Monthly Archives: September 2020



 

Brandgevaar in Zonnecentrales

Het recente Symposium Coöperatieve Energieopslag geeft inzicht in een paar concrete energie opslag projecten die in Nederland succesvol zijn afgerond. Leerpunten zijn oa dat de netbedrijven niks doen (tenzij ze het zelf van plan zijn) en ook niet zijn in te schakelen om een locatie aan de rand van het net van grid connectie te voorzien, omdat de finaciering via SDE meestal vervallen is voordat het proces van aanleg is afgerond (of op gang gekomen). Dit is misschien expres geweest. Opslag wordt gekaderd als middel om meer te doen met bestaande grid capaciteit, ten koste van hernieuwbare opbrengst. Natuurlijk zijn grid en opslag vijanden, maar wordt opslag gewoon nog veel te duur gemaakt. Tesla doet dit veel beter.

Panelen gegroepeerd om brand veiligheids reden (op de daken worden de regels niet toegepast)

Een interessant punt in de presentaties is dat de brandweer iets te zeggen heeft over de realisatie. Ze geven aanwijzingen over de indeling van de panelen in oppervlaktes van max 2500 m2. Dit is omdat dat het grootste oppervlak is dat ze mogen laten uitbranden. U leest het goed, ze maken deze indeling en vervolgens gaan ze niks doen. De brandweer vind dat electrische branden niet te blussen zijn omdat de panelen stroom blijven leveren.

Zonnepanelen die overdag in brand vliegen door bv. kortsluiting zijn idd lastig te blussen als er stroom blijft lopen. Een brandweer die er water op spuit maakt het probleem alleen maar erger, en kan zelfs explosiegevaar creeren als er waterstof ontstaat. Het gekke is dat andere types branden ook lastig kunnen zijn, neem bv. petroleum branden. Daar kun je ook geen water op spuiten, dan spat de olie alle kanten op. Daar zijn schuimblus middelen voor ontwikkeld.

Uit mijn IT ervaring weet ik dat in een serverroom, omdat er veel kunstof wordt gebruikt en flink wat electrische capaciteit aanwezig is (een rack kan meerdere kWs gebruiken) niet met water kan worden geblust. Er wordt een gas dat FM200 heet gebruikt. Vast een fluor gas dat ozon schade veroorzaakt. Het vervangt de zuurstof en de brand stopt. Mensen die in de server ruimte zijn als dit gas wordt verspreid hebben wel pech. Dit is niet iets dat je bij een zonneweide zou kunnen gebruiken, maar is slechts een voorbeeld van een oplossing voor het electrische branden probleem.

Het lijkt me ook niet slim om een zonneweide in te delen in maximaal uitbrandbare oppervlakken. Dan zeg je in feite “Als er brand ontstaat doen we niks en ben je het grootst mogelijke deel van de zonneweide kwijt”. Tussen de delen kunnen wel barrieres worden opgericht, brandschermen, maar waarom grote brokken maken als kleiner ook kan? Het lijkt of er niet veel onderzoek gedaan is naar hoe brand zich door een zonnepark verspreid. Het lijkt ons logischer een groot aantal kleine compartimenten te maken.

De brandweer zou ook kunnen aandringen op onderzoek naar beveiligings methoden. Er zouden bv. hitte geactiveerde stroom onderbrekers kunnen worden bedacht die tussen de paneelconnectors geschakeld worden, of tussen groepen. Er zou een zwart schuim bedacht kunnen worden dat de panelen blindeert zodat ze geen stroom meer produceren tijdens een brand.

Het meest suffe vind ik dat er uiteindelijk niks gedaan wordt bij een brand (behalve de 2500 m2 afschermen). Die ben je dan dus kwijt. Als dat toch zo is dan lijkt het zinvoller om kleinere groepen te maken. Dit komt dan weer in de knel met het land oppervlak dat veel te kostbaar is of waarvan het gebruik voor zonneenergie omstreden is.

Agrovoltaics kan een oplossing zijn, niet denken ‘zonneweide of landbouw’ maar ‘zonneweide met landbouw’!

Het lijkt dat het netbedrijf nog veel te veel invloed heeft op de ontwikkeling van zonne energie productie in NL. De capaciteit van de centrales wordt in de netcapaciteit gepast, en een project wordt afgewezen als de centrale niet tijdens pieken uitschakelt. De piekstroom kan wel worden opgeslagen voor gebruik op een ander moment, maar dit is nog veel te duur, en nog volledig onder beheer van het netbedrijf.

Het symposium laat min of meer zien dat de markt, het netbedrijf en de brandweer allemaal bezig zijn de realisatie van dit soort projecten te vertragen en lastiger te maken. SDE kan wellicht expres termijnen hebben gekregen om te zorgen dat het geld -niet- naar grid uitbreiding gaat, maar dan zou het handig zijn als de regels wat liberaler werden zodat de invetiviteit van burgers, bedrijven en cooperaties meer kans krijgt.



 

Humanibots

Humans are low bandwith communicating self preserving autonomous robots. A human can engange in stabile repeated behaviour if the environmental factors are constant, but they evolved to deal with constant novelty in their environment due to the constantly changing nature – of nature. We could call humans ‘Humanibods’ or ‘Androids’, ‘Biobots’ just to accentuate their true nature.

I think it is best to think of humans this way on some occasions. We seem to reject the idea that our behaviour is fully predictable, but for the largest part it is. There is basically nothing we do without a reason or cause, either internal or external. If we want to break that pattern we have to do it consciously (so we actually don’t), if we do it spontaneously we are considered “mad”. Go into the street and shout “banana!”, you will be sane if you do it because of this post. You will be insane if you do it without any prior thought. You’ll be accused of having fruity Gilles de la Tourette, and draw quite a lot of attention.

If we super rarely do anything we have not been taught or have not observed in others, then it follows we are programmed by our environment and our experiences. We are predisposed to repeat behaviour we have had succesfully or that we have associated with succes and safety. These statements are very vanilla and nothing new, but how much freedom do we have to divert from our programming, our repertoire of behaviour which can be quite limited.

In fact our lives when young for a large part turn around the illusion we will make a unique impression on the world with our behaviour, we will not be like everybody else. We are unique this is undeniable, but we allow ourselves to be programmed by media constantly. This is in part because we experience constant mild anxiety over the lack of real support for our lives we own.

People that live in city appartments know in their bones that there’s nothing to eat unless they get food or money from someone. Even with a big home and garden most people don’t dream of getting rid of such dependencies. Owning land and living of it is not highly regarded. We thus have to trust employers and pensions, abstractions, promises. The tough thing is to distrust the same suits you have seen since you where born. Us ‘Humanibots’ need a change in what they base their behaviour on to change their behaviour.

Now there are plenty of people that analyze the world, and they do not look at the exterior of a politician or functionary. They look at what they expose to the public and judge that, and either bond or abandon themselves based on that. The average humanibot however has not developed an ability to distinquish, lacks as strong rational basis for behaviour and is prone to fall for what is directly observable. Our brain immitates what we try to understand, so if the influence is impressive we quickly internalize it.

Humanibots are also hindered by the effects of emotions. Emotions are the ‘soundtrack’ under our experience, they can induce learning and forgetting. Intense emotions can make us forget what came before. Emotional experiences are existential, they take precedence over whatever we are involved in. They signify a change in our environment, our dependencies. Our minds are (usually) changed by our emotional states, and anger is one of them. When anger is aroused we forget what came before. We also spend our ‘anger budget’. It is harder for us to remember what we ourselves thought would be good for us if we have been angry about some distraction.

What the current economy tries to do is keep us in that place where we consume all our (financial) resources and accept the absolute minimum security. The news cycle is full of fear and cause for anger, perferably both not related to anything real. The real information, the observables of what other people do in our system of control (government), is available but the minds of many are to preoccupied with simple easy to understand things that they don’t register.

One would have to investigate how reliable people are in certain circumstances, and then how dangerous they are. This is the rub. A Humanibot that is comfortable and misinformed in a way that does not hurt him/her can be very dangerous. We see that now with the Corona epidemic. I go to a laundromat place and the owner of it does not care about Corona. He comes up close to me when he starts the machine, seemingly conscious of the risk but not caring. He was misinformed, and he is dangerous to society. There is no law to persuade him to behave otherwise (except perhaps a mask wearing law).

We have a director of our dutch airport Schiphol that worked for Shell for years as its CEO. He sounds really nice and sane, but his leadership is insane if you consider the danger of emissions. He hopes to maximize air travel and believes in lies that are hard to recognize as such. Other people with less discriminative minds will listen to him, his timbre and manner of speaking and recognize a honest hard working deserving man trying to save his company. He creates a bond. People support him.

Inside the head of this man lives another reason to say what he does, it is the desire to profit at all cost, the desire to deliver cashflow for his previous environment, Shell, and a desire for himself to appear high status and in control. His mind is sane, but he doesn’t show that side of himself. What he exposes is his insanity, and this is copied by people because they can’t recognize it while they can recognize his humanity.

Now imagine you where standing in a road with 12 people, chained together. 6 of you had earplugs in and headphones on and given smartphones with a good movie to pass the time. 6 of you where just standing around without anything. Then from behind you hear a big truck honking its horn to warn you to get off the road. You look around and the truck is moving fast, no sign of slowing down. Would you disrub the peace of the six mesmerized by their screens, not hearing a thing? What if they protest and reject your calls to move off the road? What if they fight you?



 

Tesla Battery Day

Tesla held its 2020 shareholder meeting where it also announced progress and plans regarding its battery production. Historically it used off the shelve batteries, then it started to make its own in cooperation with Samsung, and now it makes them in house doing research on every aspect of the production chain. The aim is to find a method to produce TerraWathours of batteries ASAP because batteries are the limiting factor to the adoption of Electric Vehicles.

The innovations and improvements are amongst others

A new way to make batteries that have multiple tabs, or [single] tabless. The advantage is in the production speed, the tab doesn’t need to be attached, but also in output power, as now the path between electrode and the output is shorter and has less resistance.

In a ‘tabless’ battery the entire side of the membrane is a tab, so electrons can leave the membrane much easier. The trick was to make a cut copper strip that could be auotmatically folded inwards without shorting the battery.

Tesla will use Silicon as an electrode, and developed a method to encapsulate this brittle metal in such a way that it does not crumble and lose contact on charging and discharging. They will encapsulate the silicon in a conducting polymer. Silicon is a much better absorber of lithium than grafite.

Tesla has looked at the raw materials processing and redesigned it to its bare minimal steps. Industry prepares their materials for general trade, but Tesla has a specific use for it and has rethought it. This saves a lot of cost, logistics and pollution. This also reduces the size of the factory as a lot of work went into making the paste and recycling the water.

Tesla wants to create different batteries for different purposes, so that the high nickel high energy batteries can be used in semi-trucks and the low energy density lower nickel ones in stationary storage or low end cars.

The mining and processing of Nickel can be a lot simpler

Batteries consistes of layers separated by a membrane. Ions move from one side to the other as the batteries are charged and discharged. The preparation of these layers has been done in a wet proces, as a paste that gets sintered. Tesla plans to change this to a dry proces that gets pressed onto the substrate.

A dry paste is pressed in to a film

Last but not least Tesla has introduced a new method of constructing the base carriage of the car. The new batteries (their cilindrical casings) will become a structual part of the car, providing stiffness with the weight more centered than before. To achieve this the basic buildup has three parts, a front a back and a battery pack in between.

Heat modelling of Tesla’s aluminium casting process

All these innovations and changes will cut the battery cost by 69% and will be realized in the next 3 years. Its great because a battery plant can be much smaller now, and will cost less. We would like to see every country with a couple of billions to spare to build a Tesla battery factory.



 

The Joule Currency

It is clear to me that we need a currency that exists independent of the current fossil credit banking system. I wrote about the tree currency system the EU needs to rid itself of fossil banking occupation (Euro, Auro, Joule revisited). The reason is that as long as we use Euro, Dollars or Yens to trade renewable energy we are in the same monetary space as fossil fuels. Because fossil fuel production is costless the price of fossil fuels is arbitrary, and thus it is impossible for renewables to develop a true relationship with the price of products.

Fossil fuels do not have a monetary cost to produce. The production proces can be facilitated by delivering or promising fossil fuels

Just to illustrate, a piece of electronics from China can cost 2 Euro by airfreight, no shipping cost. This is because as long as banks print money oil companies will deliver the oil, kerosine, plastic, gas to whomever holds the cash. The cost of a 2 Euro products is in reality way higher, but the waste of fossil fuels in the process of producing and shipping it to me remains hidden. The fact remains : Nobody can make fossil fuels, they are a gift!

We need a new currency to develop a new economy around renewable energy, the ‘Roboeconomy’

To enable a separate powerbase to develop we need to introduce a new currency to trade renewable energy. We find the name Joule highly appropriate for such currency. This is because the Joule value of energy is ultimately what we need to do work. A KiloWattHour or kWh is an amount of Joules, its 1000 Joule per second times (60 x 60) seconds = 3600000 Joules or 3.6 MegaJoules.

A Joule can not be traded for Euros

Every currency needs rules. This is a big mistake in the crypto sphere. Bitcoin has no rules, the only reason Bitcoin works is because the amount is limited, because energy companies like the mining revenue, because it has a true administrative utility (at what cost though? Ripple is cheaper) and inertia. The Joule currency will not be a detached crypto coin, it will be a specifically allocated trading token for renewable energy.

A joule is not a free floating crypto coin. It has rules, and it can be implemented in many ways.

Money is always an energy credit

The basic idea of the Joule is that you want to be able to sell your energy, as an owner of a solar farm, wind farm, wave energy farm etc. To do this people can buy Joules from the owner of the energy source. Those Joules can be used to pay for the energy but also to buy goods from people who will accept the Joule coin. Anything made with electricity can be bought with the Joule, even though the actual value of an individual Joule varies greatly. There has to be an algorithm to compute the actual energy value of Joules, especially in the beginning.

We forget sometimes our money has wildly varying value based on our location. Gasoline prices show that : A mile of driving can differ in price by 40% in Europe, or conversely, the local value of the Euro can do the same!

Storage

Storage of electricity will greatly facilitate the usefullness and liquidity of Joules. One can imagine a wind turbin owner delivering energy to a central battery where people can buy the electricity (or rather pay for it) in Joules that all have a similar value. Ideally a network of energy stores develops so that the Joule is more or less equal value anywhere, even if it is not available everywhere.

Taxation

The government plays a large role in the creation of Joules. It is possible to imagine an automatic process to allocate them, but it is more likely the tax office will do it. The reason is that the government taxes productivity in the land (with the claimed goal to share this wealth to reduce social tensions). With the Joule it will be very easy to do this. The producer of renewable energy is entitled to Joules, but the tax office takes a portion of them as tax. So let’s say a person generates 5000 kWh a year, that becomes 18000 MJ (mega Joule, which can be simplified to Joule), so 18000 J. Of this the government takes 10% (but the number is decided in politics and with regards of the social needs) and the owner gets to loan out the remaining 16200 J, maybe add it to a Joule bank. The value of the taxated Jouls varies from place to place, but so do the needs of people.

Lifecycle of the Joule

A Joule exists only so lang as it has not been used to buy energy. So the producer of energy gets Joules, and can borrow them or spend them against products and services. It makes no sense for the producer to buy energy with the Joules, because he/she has energy to sell.

Anyone accepting Joule can buy energy or products sold for Joule. This can be any product, its up to the seller. Whoever makes products needs energy to do that, so say the pizza restaurant sells pizza’s for Joules and uses those Joules to buy the eletricity for the oven, refigiration, lighting, heating etc. These Joule return to the energy producers, and there they evaporate.

Our current money system tries its best to hide a very similar lifecycle but for fossil fuels. The energy companies claim to make profit and have cost etc. In reality oil companies have no use for the profits they make. The reason is that if they spend the profits, this will cause more oil consumption. All the money keeps returning to them! Iran tried to sell oil for gold, but this stopped because all the gold in the world would end up in Iran!

Structure of the Roboeconomy

A renewables based economy (so called roboeconomy) is thus a patchwork of energy producers, Joule currency circulating and wealth being produced. Regions with no producers can recieve shipments of stored energy, this can be mobile batteries or methan or hydrogen or ammonia or ethanol produced elsewhere.

Many people will however have their own energy sources, so the demand for Joules may be low in affluent places. Life will be cheap there. Right now we see that life is cheap in places where nature absorbs a lot of sunlight in a way humans can use. We will see renewables join nature in creating an evironment that supports human life and requires almost no effort (especially when we use technology and AI to assist us).

Joule banks

As described above anyone with renewable resources can become a Joule bank. They are opposed to the existing Euro, Dollar etc. banks. The Joule can not be created out of thin air like the other currencies. No instruments can be based on them. Administration of the Joule should be done by the state, the tax office preferably. It should form a separate ecosystem from the banking system so that it can form a separete power base, which is the purpose of the currency. It should be possible to have Joules and Euro’s and Auros (see my other piece on the gold currency) in some app.

It makes no sense though to convert Joules to Euro as Euro’s can be printed at will, while Joules can not. When the Joule comes into existence the Euro and other currencies become limited for fossil energy and can no longer be used to purchase renewable energy by law.

Development of the Joule Currency

Right now energy trade is strictly regulated in most places where fossil credit banks are in power. You may not notice but ‘economics’ and ‘is good for the economy’ are from the fossil credit lexicon. They are almost never good for renewables or being climate responsible. Banks put producers of wind farms into serious debt, so that their currency, the Euro or Dollar, is used to trade the energy. The losses due to transportation are hidden, the cost of delivery of methane (gas) can be enormous, simply because it requires a permanent medium to travel through (gas bottles are way cheaper).

To develop the Joule currency energy trade must become free. It can be taxed by VAT (although I don’t know if that makes any sense). A practical way in which energy trade is free is through the use of mobile batteries. Most storage methods are lossy. hydrogen wastes up to 70%, so not desirable. As batteries proliferate and become cheaper we can see them used to move electricity around.



 

Police Violence in Demonstrations

This is off topic it may seem, but it is not if you believe like I do that the destabilization of society is a strategy to keep selling fossil fuels. After all the Koch Brothers are funding Trump, and they are not telling him to quite or make some kind of peace. In fact using fossil fuels is kind of a redneck thing, as is racism and blowing black smoke into Tesla driver’s faces.

Keystone XL riots

Demonstrations are turning increasingly violent, all across the world, when they are anti-fossil, anti-banking, and fossil and banking have their own security details, heavily armed in the US to guard the KeystoneXL pipeline for instance..

Police violence in Germany against protesters of a new road. They bruised elbows, caused bloody noses, head injury and one person fainted.

Up until now the violence seemed to be meant to hurt the image of the protesters. The Yellow Vest semi-climate protests where stained by the violence. Cops in France where aiming for the eyes, more than 47 people lost sight in one eye. But it seems we are seeing a new attitude, which is more in line with the bullying governments (which is not really applicable to Germany although people are expected to behave there).

NYPD getting money.. for what?

During the ‘Occupy Wallstreet’ days it came to light that Goldman Sachs had made a big donation to the NYPD. It seems that police department discovered the value of its protection. Of course we would never compare this to the business of Vito Corleone, but there are shadows, also in other police forces, in Britain for example, who’s police force also trains repressigve regimes. It seems we have corporate keepers not law enforcement. In Holland it is widely announced crimes are not solved. Why?

Corleone is doing a bit of good here, just like the police?

I think there should be no demonstrations. Why expose yourself publicly to infiltration and police violence. Of course there is no way to prevent some actions except by being in the way. This has worked with fracking protests in Britain. Then if people are getting in the way, what is the police thinking? This is a fight they can NOT win.

Lukashenko in Belarus has stooped soo low as to kidnap random women outside protests to (apparently) terrorize them

The whole idea of protests is to show there is a different opinion, or to show there is no support for some idea or event. You can never beat that down. It’s an idea, you can’t destroy it unless you destroy the person that has the idea. In general the idea comes from a developed sense of morality, in short, someone is going to get hurt if the thing protested against happens.

Settlers attack palestinians

Now if he police go underground like they tried in Belarus, but also the US, where they kidnap people in anonymous vehicles with balaclavas on, or worse, run over people in their cars (this is something that some states are trying to make LEGAL!) because obstructing traffic is now a capital offense, this will have a response. An example of this is happening in Isreal, where settlers attack property of palestians at night, and do worse, like simply kill them. The IDF has to step in at their own risk, to bomb the same Palestinians a day later. We are all thinking this can’t happen here..

Police beat these people who where just standing around. In Holland

The US police force has been going off the rails for some time. They have been confiscating cash from people’s cars for some time now. Movies show that they are a group that protects their own, and this is not strange as they are put in the worst place in society, closest to other people with bad tempers and guns. Money only goes so far. They need to at least be respected to keep doing that job, and then of course there are ‘bad apples’. Being the ones to face violent infiltrators (and also supplying them) to protests is a traumatizing experience. They get stoked and enjoy the adrenalin.

Muslims rioting

The general cause of all this mayham is the financialization of everything. The money dependence of so many people. Many in cities can’t sustain themselves, but are not given the means to pay for what they need. The mayors try to reduce violence but the media are payed to drive division by the usually right wing groups that don’t believe in democracy, only in suckers you can confuse and exploit.

Right wing politicans are never democrats. They don’t believe in democracy. They should never be allowed to run for any office. Of course they say things people expect from democrats, so its super hard to filter them out. Good indicator is whether they lie, because as anti-democratic people they have to.

The police goes crazy because it is supposed to fight drug use but banks profit greatly from the drug cashflow and loansharking in bad neighborhoods. So they feel there is no point in maintaining a moral standard (at least on an individual basis). This is not cynical its the reality.

Unfair punishments at demonstrations lead to civil war

So what is a demonstrator to think? Two things 1. Go home or 2. Go underground. There is no point whatsoever to face armed police on some battle ground. No protester for a specific cause has the intention to fight with a person that can be his neighbour. Police are humans, they don’t like to beat the crap out of anybody (I hope). So if the issue is seriously enough now you have covert actions. These actions have to be effective against the thing protested. It may be for attention, but if people seeking attention get beat down to, it will be for concrete results.

A healthy policeman or woman will suffer from having to harm the people they trained to protect. It takes assholes to do that.

What police action is causing to grow is the desire to do things covertly and effectively against whatever is protested. Maybe a group agrees to go to a gas station at night and destroy it such that it can’t sell fossil fuels the next day. There is hardly a way for police to prevent that, and frankly that’s not what they are for. The only means to protect against that the state has at the moment is phone tapping and perhaps preventive arrests. These kind of actions can escalate if idiots are being told the covert actions are against their livelihoods or some other lie.

This man and his wife thought they had the right to aim a fire arm at people that might take their stuff. At night they can legally shoot anyone who enters their home. Question is : Why would anyone want to?

The art of government is to create and maintain a peacefull and cooperative population. If you don’t know how (like Trump) you create a patchwork of alienated people that are deciding to 1. Stick with their own and 2. Make anyone that they don’t like go away. Some black families have decided to buy their own land and create a black homeland for themselves. This is segregation, Apartheid, because the leadership has allowed prejudice and injustice to exist. This was to be expected under dumb uncaring leadership.

What do you do if your kids can be safe in the city? Create your own homeland!

I expect, especially in the less well informed and less economically successfull regions, that minorities will start to carve out their own niche, and will be fought by people who don’t like to give up their power.

I expect protests for widely carried moral cause to go underground and become impossible to fight. It some places this will mean politics yields, in others this will mean repression (places where the supressive impulse is already in the leadership). Holland has politicians with supressive instincts, total anti-democrats, and the more used we get to harsh treatment of people the easier it is for them to propose this and get support from other groups. The people are divided, this means a leader can now pit the groups against each other, based on racism, religion etc.

What is the solution?

The best is for people to spread out if they can’t get along. Deportation to another state, another address. This would have to be 100% transparent. Of course there is a financial component, and this is where I would say : Build renewable energy sources, then you have all the energy to do whatever you need. Energy is money and vice versa.

People themselves may choose to concentrate and separate. Blacks will avoid places racists and dangerous cops are, and racist and dangerous cops will not go to black neighborhoods. The level of intolerance is set to a higher setting, and this is bad for everybody who simply wants to live a nice life.

We think that it is the job of a government to give in to people who are ready to fight for their cause, if the changes they ask for are not harming anyone else (financial interests are not important!). A normal police force can not suppress true moral indignation. If it tries it will be defeated.



 

Telsa’s Zinc-Air Strategy

Tesla wants to speed up the adoption of electric transportation. It has tried this by developing innovative vehicles using Lithium Ion batteries and it has improved on that technology in house with their own battery form factor, new tabless batteries, reduced Cobalt use. But it seems this strategy is not moving fast enough.

Pantent 10763477

Now it seems to be rethinking its battery chemistry, and it seems the option Zinc-Air is considered. Zinc is a metal that rusts really fast, so it develops a coating of zinc oxide on its surface, that stops further corrosion. This is also the case with Lithium and Alumium. Zinc is super abundant and cheap in the world. The battery pack can ‘breath’ oxygen from the ouside air, and this means the design of the battery pack will be different, and other things as I will explain below.

Zinc-Air batteries are asy to make..

Zinc-Air batteries are so called primary batteries though, you can’t recharge them. That means that if you use them your car turns into a brick when they are used up. The funny thing is that Tesla has been looking at and revisiting a solution to that drawback : The semi-automatic battery swap.

Battery swap installation for Tesla’s

Tesla has apparently kept battery swappability alive, and it is working on a new type of swap station. That means it could eventually swap depleted Zinc-Air batteries out for recycling. Even though the weight of Zinc-Air batteries is higher, the swappability will mean a smaller battery can suffice.

Zn-air battery has received the attention because besides of having a higher theoretical energy density (1.3 kWh kg−1) compare to the current energy storage systems , zinc is abundant in nature, environmentally safe, and can be handled safely in oxygen and humid atmosphere. (source)

This may be one of the secrets revealed on the upcoming Battery Day on september 22th 2020 (click to visit the livestream). For stationary storage Zinc-Air is not usefull, because one would have to replace batteries all the time. Maybe a design can be developed to make Zn-Air rechargeable, but one of the reasons the energy density is high is because Oxygen -really- likes Zinc!

Will the Tesla Semi have Zinc-Air batteries?

So will we see SEMI trucks run 80 miles and swap out at automatic stations? Some think Tesla should! It would certainly make the process cheaper and thus more easily accepted!



 

Pay to Play for Climate Politics

We are seeing a billion dollar campaign run for Donald Trump. His messages are always sponsored, and Koch (oil) industries is one of the major ones. The situation in the US is crazy, voters have to pay to help their candidate tell other voters to vote for them, at a huge cost. The US has only ~350 Million citizen and many of them can’t vote, so the money going around is insane.

Amount raised by candidates, so far: $2,887.4 million (source) that is 8,5 dollars per US citizen

Wouldn’t it work much better if voters would pay the candidate of choice directly? And if they made life for candidates they hated expensive.

The problem is the media channels and laws that dictate who can spead information. Maybe those laws are as imporant as the voting laws. Channels like Fox News that are conveniently placed and have attractors like sports content to lure people in and basically full their head with nonsense.

If we start a media channel online to vent the most popular opinions where people voted with their wallet all the time. You hear someone speak, you think “That makes sense” and then you pay for that person to speak some more. The channel just airs based on the financial status of the person, and money is used to make the channel attractive.

Would this work? Maybe because many smart people will fund science oriented people to speak the truth, and they would be heard. Now we hear mainly the banking and corporate interests and they block out other voices even if they have public support.



 

Emergency Land Use Laws

Land on Earth is not used optimally when dealing with climate change. Forest is cleared and the land full of stumps is ignored for years, because it is no longer valuable to the owner. Deserts are huges swaths of land that nobody is interested in, yet with the freedom to do anything you can bring them back to life. Land speculation locks up enormous amounts of land.

The housing market does the same thing. Empty houses occupy unused land. Nobody has any advantage from it, except perhaps the owner who hopes its price will appreciate. As banks constantly work to increase home prices its a no brainer to own property even if you don’t use it. This actually helps increase the price of property so there is a positive feedback, the less free land/property, the more worthwhile it becomes to hoard it.

Climate change needs to be fought, and those willing to put in the effort should not be obstructed by speculative ownership serving banks (the hope for more money serves the power of banks in the future) or economic ‘monculture’ single purpose ownership of land. Banks now own all the land, they raise a land tax on almost everybody (called ‘mortgage’). This is unjust because humans evolved on Earth, and have a right to its use, while banks are an artifact and have no need for it. You can run a bank from a computer suspended under a baloon. No Earth needed!

” If a man had let an arable field to a(nother) man for cultivation, but he did not cultivate it, turning it into wasteland, he shall measure out three kur of barley per iku of field. (29) “ (one example of not appreciating wasting land from 4000 year old law)

I think we should have a basic law which is akin to that of ancient times, the oldest written law known to man. I would make a new destinction. The old law was about productive use of land. If a land owner does not work his/her land and it lies fallow, anyone who does work it becomes the owner after a while. This was a rule to maximize wealth creation and possibly avoid people denying each other land like banks are doing today.

Such ownership law will be hard to push thru in a world where verybody believes and serves bank rule so desperately, it may require private funds, and groups may start buying land to prevent it from becoming speculative material (which may however trigger speculation).

The second law would be that if land can be used for alternative purposes, and it does not hinder the plans of the land owner, that use must be allowed. The use must be defined to avoid idiotic ‘uses’ like turning a desert into a sand scuplture museum. Another way to put it is that if 20 people come together and register for using a piece of land they don’t own for a wealth creating or climate combatting purpose, this must be allowed. That makes it more democratic.

The Roboeconomy, which is the next economy that is 100% renewables powered and that uses AI and robots a lot, will be different in the sense that activities can happen at next to no cost. A solar electric self sharpening lawn mower can run for months without any cost. If it is designed right and no accidents happen you maybe need to replace the blades but that is a completely different story from a gasoline powered one (where you also have to do that).

A roboeconmic tree planting system could be fully automatic, solar powered, using drones that drop pellets, remote controlled, self repairing etc. The roboeconomic economy is now developing with 100% battery recycling and other important elements. The control infrastructure is also being put into orbit (Starlink ao) so that even the remotest place can have autonomous machines doing important work to combat the rising CO2 and methane concentrations. Solar PV is dropping in cost. TinyML, micro AI is being developed. The tools are there to make much more and much better use of land, but the obstacle is BANK ownership and speculation.

A law that allows use of land owned by others should be part of emergency rules across the planet. There should be criteria set so that this does not open up the world to rogue mining operations. Maybe a rule should be that the result is either CO2 capture (through biomass or otherwise), food production (where the owner recieves a cut of the produce, not money) or fossil free habitation. That way humans can spread out which is better if we use renewables. Cities where both social but also a convienient point of sale for energy.



 

California Dreaming (of the Roboeconomy!)

Fire across from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

I once cycled where those flames are in the picture. Quite a ride of 8 hours on a rented mountain bike to Muir beach. I was in San Fransisco for a conference on Neuroscience. That is the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in flames..

Californians are moving to Texas, but Texas has as much to fear in terms of heatwaves and drought. It was predicted a long time ago (~57), mentioned in Congress. Around 1957 predictions of climate change where accurate. Republicans (not being democratic but fossil energy servants) pushed on, out of greed, not out of compassion or a desire to advance society. We see proof they don’t give a fuck about that every day. Personal gain is their only motive.

I quite literally have no patience for climate change deniers,” Gov. Gavin Newsom

So where does it leave Californians? With a lot of smoking treestumps, soot filled lungs and a new awareness of reality. A clear reference point to motivate action is developing. If you are a normal human being you think “This never again!”. Sadly in CA most people are econobots. They are moving and acting along the sugar trails of profit and bank approval. Banks don’t care about anything but cashflow and control. They will see CA turn into a barren desert as long as they keep making profit. The profit comes from loaning out fossil credit. Banks are fossil fuel distributers. This is why you can not expect them to do anything to improve the situation.

Money in the US is carboncredit

To survive as Californians the regiment of debt and banking has to be broken. This is a giant stretch for most and so its likely many will leave the region and/or nature will not be restored. This is the losing battle that ends in only a few humans living in the mountains under a pink sky (because of H2S evolution from the oceans) this is the ultimate doom scenario I discovered was in the script if we kept ourselves from a true proper response to warming. You can’t win the climate fight by moving to a safer place. You have to fight it where you are.

Life semi underground is cool and bearable..

There is a significant difference between today and one hunderd years ago, and that is our technological advancement. It has barely been applied to the climate problem, and where it has it has had to battle economism constantly. California should become an extraeconomic zone, a Roboeconomic laboratory where there is a structural and rapid move to only use renewables. Then on the back of dropping prices and the developed technological infrastructure it should green itself in spite of the heat and the drought. This should be its mission, not to pay off debts and be economically succesfull.

California is home to the biggest solar thermal power plant in the woooorld (Kramer Junction SEGS plants)

Some bullet points to get started :

  • Land can be landscaped using solar electric equipment to retain more rain
  • Solar electric vehicles can be used to transport water
  • Ionic solar thermal powered desalination can be used to generate fresh water
  • Plants can be grown in the shade of solar panels
  • Trees can be replanted by drones
  • Homes can be build semi underground
  • Streets can be covered by arches to cool and keep warm
  • Airco systems can use night cold stored in water tanks instead of try to cool against the hot air
  • Low cost robots can be developed to do some of these tasks, robots that will find a wide use around the planet
  • Structual CO2 to Carbon conversion plants can be developed and build

The condition for all this is that resources are applied to their best use, not their most profitable use (which can mean they are not used at all!). Also CA needs to feed itself, so the population can sustain itself. That should be a major driver. Economically a state just consisting off megafarms all exporting everything would be fine. For humans this is a recipy for disaster. It may be the above development can not be entered into without a fight!

You hope smart people are not all Karens

We have seen Tesla emerge from CA because an electric car can be awesome and someone didn’t understand why it didn’t exist. We say California can be awesome even on a warming planet, and we don’t see why it should not achieve this awesomeness in the near future..

The Roboeconomy.com is about using robots, AI and renewables to fix the ecology and develop and pleasant peacefull world..



 

Getting out of my Comfort Zone

I needed a change. I was stuck in writing about climate change, renewable energy technology and frankly not feeling free or able to discover new opportunities. It was a video about the Medici that was the first stepping stone to get out, the Medici had several generations and each wielded power in different ways. The whole history is fascinating because it left traces all over Europe we still see today. One of the traces was a tunnel in the Alps of 75 meter long, at about 2896 or ~9000 feet altitude.

Tunnel de Traversette

It stuck in my mind to go see that tunnel. It would mean about a 1200 km ride to the Alps, and then (in my mind) a hike up the mountain. The tunnel was used for trade on donkeys, so I figured it could not be that difficult to reach it. The col, or mountain pass, de Traversette has been proposed to be the place Hannibal crossed the Alps into Italy. This added some interest to the journey and I actually visited another place Hannibal is more likely to have used after visiting the tunnel. So i packed my sleeper car and drove to the Alps.

The Sleeper Car in action

To travel light and easy in Europe I convert my station wagon (gasoline) to what I call a ‘Sleeper Car’. The backseat is removed so that the interior can house a comfortable matrass and boxes with clothes and cooking stuff. I made blinders for the windows for privacy. That’s all you really need. What you don’t need as a result is a hotel! I took a solar panel and battery charger with me, so that on the bright days I could charge the battery and use it to charge the laptop and phone in the evening. The other travel convienience I introduced was quitting coffee. Without a coffee habit your cost drop dramatically. If you’re not driving around you can easily live of 15,- euro a day. For sanitation lakes are excellent 😉 With this type of vehicle Europe is your oyster, there are no laws against sleeping in your car except in Holland and Belgium I know of.

Sleeper cars are better than vans and campers imho, nobody can deny you a parking place or force you to some camper location. You can just stop when you get tired of driving.

My alpine experience is ZERO. I have been a cyclist for most op my life, and cycled up cols as a sport, but climbing at altitude has never been my thing. I love mountains, so this is why I was interested in this objective. My idea was to drive to the valley with acces to the col de la Traversette, on the french side, which is closer (and which happens to be the sunny side). Then just walk up to the tunnel. It was a bit harder than I thought.

The valley below the tunnel is part of a national park de Queyras, the Alps there are called the Cottian Alps

I didn’t know that the valley was really secluded and more or less economically not happening. It’s not part of a large skiing area, most of it did not have cell phone coverage (which made using google maps difficult), the towns where apparently so empty at times people decided to place manaquins in all kinds of different positions and roles along the streets. It remained a bit creepy. Some bleached hotels had a real ‘The Shining’ atmosphere.

Creepy manequins as surrogate population?

I settled at a camping, which charged 6,50 per night so that didn’t hurt, mainly for the shower. It had a population of guests many of which where hikers, some where role playing enthousiasts. It had no rules about campfires. People had started them all over the valley. It had a really free atmosphere. The Alps are not really rope climbing mountains, although I met some people coming down. There is a ‘Kira’ route which is for real alpine hikers, and the last lively town of Abries was full of hikers and enthousiasts.

First day achieveniss..

According to Google Maps it was a 9 km hike to the top from my starting point. The starting point was at 1800 m (5905 feet) which turned out to be significant later. Hike is 500 meter at a modest incline, then 500 meter at a steep incline. I didn’t really check that out. I hiked for 3 and a half hours and reached the point on the picture, which is right after the 500 meter steep incline began. I had to stop, I had no energy left and I calculated I’d be down around six pm, quite late. I turned around, also because I didn’t want to break my motivation. A wise choice I think. The return walk was only one hour and I felt like I tasted a bit of the alpine experience. My heavy Timberlands had caused blisters though. I went to enjoy the french experience..

Another name for my objective is the Monte Viso tunnel. It cost about $12 million (12.000 florins) to ’cause’, and the work took two years. I say ’cause’ because a tunnal is air in a usefull place, it is ‘negative architecture’ a purposefull absence of rock. The resulting tunnel was not finished in any way, just made big enough for the donkeys loaded with salt etc. to pass. To me it is incredible that this feat was accomplished, also because it is so high up. Above is a picture how it was reexcavated after it had fallen into disuse in 1907. To me it is fascinating to see essentially a piece of economic infrastructure (that is essentialy not there) of 500 years old almost 100% intact.

The hike up to Lac Egorgeou

I decided to take some days to get acclimatized. The altitude does matter, even though I didn’t really feel it. I hiked up to Lake Egorgeou, which was good practice and allowed a nice fresh dive in icy water. The Alps are a glorious place, even here where it is not super green. Hours of stepping up and down rocks and roots and riverbeds certainly gets your mind of things.

Light entertainment at the campsite

I decide to take one more day to get fitter and then attempt the hike to the tunnel. My ability to more or less die trying is well developed, but it is best to go for it when you feel you should be capable. I had bad luck with eating bad meat from a badly run store in Abries, so I spend the day pretty sick and exhausted. This was just the body dealing with a problem, It should not sap my fundamental energy.

The next day I drove to the starting point, which was to be a parking lot at the end of the valley. You can drive to the last 500 meter part but then you also have to open a gate and the road is terrible in places. This time I coverded the 3,5 hour part of the first day in 1,5 hours (more red blood cells?) . The question of Hannibal and his elephants was also part of this experience. Did I think he could have passed by the same route with 37 of them, packed with army stuff etc.

Towards the Col de Traversette

The path was certainly doable for a donkey, and it is hard to determine how much today’s path matches that of 500 or even 2200 years ago. It is certainly a steep path. I would imagine an elephant would have a hard time just because it’s pretty wide and its feet would slip easily. They can live in the mountains, so who knows how easy they would get up here.

Hannibal!!

The tunnel starts right under the col, on the french side there’s a constructed entrance and a concrete reinforcement, which seems to be because the rock is not stabile. They are pretty sharp at the top, the rock crumbles easy as you can see in the picture below. Such rocks are very hard to climb over, no route between those peaks. Some climbers came down from ropes from these peaks though, a level above what I was doing 😉

The nicest view of the tunnel de Traversette is on the Italian side. On that side it really looks like a natural cave entrance. The tunnel towards it has no light so you need a light to find your way even though the total length is a mere 75 meter. It took men two years to chisel out the space.

What is fascinating to me is that in 1000 years, this space will still be air, the concrete and masoned side of the tunnel will have crumbled but the ‘raw’ side will be about the same, but unmarked. Will it be recognized as artificial? Yet it is an engineered feature, the names of the engineers are still known : Martino di Albano and Baldassarre of Piasco. How long is this tunnel likely to last?

Italian side of the tunnel de Traversette

It turned out to be as hard to reach the tunnel the fourth day as it was to reach the halfway point the first day. Pretty exhausting. About 6 other people passed it while I was there, yet there was quite some time to enjoy the idea of donkeys with salt climbing up the steep path towards the entrance as many had from 1498 onwards.

A view down the Italian side

It seems the italian side is more barren because it is colder more of the time, its the shadow side of the mountain. Walking back to the french side, you can see the slope there still had some snow. Being there was ultimately very pleasant. The fatigue was gone quickly and now the only task was to get down again. This was mission accomplished.

a view of the Col de la Traversette

The total hike lasted 6 hours and 20 minutes, I burned 2800 (k)Calories and covered 22 km. These are not distances I’d normally walk in Holland, that would be to boring really. Now I was finaly on holiday. The whole idea was to pick something and do it. Now, three weeks later, what I am left with is a feeling of bigger mental strength. It may be true that dedicating attention to effort for a long time teaches the brain to put more resources behind all actions. The goal was to see something interesting, but the side effect was an exercise in endurance and effort that has created an appetite for more 😉

Sharing a good wine with the campsite visitors..