Monthly Archives: February 2021

Lifespan of infrastructure, transportation, and buildings

Preface. What follows is from the International Energy Agency 2020 report “Energy technology perspectives” on how to transition to net zero emissions by 2050. This might require the replacement of just about everything, since power plants, steel blast furnaces, cement … Continue reading

Posted in Airplanes, Automobiles, Concrete, Dams, Electricity, Energy, Limits To Growth, Manufacturing & Industrial Heat, Oil & Gas, Transportation, Trucks | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Far Out power #6: Stale beer, crayfish shells, and burning metal powder

Preface. Unfortunately, turning beer into biogas requires a pandemic so that it isn’t drunk at pubs instead. Scientists assure us there will be more pandemics as we mow down (rain)forests for shopping malls and come into contact with new viruses, … Continue reading

Posted in Biofuels, Far Out | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Not enough rare metals to scale up solar power

Preface. Sunshine may be free, but the materials to make solar contraptions sure aren’t.  Since sunshine arrives in a diluted form, vast expanses of solar photovoltaic panels will be needed to produce the world’s 24,000 Terawatt hours of electrical power … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Elements: Critical, Elements: Rare Earth, Mining, Photovoltaic Solar, Recycle | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Why rare and valuable metals are not recycled

Preface. This is a post about why rare and critical metals aren’t recycled at all or at best, just a small percent. Basically it is still cheaper to mine them from scratch than to try to separate them out from … Continue reading

Posted in Elements: Critical, Elements: Platinum Group, Elements: Precious, Elements: Rare Earth, Recycle, Ugo Bardi | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

What are rare earth metals and how are they used?

Preface.  After oil, the main feature of new products will be drastic simplification. The re-use of existing stuff. Lack of precision machine tools as they rust away. Back to basics: wood, iron, and clay. Yet every high-tech object depends on … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Elements: Rare Earth, Mining | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Toasters are Toast

Preface. Thomas Thwaites’ book, “The Toaster Project” illustrates why it will be so hard, if not impossible, to bounce back from collapse in the future to anything like what we take for granted today.  Thwaites set about trying to make … Continue reading

Posted in Manufacturing & Industrial Heat, Peak Resources | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Even Pencils will be hard to make

Preface. Most of us are unaware of how complex our society is, how things are made, how food is grown, how stuff is delivered, and the people, energy, transportation, and kinds and sources of materials in every day objects.  This … Continue reading

Posted in EROEI Energy Returned on Energy Invested, Localization, Supply Chains | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Fragility of Microchips

Preface. This is an introduction to how microchips are made to give you an idea of how difficult and amazing they are.  This is a very high-level overview gathered from two textbooks full of mind-boggling processes and complexity.  Microchips are … Continue reading

Posted in 2) Collapse, Localization, Microchips and computers, Supply Chains | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Autos need finite rare earth, critical, & precious metals

An electric car uses five times as many minerals as a conventional car (IEA 2020): IEA, Minerals used in selected power generation technologies, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/charts/minerals-used-in-selected-power-generation-technologies There are 17 rare earth elements (REE) that China controls up to 97% of … Continue reading

Posted in Automobiles, Elements: Rare Earth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment