Monthly Archives: February 2015

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Explaining Carboncredit Podcast

Listen to an explanation of  carboncredit

Carboncredit is our current money, as it is supplied by banks that extend credit. The problem with this system is that it depends on unique characteristics of fossil fuels, namely that it is stored and easily deployable energy. Renewables are different and require a different approach to money creation, such that if we do not introduce such a new money system, we can not transition to renewables and will in fact be fighting banks who’s primary interest is to keep the carboncredit system going.

Introduction to carboncredit

Carboncredit and the Carbon bubble

Why we can’t get away from fossil fuels

The carbon credit system

The carbon credit system, a limit to growth

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Zonnepanelen tegen de Gevel

Veel mensen hebben geen dak om panelen op te leggen. Tegelijk zijn er veel gevels die op het zuiden liggen en ramen die ongebruikt zijn. We hebben eens gekeken of het mogelijk was een zonnepaneel zelf buiten een van onze ramen aan te brengen.

Door het matglas is het paneel te zien dat aan een houten dwarslat hangt (en op het kozijn leunt)

Hierboven ziet u het experimenteel resultaat. Het is een 50 Wp Paneel dat we aan een dwarse lat hebben bevestigd. Deze lat is met metalen klemmen in het raam profiel aangebracht en vastgezet. Het paneel rust met zijn rand over de lat, en daarnaast hebben we voor de zekerheid twee touwverbindingen tussen de rand van het paneel en het kozijn gemaakt, zodat als het paneel onverhoeds wordt los gestoten het omgekeerd aan de touwen komt te hangen. Een standaard metalen klem om panelen op deze manier te bevestigen zou geen gek idee zijn.

Een klein 12 Volt paneel kan LED verlichting voor donkere ruimten in huis verzorgen

De stroom van het paneel komt binnen via twee aders die eenvoudigweg door de isolatie strip van het klapraam worden geleid. Een systeem met 12 volt verlichting kan zo worden ontworpen dat er altijd licht is, met of zonder accu (door combinatie met een adapter). Met accu is niet zo’n slecht idee omdat een zonnepaneel ook teveel stroom kan genereren die je later wel zou kunnen gebruiken.

Daar kan in principe ook een 220Volt snoer door van een buiten aangebracht micro omvormer. Een paneel dat stroom teruglevert via een stopcontact in de buurt van het raam is dus geen fantasie. Dan is/zijn het/de paneel/en wel groter.

Huurders kunnen door middel van klemsystemen tijdelijke installaties doen

De ruimte tussen ramen kan ook benut worden, al is deze soms wat smaller dan de 1 meter breedte van een 250-350 Wp zonnepaneel van tegenwoordig. De bevestiging zou dan direct op de gevel kunnen worden aangebracht, of er zou een klem systeem om het muurdeel tussen de ramen kunnen worden geconstrueerd.

Panelen tegen de gevel zijn niet optimaal op de zon georienteerd, dus de opbrengst is lager, maar soms is de ruimte er niet en dan het de enige manier om opbrengst te genereren. Nieuwe microomvormer systemen maken het mogelijk eenvoudig buiten alles op te hangen, inclusief panelen, met een kabel voor 220 naar binnen.

Deze string van 1500 Wp en 6,10 m breed heeft een output van ~7 Ampere, dat kan dus gewoon via van de groepen naar de meter. De rode kastjes zijn de omvormers. Systemen met 1 omvormer per paneel zijn er ook. Het afschermen van de muur vermindert windkoeling in de winter en beschut tegen de zon in de zomer.

Micro omvormers tegen een dak



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Bottom Up Change

Our societies are under strict control of people indoctrinated in economic thought. It seems harmless to try to start an enterprise with credit and then have the ambition to make more money than you invest, but that principle only bears fruit if the investment is physical and the yield is crops grown with solar energy. Once the investment is fossil fuels (bought with the credit) we are burning more energy than we get back, even in farming we burn 10 times more than we get out of it. There is no way to win in such a system, even if it can last a long time.

Leave them in the cold

Those at the top still believe there’s nothing wrong with fossil credit, they believe it is money people ‘work’ for. But a better interpretation is that its money people control for, they don’t work, but control the fuels to be burned or converted to make products and services. The control of the consumption of fossil fuels doesn’t create them, just like frying an omlet doesn’t make new eggs. It is very hard to convince some people that their ability to control and maximize cashflow is in itself not usefull. This is possibly because the people involved feel they fight for their own survival, and we all know fighting is in itself not usefull or productive even if it is necessary. The people in charge think they can be unproductive because they are protecting the order against many threats.

The flip side is surprisingly easy to recognize. Grow an organic vegetable, and you have more energy to spend on making wealth, personally or by fermenting or burning it. Grow a tree and you can make many things, burn it for heat, use it to grow mushrooms. Build a wind turbine and you have 5 MW electricity to bake bread, drive around, electrolyse, grind, weld you name it. Years and years of wealth production are afforded and the wealth really increases, the reserves of energy if you convert electricity to methane, methanol, nh3, plastic, hydrogen or carbon. Such wealth increase is REAL.

Economics doesn’t make the distinction between adding absolute wealth and using fossil fuel resources to create marginal wealth, because economics is about the cashflows that become maximized if every process requires fossil fuels or some kind of input that you never get enough of. If the leaders of this system are so indoctrinated and unable to make the distinction they can not steer us away from depleting our resouces. As long as fossil fuel resources aren’t depleted it is assumed no other resources are. This is because the people selling fossil fuels only focus and depend on selling it.

We could lament that our only option is to fight a bottom up battle against economic depletionism but we should rejoyce. It is the only effective method and it is totally possible to do it. All small steps help, adding renewable energy sources, planting trees, farming organically. It is not the sorry second option, it is the first option. The mistake some make is to desire to be in central control at the top, while the top only exist due to a system of central destruction. Like a flight of birds, you can move in the same direction without central control, just by learning and knowing the facts and opportunities. The world doesn’t need centralized top down government, it needs well informed local government that communicates its problems and solutions to whomever wants to learn.

Bottom up is not weak against strong, it is the choice to have many nuclei of power, that can unite but are not de facto united. Top down works only if one can hand down fossil fuels, and then it makes sence to centralize control (the access to it can easily be denied any competitor). In adding renewable energy resources we become more equal and less pushed to conflict. More renewable energy sources is what feeds the bottom up localized autonomy, it returns us to a focus on change we can touch and see in our every day environment, and if we focus on it the centralized top down control will weaken and vanish as its cashflows dry up.

Of course when an enlightened mentality grabs hold of the top down fossil fuel economic thinkers, something they have pretended many times, we may use their methods to achieve the change, but as control will shift to local anyway we may as well hope but not rely on it, nor wait for it to increase renewable energy sources (and storage) where we are. The limiting factor to producing renewables is the cut it now reluctantly gets of the fossil fuel budget. The goal of the bottum up movement should be to create renewable energy sources with renewable energy, then there is no limit to the capacity nor the wealth we can unlock, and no top down way to control it.








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Understanding Tesla or the Recreation of a Tesla Solar Panel

Nikola Tesla was one of the most important inventors in the early nineteenth century. He invented the AC motor and generator, enabling the transportation of electricity over large distances.  Het made many other discoveries in the field of electicity and mechanics some of which are still (actively) misunderstood. Even during his life the idea to move from direct current to alternating current had such impact on the profits of existing businesses (especially of Thomas Edison) that he had a very hard time to get anyone to experiment with it. It was the special requirement of the power plant at Niagra Falls, which needed its power to be transported over a large distance, that gave him his chance to prove AC.

A lot of Tesla’s work had to do with high voltages. He invented transformers that could take low alternating currents to high voltages, able to create sparks that spaned many feet through the air. His fascination was with natural electricity, as it can be found in lightening and the earth. Stick two poles in the ground (don’t have to be copper and zinc, because that would make a chemical battery), and you will find a potential between the electrodes, resulting from an uneven distribution of electrons in the earth. To Tesla the Earth was a vast reservoir of negative electrons, and the sky a sink for positive charge (because you can ionize it, ad electrons to gas molecules, and emit electrons as photon radiation).

A few years back I was looking into static electricity and found that a metal surface will lose charge in the sun. This is a well known phenomena, and it made me wonder how it could be. To me it seemed logical that electrons where being washed from the surface taking negative charge with them. It also occured to me that one could generate a current from the ground to a plate exposed to the sun. I let it rest until I read a patent of Tesla. He invented what he called “A method of Utilizing Radiant Energy”. It has a panel collecting radiant energy.

Tesla discovered the same potential source of charge as I did, but the electron was a recent discovery. His explanation was the following:

“The sun, as well as other sources of radiant energy, throws off minute particles of matte rpositively electrified, which ,impinging upon the plate P, communicate continuously an electrical charge to the same.”

and more correctly :

 “My own experiments and observations, however, lead me to conclusions more in accord with the theory heretofore advanced by me that sources of such radiant energy throw off with great velocity minute particles of matter which are strongly electrified, and therefore capable of charging an electrical conductor, even if not so, may at any rate discharge an electrified conductor either by carrying off bodily its charge or otherwise.”

So he thought charged particles where thrown off the conductor by radiant energy, which included sunlight, x-rays etc. Now this patent describes what I imagined earlier, and as some Tesla inventions have proven superior to methods in use I thought it worth a try to build a Tesla Solar Panel.

The cleaned up diagram of the Tesla patent looks like the drawing above. P is the panel, which should be metal, shiny, and well insulated (so it can accumulate a charge).  T and C combine into a condensor, a device that stores electric charge at two sides of a membrane. Today’s condensor/capacitors can hold a lot of charge, especially so called ultracapacitors. They are easy to come by. P is the ground plate. Here’s how we implemented the device.

The panel is a sheet of aluminium foil on glass (insulator) one wire runs from it to a capacitor. The wire is connected to the positive side, because the ‘panel’ will charge positive due to the loss of electrons. The ground side is negative. The more shiny the metal, the more electrons can be found on its surface.

Accordig to Tesla the capacitor could even be damaged by the charge accumulation:

this charging of the condenser may continue, as I have actually observed, almost indefinitely, even to the point of rupturing the dielectric.

We use a 63 volt capacitor.

To implement the ground plate we used a normal grounded AC plug, but we removed the 220 AC poles to make it a bit safer. This should be a real ground connection as good as it gets.

We measured the charge accumulation, the voltage over the capacitor after different intervals. It is clear the amount of voltage is tiny, in the millivolt range, but it did accumulate (measuring it made the voltage drop, so we measured at intervals).  I.2 millivolt after about 5 minutes from a 0.5 x 0.3 meter piece of foil not fully exposed to the sun. Not yet enough to drive a LED though.

It is clear the potential came from the charged capacitor. One can doubt with such small voltages but switching the poles did swith the sign of the voltage. The longer we waited the higher the voltage. These are small numbers but they do add up to usefull amounts in today’s environment of ultra low power devices. It is also unclear whether the power can be used to drive a mechanism that may accumulate more energy over time.

Improvements :

  1. Conduct in dry environment or even vacuum tube?
  2. Use copper or silver
  3. Concentrate radiation
  4. Does the incident angle of radiation matter?
  5. Perhaps creating a spiky panel will lose more electrons?
  6. What if you make the panel the condensor?

Clearly heating up the metal helps free more electrons. This is called thermionic emission. It is the basis of some designs of Concentrated Solar Power plants, where solar light heats up a Thermionic element that loses it’s electrons, turning negative. The thermionic converter reaches thermal efficiencies of up to 20%. The trick to increase the output is to remove the electrons away from the emission area (plate).

It should be possible to use metal roofs of buildings to produce power. It would require the insulation of the metal roof surface from the support with rubber or some other dielectric.










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Why Can’t we Get Away from Fossil Fuels?

The world is struggling to deal with our consumption of fossil fuels. Storms, droughts, floods, diseases, the diseasters are stacking up and becoming more frequent. Fossil fuels are to blame, and oil is one of the most important ones we use. Now suppose we where a restaurant, and we where using an ingredient, the meat, from a certain butcher, and guests kept getting sick on us, we would switch to another butcher. Why can’t we switch to another oil?

One could say there are several reasons for that, one of them is that there is no other oil. But biomass could supply oil in large quantities. Or we could make all logistics electric and we would not need any oil. This would require us to mark a moment in time that would be peak oil use and after that policies would steadily be pushing out oil/coal/gas from all activities. This is not happening.

We are not shifting away from fossil fuels, in fact the fossil fuel gas worked itself into the green fuel category. Total nonsense. The effort is to reach a certain percentage renewables per region, and not a promille more. The fossil fuel lobby is working hard to get new pipelines and gas drilling/fracking rights all the while adding trees to the diet of power plant fuels. Instead of a shift we see a gradual decline of living standards, movement of ideology to the right and always many attacks on wind turbines, solar panels, wave energy etc. etc. Where do fossil fuels get the damn wherewithall to influence so many people so automatically?

The simple reason is that our money system depends on it. Our credit system, the banks, they depend on fossil fuels to operate. Fossil fuels are not simply tradeable commodities and the price of oil is not determined by the market. You can remove any commodity from the market but not oil, coal and gas. Then the market grinds to a screeching halt and all hell breaks loose. Oil, coal and gas are pretending to be mere commodities, they are more than that, they are the oxygen of wealth production as we know it. Now you could say “Yes, we know” but there is something not right with this picture. It is the easy with which we attain oil, coal and gas. We get some money and go to the gas station, and voila, a tank full of irreplaceable fuel.

This is the miracle of the modern world. We are conditioned to see money as the gateway to everything, it is advertised as the thing to want and strive for, but clearly if someone with oil, coal and gas was not ready to sell their materials for this money it would be worthless.  How to make a Maserati without consuming coal, oil and gas? In fact, how to make almost anything without these resources, how to offer them in a shop, get them where the consumer is etc. etc. All these things require oil, coal and gas we get for mere paper money.

You can say that the oil producers gets money, and therefore can buy what is made with his/her oil. This would seem like a fair trade but it doesn’t occur. If oil,coal and gas producers would use all profit to buy all the goods made with their fuels, they would 1. Own everything 2. Be giving people money to buy more oil, coal and gas. They would be giving away their oil in return for us making stuff with it. As the combined production of the world are not all piling up in oil states we know this is not happening.

What is happening is that money ciculates in our economy as if people are creating products and services with next to no strain on resources. It is all happening as if the cost of fossil fuels is always acceptable. Some may know that 1. That is very strange, and 2. If the cost of fossil fuels would rise without an adequate response from the banks, society would sieze up.  Economist call this ‘a lack of price elasticity’. People are not themselves able to produce most things we enjoy because in most cases the use of fossil fuels is involved and nobody can make it. For some reason we do get to use it and that is a blessing, but one we need to recognize for what it is : One of the options. Because we don’t think about it correctly we don’t seem to feel strong about depending on it.

