Monthly Archives: March 2015

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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. We will check it against experts and until we do we can’t guarantee it is correct.

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 8 hours = .4 kWh
  • TV & Laptop = 200 Watt x 6 hours = 1.2 kWh
  • Cooking = 1000 Watt x 0.7 hours = 0.7 kWh
  • Total use if 4.7 kWh per 24 hours

Total you need to have stored 4.7 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).

We also have a fridge that draws a constant 100 Watt. This is 8.3 amps, so trying to get a battery of 83 Ah would make sense. The battery however needs to be charged during the day which means it has be able to charge at a relatively high rate, a higher rate than the discharge rate. Charging has to be done at 10% of the Ah capacity of a (typical gel) battery, Lets say we take twice the 83 Ah we would need, then we have 166 Ah and can charge at 16.6 amps. But because of charging losses we need to do that for 14 hours! That is 10 for the battery and 40% more for charging losses. We don’t have 14 hours of sunlight, only about say 10 hours.  So in those 10 hours the max charging amps can not exceed 10% of the battery Ah, and the total charge must be at least 2.4 kWh (for 24 hours of fridge time) in the relevant season.

3. Panel sizing

The above shows there’s a complex interaction between battery capacity and solar panel size considering the max charging current and varying panel output. It would be nice if we could plot the panel output and charge state of the batteries over the course of 24 hours for different seasons. Add to that temperature effects on both solar panels and batteries. A way to simplify all of this is to take the max load on the batteries (54 amps) and take that as a battery capacity. Then size solar panels to charge it with max 54 amps (10% of battery capacity) and make sure the total 24 hour usage in kWh times 1.5 is delivered during daytime.

So the pack is sized for its peak use at 540 Ah. The panels must be sized to deliver the kWh times 1.5 at a minimum (so  in the lowest season). From the 24 hour spreadsheet we see the total kWh = 4.7 per 24 hours. 4.7 kWh times 1.5 is 7 kWh. Using a PV calculator we can size the system for the location to do that, deliver 7 kWh minimum. With a system of 1600 Wp we have more than 7 kWh delivered from march to september, the holiday season. This is for panels with an output of ~38 volt. This site gives you an idea how the output of panels varies. From the 1600 Wp size we can deduce that at its (theoretical) peak this means 1600 Watt output, divided by 38 is 42 amps (1200/38).

 Solar system max amps = Wp /  Panel voltage

 From the max 42 amps the panels deliver we can deduce we need at least 420 Ah in batteries. This is between the 135Ah and the 540Ah we got before. Sounds like we found a sweet spot here.

4. Charger selection

The solar charger must be able to handle the peak current of 42 amps. The more advanced the charger, the more you get out of your system and the longer the batteries will last.

5. Wiring

Wiring needs to be able to take the currents. 42 Amps is a lot of current, so wires need to be thick. Most people are used to high voltage AC that delivers power at lower currents (power is current times voltage). In a 12 Volt system the wires need to be thicker and as short as possible. For a list of wire diameters and ampere capacity look here.

So to recap our above system we have 420 Ah in batteries, 1600 Wp in solar panels and a solar charger that has a 40 amp output. Looking at a charger sizer calculator we can have 3 strings of 2 panels of 280 Wp totalling 1680 Wp. With a max 100 Volt / 50 Amp charger we have a viable configuration. But the 50 amps dictate a larger battery size. An available charger with lower amp output is 30 amps, which is to low. So we need to increase the battery pack to 500 Ah (or shop for other chargers). This configuration should be able to perform the set task.

We will look for a better way to estimate solar sizing as the above is not that satisfactory. Rule of thumb seems to be:

  1. Peak amp usage x 10 -> min battery Ah
  2. Total 24h kWh use x 1.5 for location dictates solar panel size
  3. Charger chosen for max panel output in amps
  4. String configuration (how panels are connected) adjusted to charger voltage needs

A good source of calculaors is Victron

 

 

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

Update : Hoger Radon niveau bij Fracking boringen

Update : Bron die vervuild water en olie spuit in Albanie

Update : “Vernal’s rate of neonatal mortality appears to have climbed to 6 times normal”

Update : Conclusive link between fracking and aquifer contamination

Update : Schaliegas bedrijf beboet voor fraude en zwendel

Update : Shale gas is turned into plastic generating even more waste

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 : Schaliegas veroorzaakt een radioactief afval probleem http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-15/radioactive-waste-booms-with-oil-as-new-rules-mulled.html

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 levert de eerste 15 jaar niks op

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

Update : Schaliegas gebruikt al het water in Texas video

Update : More methane emitted by fracking than claimed.

Update : Mexico sells its water to fracking companies while it suffers drought.

Update : Hoge concentraties arsenicum, selenium gelinkt aan schaliegas bronnen.

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 : Methaan lekkage van schaliegaswinning maakt het vervuilender dan kolen.

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 : Mensen die benedenwinds van schaliegas gebieden wonen worden ernstig ziek.

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

Update : Brouwers keren zich tegen Schaliegas. Vitens waarschuwd voor schaliegas

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.

Fracking Fluids May Migrate to Aquifers, Researcher Says may? WTF

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
had ceased.” 

Probleem 3. Radioactiviteit

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.” 

Radioactivity and Shale Gas 

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.”

Scientific Study Links Flammable Drinking Water to Fracking.

“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

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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

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

> In 2025 50% of children will be autistic due to exposure to Monsanto pesticides

>Endocrine disruptors like Roundup cause $175 Billion in healthcare cost in Europe annually

>CEO Shapiro of Monsanto says its methods are unsustainable 

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?

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 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.