To our Podcasts

# Calculating an Off Grid System

Below calculations are based on internet advise and rules of thumb. We try to create a real life usable method to dimension a solar battery off grid system.

1. Power need

The calculations must start with how much power is needed. How much appliances need to run simultaneously drawing how much Watt for how long every day. Which loads are continuous and which are only part of the day.

How much Watt do appliances use?

Let’s say we have a mini-fridge that runs all day drawing 100 Watt. Then you have the use of lights at 50 Watt for four hours in the evening. Use of TV and laptop at combined 200 Watt for four hours as well. You also cook for 30 minutes using 1000 Watt cooling plate/microwave.

• Fridge =  100 Watt x 24 hours = 2.4 kWh
• Lights = 50 Watt x 3 hours = .15 kWh
• TV & Laptop = 200 Watt x 4 hours = .8 kWh
• Cooking = 1000 Watt x 0.5 hours = 0.5 kWh

Total you need to have stored 3.9 kWh ready to go. You also need to be able to loose 100 Watt every hour from when you stop charging and when you start charging again. Based on this load distribution we can determine the battery size.

2. Battery sizing

By putting the load in a spreadsheet and calculating the hourly use we can see that the ampere draw from the batteries peaks at six in the evening, when the lights are on, we have a fridge running and we cook. At that time we draw 54.16 Amperes at 12 volt. Because the normal current draw from a battery is about 10% of its size in Ah, we would need 540 Ah in batteries charged to 80% to do this comfortably. This 10% is caused by the fact batteries have lower actual capacities if the power draw is bigger. This is the so called Peukert law (named after a german scientist who discovered this). If you take 20 hours to discharge (5% amps) you get all of the charge, if you take 10 hours (like above at 10% amps) you get 78%, if you go faster this drops further to 40% if you discharge 1 one hour (100% amps).

This means we technically could design the system so the 54 amps are drawn from a battery that will just have the capacity to deliver it in one hour. If you do that 40% of capacity is available, so 40% = 54 Ah – > 100% = 135 Ah. But that assumes the battery is fully charged and you want to totally exhaust it. Batteries have to be oversized to take these and other effects into account. We could in theory choose two times the 135 Ah in size and be good, so 270 Ah, but the more we invest in battery capacity the longer the batteries last (a nicely commercial rule of thumb).

3. Panel sizing

4. Charger selection

The energy in a 100 Ah 12 Volt battery is 100 x 12 =  1.200 Wh = 1.2 kWh

With the sometimes intermittend nature of dirty grid energy and the option to power one’s own electric vehicle the interest in electricity storage has grown. The use of electricity is usually overestimated, most people use about 10 kWh per day. Here we will explain how one calculates a solar storage system for this energy need.

Discharging

The system needs to be able to deliver 10 kWh. The speed at which we want to use that 10kWh is also important, because a battery can only output so much current or its capacity will seem to go down. If you want to power a 1000 Wat heater for an hour (which with 10 kWh storage you could theoretically do for an hour), you draw 83 amps from the batteries. A rule of thumb is to not draw more than the Ah in amps. So if your battery is 40 Ah you can draw 40 Amps for an hour, so for a 1000 Wat heater you need 2,5 40 Ah batteries. Theoretically they will then run for an hour, but in reality we need to divide it by 2, so we get 5 40Ah batteries to safely deliver 1000 Watt for one hour. Take that 3 times and it seems we are fit for any normal usage. 15 40 Ah batteries, or 6 100 Ah batteries. Let’s assume that.

Charging

For charging we use solar panels. They need to charge the batteries to full capacity over de course of a day. This means that in the location the panels are mounted the sun must deliver the required energy to do that. We can pick a place in the South of France to make the calculation, let’s sat Cannes.

Battery capacity must be increased to ensure enough power output

First we need to calculate our required solar power, then we can see how many panels we need to reach that output (in kWh) in the chosen location. We have 600 Ah and as a rule of thumb we can charge them at a maximum of 10% in Amperes so that is 60 amps. At this rate it would take 10 hours to charge in an ideal world. Charging is inefficient however and the rule of thumb is it takes 40% more time. So not 10 but 14 hours.  A day doesn’t have 14 hours so the battery pack must grow to ensure it can be charged with the daily output.

Battery pack size must also be increased to insure enough charging can take place in the time available.

If we double the pack size we have a 1200 Ah battery setup that can be charged to a full 600 Ah capacity in 7 hours. We’re talking 120 Amps max charging current now. A rule of thumb to dimension the panels is to take 1.5 times the load, so the batteries can charge even when the batteries are used. for 1500 Watt at 12 volt the need is for 15 12 volt 100 Wp panels. The total output of 15 100 Wp panels in Cannes is more than 5 kWh per day from april to october. The panels deliver plenty of power, and the batteries can top themselves up every day.

So this system has 12 100 Ah batteries and 15 100 Wp panels. We think it is has more capacity than we need. We are looking for a better estimate.

A commercial example

A website that sells solar battery systems seems to take a simple rule of thumb : It starts with the battery, so a 400 Ah one (2 times 200Ah), then it tries to secure the max charging current at about 10% of the 400 Ah, so about 40 amps. A bit less is produced by four 100 Wp 12 Volt panels (400/12 = 33 Amps) at maximum insolation. Lastlyth the charging controller is chosen to charge at 40 Amps. This then creates 4800 Wh of ‘autonomy’ whatever that means.

In our location the 400 Wp panels would generate max 2 kWh a day, which is 0.005 times more than the 400 Ah of the batteries. To turn this around, if you have 1500 Wp installed you generate 8 kWh at the peak of the summer, and charge 1600 Ah batteries. 1600 Ah batteries store 19.2 kWh so they would be charged halfway if there where no losses.

From 19.3 kWh in a fully charged battery you can use 9.6 kWh without problem. Then you need to recharge it and getting the last 20 percent of charge is the hardest. So you want to be between 40% and 80%

To be revised and continued..

To our Podcasts

# 5+ redenen om niet aan Schaliegas te beginnen, of waarom heeft die koe geen staart?

Update : Oops, stinky fracking company gets a \$3 million fine for being a nuisance.. http://www.nationofchange.org/texas-fracking-verdict-puts-industry-notice-about-toxic-air-emissions-1401374328

Update : Another study linking low birthweight and fracking http://www.texassharon.com/2014/01/05/proximity-to-fracking-more-than-doubles-odds-of-low-birth-weight-babies/

Update : Ex Mobil exec tells all “Making fracking safe is simply not possible” http://m.timesunion.com/business/article/Former-Mobil-Oil-exec-urges-brakes-on-gas-fracking-5422292.php

Updates : Frackcidents are a new term for accidents with gas and (radioactive) wastewater from Fracking activities http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/07/3435110/frackcidents/

Update : Gas emissions from wells is 1000 times bigger than estimated previously http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/15/methane-natural-gas-epa_n_5153205.html?1397574838

Update : Dodelijk schaleigas ongeluk bij Chevron, toezichhouder geweerd http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2014/04/09/chevron-blocked-access-to-dep-after-fatal-well-fire-in-southwest-pa/

Update : Kleine aardbevingen veroorzaakt door fracking http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/11/ohio-geologists-link–earthquakes-to-fracking

Update : Radioactief afval wordt zomaar gedumpt in de VS. De filters van het water dat uit de schaliegas site komt vangt oa radon en andere isotopen af. De frackers moeten deze vervolgens ergens kwijt en dumpen ze of begraven ze. De isotopen kunnen long kanker veroorzaken.

Update : Fracking in the US, lijkt grappig, maar willen we dat hier? Video.

Update : Schaliegas rapport Witteveen en Bos  Mulder Kaalberg (EZ)

Update : Schaliegas gelinkt met hoger sterftecijfer, een duidelijke trend in North Dakota

Update : Aparte categorie? Schaliegas bedrijven liegen en lappen de regels aan hun laars

Update : Schaliegas verhoogt de concentratie methaan in waterbronnen. Metingen aan bronnen in gebieden waar naar schaliegas werd geboord en gebieden waar dat niet zo was werden vergeleken. Bronnen in boorgebieden bevatten tot 17 maal meer methaan. Dus “er was altijd methaan” is waar, en “het boren heeft methaan in het water gebracht” is ook waar.

Update : Schaliegas en borstkaner. Shale gas and breast cancer and violence against women Art 1 Art 2

Toxins in Fracking Linked to Breast Cancer (webinar)

Toxins linked to Spontaneous Abortion and Birth Defects,Crimes Against Women on the Rise in Some Energy Boom Towns

Update : Kankers en huid en long aandoeningen en aanvallen, verschrikkelijke gezondheidsklachten in Pennsylvania. Meer video’s over Shale vs. Health.

Shale oil : “Only skin cancer, with six observed deaths, was in excess, with an estimated relative risk of 4.9 (95%CI: 2.2–10.9).” (bron)

“Elevated levels of stomach cancer incidence in rural areas of Kohtla-Järva district remained unexplainable. In a retrospective cohort study of 2069 workers who had been exposed to oil shale products from 10 to 20 years an excess of skin cancer in females was found.” (bron)

Update : Parlement van Engeland bespreekt noodzaak omkoping locale overheden Schaliegas bedrijven riskeren “company-killing” .. environmental damage.

5+ redenen om niet aan Schaliegas te beginnen, of waarom heeft die koe geen staart?

Schaliegas (in het engels shale gas of Fracking genoemd) wordt gepushed in Europa. Er zit veel geld achter. De fossiele industrie wil door ongeacht de lange termijn schade die schaliegas en het verglijkbare koolzoomgas (coalseamgas) veroorzaakt. Maar waar hebben we het over? Wat wordt er gerapporteerd over schaliegas?

Wie niet weet wat schaliegas is, het is gas dat vrijkomt uit klei/leisteen/rotslagen nadat deze met gigantische hydraulishe druk zijn verbrijzeld. Er wordt een gat geboord, en via dat gat worden dmv vloeistoffen (fluids) zulke krachten onder de grond opgewekt dat deze verpulvert, zodat gas vrijkomt. Dit wordt dan verondersteld via het gat te worden afgevoerd maar het kan natuurlijk alle kanten op.

Probleem 1. Fracking Fluids (vloeistoffen gebruikt voor het kraken van de grond en losweken van gas)

Bij schaliegas boringen worden vloeistoffen gebruikt om de gassen makkelijker vrij te laten komen. Deze zijn giftig. Ze nemen ook gifstoffen, metalen e.d. op uit de grond en moeten in veel gevallen worden afgevoerd, iets dat echter zonder enige zorgvuldigheid gebeurt.

There Are Many Scary Chemicals In Fracking Fluid

The Big Secret? Fracking Fluids

Cathy Behr .. was working the day shift when a gas driller
worker, Clinton Marshall, arrived complaining of nausea and headaches.
Marshall had spilled “fracturing fluid” on his clothes .. Cathy Behr, without protection, had
meanwhile spent just ten minutes tending to Mr. Marshall. A few days after this ER visit, Cathy Behr appeared jaundiced and began
vomiting fluid and having difficulty breathing.  Behr’s husband took her
back to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with multiple organ
failure, including liver failure, respiratory distress and erratic blood
counts.

Vitens verwacht drinkwatervervuiling

Newest EPA Report Confirms Fracking Fluids Contaminating .. Water Supply

Leaked fracking fluid contaminated groundwater near Grande Prairie: ERCB

Fracking Fluids Could Contaminate Freshwater Aquifers, Says Study

Etc. Dus fracking/schaliegas boormengsels zijn zeer giftig, bevatten vaak geheim gehouden oplosmiddelen (oa diesel) bedoelt om het gas vrij te maken door eventuele ondergrondse materialen op te lossen. De vloeistoffen worden tijdens en na het boren verwijderd maar niemand houdt hier zicht op. Soms wordt het ergens anders de grond ingepompt!

Probleem 2. Aardbevingen

Zelfs in ons land wordt nonchalant gedaan over aardbevingen. Onze gasrobot Kamp moest er aan herinnerd worden dat er mensen wonen in de gaswin gebieden die misschien meer waarde hechten aan hun eigen huis dan aan de winst van de Gasunie. In de VS zijn er vele incidenten van aardbevingen ivm schaliegas. Logisch, je haalt iets weg van onder de grond, dan zakt de grond in.

“De minister liet vrijdag weten dat door de gaswinning zwaardere
aardbevingen kunnen ontstaan dan eerder werd gedacht. Hij wil duidelijk
hebben hoe zwaar die bevingen precies kunnen worden en wat daar de
gevolgen van kunnen zijn.”

Aardbevingen door gaswinning heviger

Kamp onderzoekt andere manier van gaswinning

US government scientists link shale gas .. to sharp rise in earthquakes

Britain lifts shale gas ban despite earthquakes

UK firm says shale fracking caused earthquakes

‘Remarkable Increase’ In U.S. Earthquakes ‘Almost Certainly Manmade,’

“Our analysis showed that shortly after hydraulic fracturing began small
earthquakes started occurring, and more than 50 were identified, of
which 43 were large enough to be located. Most of these earthquakes
occurred within a 24 hour period after hydraulic fracturing operations

Door het kraken van de klei lagen/leisteen lagen waarin het gas zit komen radioactieve gassen en metalen vrij. Deze eindigen in het fracking fluid, het gas en het grondwater.

Shale gas: the view from Russia

“All clays are mildly radioactive, and shale is a sort of heat-treated
clay. While Barnett shale is not particularly radioactive, Marcellus
shale, which has recently been the focus of frantic drilling activity,
is.”

The
shale deposits that have the US gas industry so excited were studied
after WWII by the Atomic Energy Commission and declared to be the
largest
uranium resource in the US. “

Natural Gas Drilling Produces Radioactive Wastewater

Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers

“wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium”

Natural Gas Drilling Releases Uranium, Study Reveals

Probleem 4. Onbruikbaar grondwater

Op dit punt is schaliegas al afgeschreven wat ons betreft. Maar mensen laten zich omkopen, de krediteuren hebben daar momenteel in de VS en op veel andere plaatsen geen moeite mee, want lenen kost niks. Zo wordt er overal vrolijk geboord, wat funest blijkt voor het water. Niet voor een jaar oid, maar voor de volgende duizenden jaren. In sommige gebieden voeren de schaliegas bedrijven water aan als voorwaarde om te blijven boren. Maar wat als het schaliegasbedrijf failliet gaat?

Flaming faucets: Woman’s tap water is flammable

Cabot’s Methodology Links Tainted Water Wells to Gas Fracking

Report Left Out Poisons In Drinking Water Near Fracking Site

Pennsylvania officials reported incomplete test results that omitted
data on some toxic metals that were found in drinking water taken from a
private well near a
natural gas drilling site“

Toxicology tests on the plaintiffs found the presence of toluene, benzene and arsenic in their bodies, according to the complaint.”

“For the first time, a scientific study has linked natural gas drilling
and hydraulic fracturing with a pattern of drinking water contamination
so severe that some faucets can be lit on fire.”

Probleem 5. Het land wordt onbruikbaar

Ook boven de grond is het ongezond. In een geval waar een bedrijf CCS wilde doen, althans onder het voorwendsel van carbon capture and storage CO2 gebruikte om gas uit de grond te pompen, bleek dat CO2 te lekken en stikte koeien in een dal waar het gas bleeft staan. Mensen zijn net zo vatbaar voor de gifstoffen als de dieren die er aan sterven.

Livestock falling ill in fracking regions

Fracking’s Toll on Pets, Livestock Chills Farmers

Their findings, published in “New Solutions: A Journal of
Environmental and Occupational Health Policy,” are a harrowing
account of sudden deaths of cattle, as well as reproductive and
neurological problems in horses, cats, dogs and other animals.
“

“These farmers are getting out of the beef business, in part
over concern that their animals will become delivery systems for
contaminants.”

Fracking Makes Livestock Sick, Says Recent Study Of Natural Gas Drilling On Animal And Human Health: Commentary

“Animals can be used as sentinels to monitor impacts to human health”

Cattle in fracking areas show side effects

Why Are Cows Tails Dropping Off?

“In New Mexico, hair testing of sick cattle that grazed near well pads found petroleum residue in 54 of 56 cows.”

Study links fracking to livestock disease and death

Newborn Birth Weight Drops In High Fracking Areas

Analysis of birth measures in Pennsylvania, which has a high
concentration of fracking operations, revealed that mothers exposed to
this dangerous method of natural gas extraction are 25 percent more
likely to deliver an underweight baby.”

Conclusie

Reden nr 6 zou kunnen zijn dat de winst vaak tereurstelt. Reden nr. 7 zou kunnen zijn dat veel gas niet verkocht wordt, maar verbrand, dat het afvoeren ervan voor enorme overlast zorgt. Reden nr. 8 de betrokken bedrijven zijn absoluut onbetrouwbaar. Maar wie daar nog over wil kniezen en voor boren is heeft geen gezond verstand of hart. Wat als het gas op was? Wat deden we dan? Dat moeten we dan maar nu al doen.

De VS verbranden zoveel schaliegas zonder het te gebruiken dat dit op de satteliet zichtbaar is.   Ref frackreasons

To our Podcasts

# Tot 9.000 Euro Zonnehypotheek voor Nieuwbouw woningen

Nieuwbouwhuizen hebben over het algemeen een voordelig energie label (als ze er een hebben, want deze was tot voor kort niet nodig voor huizen jonger dan 10 jaar). Dit label geeft aan hoeveel GigaJoule per m3 per maand de woning gebruikt. De meeste nieuwbouw zit daarbij tussen de 0 en de 1 GigaJoule (Labels A++, A+, A). Kopers van woningen die onder de 0,6 GigaJoule zitten kunnen door het Lenteakkoord meer lenen, 9.000 Euro om precies te zijn.

Je zou denken dat je die in zonnepanelen of isolatie zou kunnen steken, maar dat lijkt niet de gedachte achter deze regeling. dan zou de toets namelijk zijn dat de EPC boven de o,6 ligt, dwz huizen die slecht zijn geisoleerd krijgen de kans wat extra isolatie te verwerven.

Ook de manier waarop deze 9.000 Euro wordt gegund is niet ideaal. Deze ontstaat namelijk door het verslappen van de inkomens toets. Normaal moet de bank je inkomen in acht nemen zodat je dagelijkse uitgaven niet in gevaar komen door de rente over de hypotheek die je neemt. Kennelijk kan de rente van 9.000 Euro er nog wel bij (er is ook rente aftrek), ongeacht of je dan in de problemen komt.

Deze regeling lijkt dus in eerste instantie gecreerd om de nieuwbouw huizen die voldoen duurder te maken, immers een bank kan tegen een koper zeggen “Dit huis is wel wat duurder dan u zich kunt veroorloven, maar u hebt 9.000 Euro vrijstelling”. En dit alleen voor super zuinige nieuwbouw. Banken lijken er tot noch toe niet veel interesse te hebben. Misschien omdat ze zich liever aan de toets houden.

