Category Archives: Energy

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

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

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

Posted in Alternative Energy, Military | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Electric Grid, Solar, Wind | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

60 minutes promotes biomass scam

Preface. Hey 60 minutes, do some fact checking first. Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, … Continue reading

Posted in Biomass, Far Out | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Fusion is the only possible way to replace fossil fuels. So how is ITER doing?

Preface. This website, and my book, When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the future of transportation, and Martin Hoffert, et al in the 2002 Advanced Technology Paths to Global Climate Stability: Energy for a Greenhouse Planet, Science. Vol 298 argue … Continue reading

Posted in Fusion | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Wind, solar, and natural gas are driving nuclear power out of business

Preface. I’m no fan of nuclear power because we may already be at peak uranium, there’s nowhere to store nuclear waste, and a spent nuclear pool fire could harm millions of people. But renewable wind and solar and natural gas … Continue reading

Posted in Nuclear Power, Solar, Wind | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Vaclav Smil: from wood to coal to oil, energy transitions take a long time

Preface.  This post has a shortened, reworded, and heavily commented on article from Scientific American in 2014.  You can also see two much longer articles about energy transitions by Smil from n 2008 and 2010 here: Vaclav Smil: Our transition … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Coal, Dependence on Oil, Energy, Vaclav Smil | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments