Category Archives: Alternative Energy

Science : No single or combination of alternative energy resources can replace fossil fuels

Preface. Even though this research was from 2002, it is still true today.   There simply are no replacements for the fossil fuels that power our civilization.  If only scientists could violate the laws of thermodynamics and physics. Even if there … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Biomass, Fusion, Hydrogen, Nuclear Power, Orbiting Solar, Peak Oil, Photovoltaic Solar, Wind | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Utility scale energy storage limited by minerals and geography

Preface. Natural gas is finite, but aside from (pumped) hydropower, natural gas is the main way wind and solar are balanced now. Therefore, a tremendous amount of energy storage will be needed in the future as natural gas declines. The … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Batteries, Battery - Utility Scale, CAES Compressed Air, Elements: Critical, Mining, Pumped Hydro Storage (PHS) | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

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

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

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Renewables: not enough minerals, energy, time or clean and green

Preface. Electricity generating contraptions like wind and solar can’t replace the 50% of oil used in global manufacturing, because they can’t generate the high heat needed, or run battery or catenary electric trucks as I explained in “When Trucks Top … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Battery - Utility Scale, Elements: Critical, Elements: Platinum Group, Elements: Rare Earth, Peak Resources, Recycle, Solar, Wind | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Invisible oiliness of everything

Preface.  Even a simple object like a pencil requires dozens of actions to make and dozens of objects that took energy to make.  This is why it is unlikely wind, solar, or any other contraption that make electricity, have a … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Alternative Energy, An Overview, EROEI Energy Returned on Energy Invested, Manufacturing & Industrial Heat, Wind | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Can Geothermal power make up for declining fossil fuels?

Preface. Geothermal power plants are cost justified only in places where volcanic or tectonic activity brings heat close to the surface, mainly in “ring of fire” nations and volcanic hot spots like Hawaii.   Even then drilling can only be done … Continue reading

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Movie review of Michael Moore’s “Planet of the Humans”

Preface. This documentary was made by Jeff Gibbs, a writer and environmentalist, with Michael Moore as the executive producer. This movie is worth watching, and an entertaining and quick way to understand why rebuildable “renewables” are neither green or a … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Biomass, Coal, Natural Gas, Solar, Wind | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Fossil-fueled industrial heat hard to impossible to replace with renewables

Preface. Cement, steel, glass, bricks, ceramics, chemicals, and much more depend on fossil-fueled high heat (up to 3200 F) to make. Except for the electric-arc furnace to recycle existing steel, there aren’t any renewable ways to make cement, other metals, … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Manufacturing & Industrial Heat | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Foreign Policy: The limits of clean energy

Preface. This article appeared in the magazine Foreign Policy. Some of the points made are: Renewables to power the world would require 34 million metric tons of copper, 40 million tons of lead, 50 million tons of zinc, 162 million … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Consumption, Mining, Peak Lithium | Tagged , , | 7 Comments