Category Archives: Energy

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

Hydropower dams and the ways they destroy the environment

Preface. Hydropower comprises 71% of renewable energy worldwide.  Nations like the U.S. and Europe have dams that have reached the end of their lifespan, so more are being torn down than built. In the U.S. 546 dams were removed between … Continue reading

Posted in Dams, Hydropower | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Why aren’t there battery powered airplanes or flying cars?

Preface.  Batteries are too heavy for airplanes to get off the ground. These two articles explain that in further detail. Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole … Continue reading

Posted in Batteries, Energy | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Pedro Prieto: many solar panels won’t last 25-30 years, EROI may be negative

Preface. Pedro Prieto and Charles Hall wrote the definitive book on the EROI of solar power, “Spain’s Photovoltaic Revolution. The Energy Return on Investment” and has built many commercial facilities himself and witnessed the failure of solar panels long before … Continue reading

Posted in Pedro Prieto, Photovoltaic Solar | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Book review of Underbug: an obsessive tale of termites and technology

Preface.  I read this book mainly to find out where “grassoline” stood. Scientists thought 10 years ago that we could recreate the termite biota system of digesting biomass to create biofuels.  But this appears to be far in the future … 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

45 Reasons why wind power can not replace fossil fuels

Preface. Electricity simply doesn’t substitute for all the uses of fossil fuels, so windmills will never be able to reproduce themselves from the energy they generate — they are simply not sustainable.  Consider the life cycle of a wind turbine … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Energy, Wind | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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