Eigenaren van nieuwbouw woningen kunnen deze regeling echter gebruiken om zonnepanelen aan te schaffen. Deze hebben een hoger rendement dan de hypotheek lasten, dus ze zijn effectief gratis. Ook isolatie is een goede investering. Huiseigenaren zullen bij hun bank kunnen vragen naar de extra leningen om deze kosten te maken.

Ook al lijkt de regeling bedoelt om zich te vertalen in hogere huizen prijzen en een bonus voor de banken, kunnen slimme eigenaren deze gebruiken om een deel van de hypotheek via zonnestroom te neutraliseren. Zoekt u panelen , dan kunnen wij u helpen Zie info@greencheck.nl

In ander nieuws : Er komt een regeling voor sportvereningingen in 2016 om de aanschaf van duurzame energie bronnen makkelijker te maken :

Ter uitvoering van deze motie stel ik momenteel samen met de Minister van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport een subsidieregeling op die per 1 januari 2016 effectief zal worden. Onder deze regeling zal een specifieke lijst van maatregelen voor energiebesparing en duurzame energie worden opgenomen, waarvoor subsidie kan worden verstrekt. In de overweging van de hoogte van het subsidiepercentage zal het voor sommige sportverenigingen niet aftrekbaar zijn van de btw worden meegenomen. (bron)

Extra hypotheek voor EPC 0,6 woningen

Brief van Minister Blok

Energie label systeem

Energie label nieuwbouw, lente akkoord

To our Podcasts

# The risk of a fossil fuel based food chain for effective climate action

Post fossil feul food gap podcast

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. Also the  ’firm grasp’ of for instance Europe and US on fossil fuel supplies is at best shaky. What if large scale war breaks out in the Middle East? How likely is that as Jordans king refers to the fight agianst IS as the “third world war” ?

Fossil fuel tends to drive the world towards an enforced order at high risk, at the cost of lives, which have low value in it’s fossil fuel economy

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. In the background the cold war/BRICSA block defines sides in each conflict.

The blind  : The CIA, always 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?

The threat to order by both a sudden drop in fossil fuels (minus 15% is enough to trigger widespread chaos according to the german department of defence) 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..

The post-fossil-fuel-intensive-farming food gap

One scary consequence of intensive farming is that the farmed land is dead, deteriorated and usually impregnated with toxic compounds to which GM crops are resistent. 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 catching 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.

Carbon farming

Carbon farming, meaning farming to sequester CO2 and receive carbon credits, sounds like a good idea. Effectively though it protects CO2 emissions elsewhere, so it neutralizes any beneficial effect to the climate of these farms.

Biochar

It seems that the fossil fuel industry has found a way to remain relevant by producing biochar through pyrolysis (burning with low oxygen). However, the benefits of biochar are contested. It seems the best way to get the benefits of carbon rich soil is to allow plants to inject it. Fossil fuels also need to remain in the ground.

The solution

Ironically the approach that reduces all these risks also reduces the resulting problem of high CO2 in our atmosphere. Puting carbon in the soil throug natural means is a great way to make the soil more fertile.

Guy Webb seems the most sentient advocate of scalable methods of carbon farming. The upside of this farming method is that it is less carbon intensive, as productive and cheaper than current methods (which is to be expected as money is usually used to secure fossil fuels). It also allows the soil to retain more water, so droughts have less effect.

The solution to protect life is to use it so it protects itself. Maximize life!

The switch to soil carbon increasing farming methods is our best protection against threats to order by fossil fuel shortages or food shortages. When adopted widely it is also able to capture a significant amount of CO2 from the atmosphere, almost as much as we put into it in the last century. This in turn will cool the earth and increase the size of the now shrinking farming regions.

To truely fight climate change we need to do more, this however would become impossible if the world is suffering from food and fuel shortages..

Energy security taken seriously

postfossilfoodgap

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

# 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”

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Kitegen

Experiments with torque ladder and rotating kite

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

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..

>>>