Critiquing the Mark Jacobson, Mark Delucchi Scientific American article has turned into a cottage industry for internet energy sages. Gail the Actuary has at Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi in a Monday post on the Oil Drum. Gail is very bright, and though I am not nearly as pessimistic as she is about the energy future, her insights are very worth while looking at. If you enjoy a seeing a good mind at work, you will enjoy Gail's analysis. As "paal myrtvedt" observed,
Gail is jolly good here ; a well founded realist/skeptic. I'm impressed by her ability to present 'her case' without even using a small spoon of Sarcanol-Of course Gail's conclusions would only bring joy to Parson Malthus, but that is to be expected from Gail. She observes:
There are a number of weak areas in this system:Gail points out the problems of the transportation system under the Jacobson-Delucchi scheme.
• There are not likely to be enough rare minerals (and even not-so-rare minerals), to make all of the desired high-tech end products. Recycling will help, but it is likely that the system will run into a bottleneck in not very many years.
• The system will use a huge number of electrical transmission lines. These transmission lines are subject to all kinds of disturbances--hurricane or other windstorm destruction, forest fires, land or snow slide, malicious destruction by those not happy for some reason (perhaps those unhappy by wealth disparities). Fixing lines that need repair will be challenging. We currently use helicopters and specialized equipment. These would need to be adequately adapted to a system without fossil fuels.
• If electricity is out in an area, pretty much all activity in an area will stop (except that powered by local PV), and there will be no back-up generators. Residents will not be able to recharge vehicles, so they will quickly become useless. Even vehicles coming into an area may get stranded for lack of recharge capability. Food deliveries and water may be a problem. The current system at least offers some options--back-up generators, and cars and trucks powered by petroleum that one can drive away.
• Operating the system will require a huge amount of international co-operation, because the transmission system will cross country lines. If one country becomes unable to pay its share, or fails to make repairs, it could be a problem.
• All of the high tech manufacturing will require considerable international co-operation and trade. This could be interrupted by debt defaults by major players, or by countries hoarding raw materials, or by difficulty in producing enough ships and airplanes to handle international trade.
• The system clearly can't continue forever. It could be stopped by a lack of rare minerals, or international disputes, or lack of adequate international trade. The system doesn't provide any natural transition to a truly sustainable future. For example, food production is likely to still be done using industrial agriculture, with the food that is produced shipped to consumers a long distance away. It will be difficult to transition to a system which is truly sustainable at the point the system stops working.
Airplanes. The authors propose that airplanes be powered by hydrogen powered fuel cells (with the hydrogen be made by hydrolysis using WWS energy sources). I understand that hydrogen is three times as bulky as gasoline, explodes easily, and escapes fairly quickly from its holding tanks, making it difficult to store for very long. It seems like airplanes and helicopters would need to look more like blimps, to hold the necessary fuel. Unless the explosion issue is solved, the popularity of hydrogen fuel cells would likely be pretty low.
• Ships. The authors don't tell us how ships would be powered. Clearly sailing ships would meet the criteria, but would be quite slow. Because of their slow time for passage, we would need a lot more sailing ships than the types of ships we use now, because so many would be in transit at a given time. Barges could float down rivers, and if the current isn't too strong, could perhaps be towed back in some way (boat with fuel cell?). Ships powered by hydrogen fuel cells might also work, but they would have the same issues as for airplanes. Because of their long trips, leakage would be more of an issue than on airplanes.Gail's post has drawn nearly 400 comments during the last couple of days, and no doubt will draw more. Some of the comments are very interesting, for example 'sampson" reported
It was the plan of the notorious Bavarian Illuminati to accomplish three goals in the overthrow of the Old World Order:And of course it comes with Gails favorite chat of doom:
1)The emancipation of women.
2)The overthrow of all monarchies.
3)The separation of 'church' and state.
Gee that sounds familiar.Yes HAcland, America indeed has a religion; and it is not the Bible, it is Illumination via the Illuminati.It is no longer a secret order, it is out in the open; an open conspiracy if you will.
Just ask any psychotropic pill popping TV addicted brain dead American, they'll tell you.