Author Archives: energyskeptic

Booklist: Natural history & Science, Evolution, Critical thinking, Health, Resource allocation, Climate change, Fire

Preface. My goal since college has been to read as much as I could across as many fields as possible to obtain a Big Picture View and understand the world as it really is rather than how I’d like it … Continue reading

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Can Zinc batteries save us?

Preface: The New York Times had two articles about zinc air batteries in September 2018.  Right now, finite natural gas is the dominant way of balancing unreliable, outright missing, or intermittent power from wind and solar.  So other energy storage … Continue reading

Posted in Batteries, Energy Storage, Lithium-ion | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Earthquakes in California could cost over $200 billion dollars

Preface. The figures below don’t do justice to the harm an earthquake would do.  There is $1.9 trillion dollars of property at risk from earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay Area, where a catastrophic earthquake on the Hayward Fault would … Continue reading

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The U.S. Military on Peak Oil and Climate Change

Preface. I find that of all the government branches, the military is the most realistic about the implications of Peak Oil and Climate Change.  The Department of Defense is also the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, spending … Continue reading

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From Horsepower to Horse Power. When Trucks stop, Horses start.

Preface. Before the industrial revolution there were only four sources of mechanical power of any economic significance. They were human labor, animal labor, water power (near flowing streams) and wind power.   Work done by animals, especially on farms, was still … Continue reading

Posted in Life Before Oil, Muscle Power | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Muscle Power

Preface. Before fossil fuels, the energy to do work came from muscle power and the heat from burning biomass, mainly wood.  When I visited the Deutsches museum in Munich in 2017, I saw two animal treadmills: The first picture shows … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Energy, Life Before Oil, Muscle Power, What to do | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Challenges to the Integration of Renewable Resources at High System Penetration

Preface.  This overview of challenges for wind and solar written in 2010 is still true today. We are far from being able to reach even a 50% renewable grid (excluding hydropower from the total) given the lack of storage, the … Continue reading

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Vaclav Smil. Making the modern world: materials and dematerialization

Preface.  I can’t believe I read this book, it is just a long litany of the  gigantic amounts of materials we exploit, with no analysis, implications, or the meaning of what impact this will have on the planet. I certainly … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Life Before Oil, Limits To Growth, Peak Resources, Vaclav Smil | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Steam engines. Exergy power. and work in the US

Preface.  At some point of fossil fuel decline future generations will be tempted to build steam engines again, and perhaps just as in America initially they’ll use wood to fuel the engines, since coal will be scarce at some point … Continue reading

Posted in Coal | Tagged , | 5 Comments

238 academics call on the EU to plan for a post-growth future

Preface. We know there’s going to be no growth soon due to peak oil and limits to growth, and ought to be planning for it so that the financial system doesn’t “freak out” and crash like Humpty Dumpty, beyond repair.  … Continue reading

Posted in Crash Coming Soon | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments