Category Archives: Energy

the posts in this category used to be in “Energy in A Nutshell” at my former web site.

What on earth is exergy?

Preface. This is one of the best explanations of exergy I’ve been able to find.  This paper makes the case that exergy ought to be considered by just about every industry and government to achieve greater energy efficiency, and makes … Continue reading

Posted in Exergy | Leave a comment

Why Concentrated Solar Power is not a good choice for a 100% Renewable Energy System

Preface.  The authors conclude that: In light of the obtained results — a low capacity factor and Energy Returned on Invested, an intensive use of materials—some scarce, and the significant seasonal intermittence) — the potential contribution of current CSP technologies … Continue reading

Posted in Concentrated Solar Power | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Solar PV requires too much land to replace fossils

Preface. This is a brief summary of the Capellan-Perez paper that calculates the land needed to use solar to replace electricity as well as the land needed if solar were to replace all of societies use of energy (i.e. transportation, … Continue reading

Posted in Solar | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

India wants to build dangerous fast breeder reactors

Preface. India was planning to build six fast breeder reactors in 2016, but now in 2018, they’ve reduced the number to 2.  This is despite the high cost, instability, danger, and accidents of the 16 previous world-wide attempts that have … Continue reading

Posted in Nuclear Power | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Germany’s wind energy mess: As subsidies expire, thousands Of turbines to close

Preface. This means that the talk about renewables being so much cheaper than anything else isn’t necessarily true.  If wind were profitable, more turbines would be built to replace the old ones  without subsidies needed. Unless they can be dumped … Continue reading

Posted in Electric Grid, Energy, Wind | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Book review of Vaclav Smil’s “Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, Prospects”

Preface.  In my extract of the 178 pages in the book below, Smil explains why renewables can’t possibly replace fossil fuels, and appears to be exasperated that people believe this can be done when he writes “Common expectations of energy … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Energy, Far Out, Vaclav Smil | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Black starting the grid after a power outage

Black starts Large blackouts can be quite devastating and it isn’t easy to restart the electric grid again. This is typically done by designated black start units of natural gas, coal, hydro, or nuclear power plants that can restart themselves … Continue reading

Posted in Grid instability | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Escape to Mars after we’ve trashed the Earth?

The idea that we can go to Mars is touted by NASA, Elon Musk, and so many others that this dream seems just around the corner.  If we destroy our planet with climate change, pollution, and so on, no problem, … Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change, Extinction, Far Out, Human Nature, Planetary Boundaries, Where to Be or Not to Be | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Why tar sands, a toxic ecosystem-destroying asphalt, can’t fill in for declining conventional oil

[ This is a book review of Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, 2010 edition, 280 pages, by Andrew Nikiforuk. Many “energy experts” have said that a Manhattan tar sands project could prevent oil decline in … Continue reading

Posted in Oil (Tar) Sands | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Book: John Perlin’s “A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization”

Preface.  This contains excerpts from John Perlin’s “A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization”. It’s one of my favorite books about natural resources, exploring the role wood has played in the rise and fall of civilizations since they … Continue reading

Posted in Collapse of Civilizations, Collapsed, Deforestation, Limits To Growth, Peak Resources, Soil, Wood | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment