is daarom tragisch dat juist bestelverkeer dat in de binnenstad rondrijdt vaak van het diesel type is. Deste sneller diesel als brandstof wordt afgeschaft deste beter. Nu is er een subsidie voor het kopen van een nieuwe wagen die minder vervuilend is dan de huidige.

U vind de regeling hier. Een mooi aspect aan de regeling is dat het oude voertuig gesloopt moet worden, dus niet naar Polen, Rusland of Africa verscheept om daar nog decennia de lucht te vervuilen.

“Als u in aanmerking komt voor de sloopregeling, dan levert uw oude auto minstens € 1.000,- op.  Dit bedrag kan, voor de demontage van een zware diesel bestelauto, oplopen tot € 2.500,-. Hoe hoog het bedrag exact is, dat hangt onder andere af van criteria als bouwjaar, brandstof en gewicht.”

Deze subsidie, die een subsidie is op fossiel omdat het een probleem, veroorzaakt door gebruik van fossiele energie, oplost, is niet genoeg om mensen een electrische auto aan te laten schaffen. Het zou handig zijn als de gemeentes zelf electrische voertuigen kochten en deze aan ondernemers die spullen wilde bezorgen verhuurden of leasden. De reactie op de duidelijke bedreiging van de gezondheid door roet, NOx, ozon en half verbrande benzine en diesel lijkt nog steeds op die van iemand die teveel lijm gesnoven heeft.

“Rotterdam krijgt van Mansveld ook 1,3 miljoen euro om schonere bussen aan te schaffen. Het gaat om meer hybride bussen en bussen die op waterstof rijden. ”

De subsidie van 1.3 miljoen om te steken in waterstof bussen is de zoveelste zet in de verkeerde richting. Niemand wil Wubbo Ockels Superbus gebruiken, die schoon is (en vijf keer zo zuinig), er super cool uitziet en meer dan 200 km/h gaat. Dat was een idiote verkwisting van geld vind menig VVDer. Maar een bus die waterstof uit gas gebruikt en nog niet half de efficientie van een electrische bus haalt is welkom. Dat terwijl bussen uiterst geschikt zijn om electrisch te rijden.

Electrische stadsbus, zo te koop

“Beschikbaar met snellaadsystemen op basis van zowel conductieve als inductieve energieoverdracht. Hiermee wordt een maximale inzetbaarheid gegarandeerd.”

Elon Musk dismissing Hydrogen