Category Archives: Energy

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

Many steps using fossil fuels to make cans & potato chips

Preface.  I am gobsmacked by how much energy goes into making beverage cans and potato chips, look at all the steps, each one using energy!  Why haven’t we run of oil yet? Especially when you look at everything else out … Continue reading

Posted in EROEI Energy Returned on Energy Invested, Manufacturing & Industrial Heat | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

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

Minerals essential for wind, solar, and high-tech, are anything but clean and green

This is a book review of Pitron’s “The rare metals war”.  To produce the metals and minerals to make a transition to wind, solar, nuclear and so on would be incredibly destructive and filthy. A fifth of China’s arable land … Continue reading

Posted in Battery - Utility Scale, Elements: Critical, Elements: Rare Earth, Mining, Peak Resources, Photovoltaic Solar, Recycle, Wind | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Batteries are made of rare, declining, critical, and imported elements

Preface.  Since oil and other fossils are finite and emit carbon, the plan is to electrify society with batteries.  But doh!  Minerals used in batteries are finite too.  And dependent on fossil-fueled transportation and manufacturing from mining trucks, to smelter, … Continue reading

Posted in Batteries, Elements: Critical, Elements: Rare Earth, Mining | Tagged , | 7 Comments

800 scientists: Burning forests for electricity & heat releases more 1.5x more CO2 than coal, 3x more than natural gas

Preface. The 2015 Paris climate change agreement states that burning biomass is carbon neutral. Not true. Over 800 scientists have written the European Parliament to tell them that burning wood for heat or electricity emits 1.5 x more CO2 than … Continue reading

Posted in Biomass, Climate Change, CO2 and Methane, Deforestation | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Offshore wind turbines: Expensive, risky, and last just 15 years

Preface: The Department of Energy high wind penetration plans require a lot of offshore wind. But is it possible, affordable, or wise to do this? Corrosion leads to a short lifespan of just 15 years. To reduce maintenance, offshore windmills … Continue reading

Posted in Offshore | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Renewables must help pay for transmission and their energy storage backup of fossil power plants

Preface. Wind and solar advocates don’t include transmission and backup costs in their net energy calculations. But without fossil backup, the electric grid will come down due to lack of storage. There is almost nowhere left to put pumped hydro … Continue reading

Posted in Electric Grid, Energy Storage, Solar, Solar EROI, Wind, Wind EROI | Tagged , , , , | 2 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

Nuclear waste disposal drilled deep into earth’s crust

Preface. One the greatest tragedies of the decline of oil will be all the nuclear waste left to harm future generations for up to a million years. We owe it to them to clean up our mess while we still … Continue reading

Posted in Nuclear Waste | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Far Out #4: Power out of thin air, power out of freezing air, & Fruit power

Preface. To get power out of thin air after oil, the 90% of people who have had to go back to farming are going to be making protein nanowires from microbes in the chicken coop in their spare time. Scaling … Continue reading

Posted in Far Out | Tagged | 5 Comments