To blame for that illusion is money, we think it is valuable in itself, but it is only valuable because it is part of a system that quietly supplies us with essential fossil fuels. I call this system the Carboncredit system. It is a system ignored in economics, where oil, coal and gas are simple commodities subject to market forces. Economics is the theory that hides the real system underneath, the one that explains most of what happens in international politics. It has simple rules :

  1. If you can keep oil, coal and gas flowing you do at any cost. The more money spend on it, the more cashflow and oil, coal and gas revenues are generated (more war is fine as long as you win).
  2. If there is more oil,coal, gas you need to create more credit or it can’t be consumed (bought) and prices will drop.
  3. If there is less oil, coal, gas you need to restrict credit or demand will outpace supply and prices will rise.

There is no real middle road between rule 2 and 3 and a desire to preserve fossil fuels. The rules of economics and the carboncredit system don’t care to preserve fossil fuels, because the banks are always anxious for cashflow. Economics main rule is “Maximize the utilization of fossil fuel”.

The rules show that for the oil, coal and gas and banking industry it’s not really important whether there is war or peace. It is not important what is produced. The only thing that is important is that money remains the symbol of access to fossil fuels, so that we focus on it’s dynamics (economics) and not that of our fossil fuels supply (which we would quicly replace).

Meanwhile we wonder why renewables have such a hard time? Banks have to manage the carboncredit system according to the rules above to survive. The dynamics of renewables can only be of negative consequence to the stability of the carbon credit system. How about building a wind turbine? You need fossil fuels to do it and you require carbon credit? Banks are not eager to do that. Solar panels made with coal, reducing future demand for coal? No thank you please. You can never achieve CO2 reduction if you have to please the banks and make your renewable solutions as economically involved (high cash flow) as possible.

Banks need to control credit to go with the ‘flow’ of fossil fuels, especially oil. Now that oil is cheap for instance, they will grasp any opportunity to create credit, something usually done by creating a boom. The ECB has a nice suggestion this time : Print money, just like the US has done for almost a decade now. That’s a coordinated credit increase. One can also trigger a boom f,i. a dotcom boom, a housing bubble a fracking boom, palm oil boom, any old boom will do to get the cash flowing. Maybe a prime renewable real estate boom, that would make double sense because 1. It would restrict renewable development and 2. Facilitate the purchase and consumption of more fossil fuels. Patent value inflation is also a bank friendly way to create credit.  Banks can simply decide on monday to value elephant turds with millions, and thus create credit. But they have to keep an eye on the carboncredit rules.

Clearly if we don’t break away from the situation where banks decide about how much credit is brought in circulation, by whom (the people they borrow to) there is not going to be a change away from fossil fuels. The only solution to this situation is the creation of a separate system for credit based on renewable energy, alongside the institution of controls over where banks invest, not through tax deductions, but directly. A do and don’t as to where credit is created, so that credit is spend on fossil fuels in a way that makes us less dependent on credit that can buy fossil fuels. We written about this in dutch in our piece ‘The Coming Emancipation of the Tax Office’

So now we know why we can’t move away from fossil fuels we can adopt two rules that will break the carboncredit spell.

  1. A parallel credit system for renewables, with different rules and the tax office as issuer of credit. Investments in renewable energy sources don’t have to be payed off.
  2. Clear rules where banks can invest, excluding activities that keep us dependent on fossil fuels.
  3. Focus on fossil fuel replacement and energy autonomy, even though cooperation between countries could work very well.
  4. Reduce waste through restriction of market dynamics (temporarily). Focus on maximizing life and wellbeing in a region instead of ‘economic growth’. L-accounting.

This won’t meet with approval of banks. The way to tackle this disapproval is to create one bank out of all banks and put a combined government at the head of it, for instance the UN. A UN bank for maximizing life on Earth f.i. The power of banks has been their ability to pretend they are competing, that they are separate. All this can be true if they own real assets, but if they only own money then it is nonsense as all banks creating a currency have to follow the same carboncredit rules.

Ultimately there will be much more energy to create wealth than we have today, so things will be better than under the fossil fuel rations we fight over today. To transition however we need to take the reigns from the perspective of the future order, and in that order banks are of no importance whatsoever and the carboncredit system will no longer exist.