Our energy problem (an old article from 2002)

Introduction to THE energy problem

With 6 billion people demanding ever more energy to live their lives, everybody will sooner or later face problems with their energy supply. Our ‘traditional’ energy sources have a number of problems associated with them. They are finite in size. Also, they cause serious problems with our natural environment. And last but not least, political tensions are very high since these sources are distributed unevenly over the earth, yet we all want access to them.

Oil and gas are running out

One of the closest kept secrets in the oil industry is the knowledge of when the oil wells will run out. It has not yet informed many other people about their knowledge, and when oil executives are asked, they always talk about periods of “50 years or so”.
It has been well documented that the rate at which new oil is found peaked around 1999. Dr. M King Hubbert predicted this scenario already in 1974. This means that even though we will still find new oil, the rate at which we find will decrease. Given that our consumption will increase (China’s recent increase in oil imports is a big factor),  this means that at some point in time the price of oil products will go up. Over the period 2001-2005 an increase of around 40% was observed. This is not likely to abate, and a reverse is out of the question.

Serious environmental problems

We pay a huge price for our addiction to oil. Crude oil is a nasty substance that must be refined to extract the energy stored in it. From the moment the oil is pumped out of the ground to the emissions from the petrol-driven car, oil brings pollution and destruction to this world. Accidents with oil tankers kill our seas and beaches (The Exxon Valdez disaster, for example). Children are born with deficiencies because of car emissions.

A  phenomenon attributed to the usage of oil and other fossil fuels is the warming up of the global atmosphere, the so-called grenhouse effect. Although the result of burning hydrocarbons over decades, it is only lately that we have begun to understand the symptoms and what they mean for our environment.

Political problems created by our oil crave

The current woes in the Middle East are a direct result of our appetite for oil. Our western societies are based on the consumption of fossil fuels that are largely won in this region.  Why this is a tenuous situation can be explained by these points:

  • Our reliance on oil has made us dependent on a region that is our historical counter-pole. Tensions and conflict are running rife as result of this. The muslim world and the western world do not share many beliefs and principles. That is not to say that we must be enemies. However, our dependence on the Middle East is the reason that  the region is a lackey of the west. The current situation is very frustrating for the people of the Middle-East and this results in a growing resentment against us.
  • We support corrupt regimes that do nothing for their people in return for one thing – our guaranteed and uninterrupted access to their oil.  Sometimes this results in serious anger, like the overthrow of the Shah in Iran in 1979. Also, Al Quaeda and Osama Bin Laden tap into this reservoir of resentment. Unless these people think they have their dignity and self esteem back, then this problem won’t go away and it will grow worse and worse. 9/11 2001 was a direct result of this.
  • The instable situation sometimes calls for direct military interventions. The Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the first Gulf war to liberate Kuwait and the second Gulf war were all interventions to guarantee a stable supply of oil from the region.

Alternatives for oil

We can rid ourselves of oil if we devote our energy and intellect to a massive transition to other energy sources.

Solar Energy

Solar energy provides an great alternative to oil. The sun radiates enormous amounts of energy and on earth we receive much more than we’ll ever need. For more information,  go to this site.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is a direct offspring of solar energy – the heat of the sun provides for temperature differences which cause winds. The wind is an unlimited and clean energy carrier. In certain regions, where solar energy is not a very rich source due to climatic reasons, wind is an excellent alternative.

Southwest Windpower Whisper 100

Small turbines range in size from 50 Watts to 25 kW, with rotor diameters ranging from 1 to 7 meters. They do not suffer from many of the limitations that the large ones have. For example, if you have 20 small turbines producing the same energy as one large one, the probability that all 20 stop at the same time because the wind  stops blowing is much smaller than the probability that the huge turbine stops. The small turbines can run freely, not impeded by the rule that they must adapt to a grid frequency – they run as fast as is needed. Their electricity output can be converted from AC to DC, to charge a battery or simply be converted back to AC with the proper frequency to feed the grid – local needs can be met. Their site location is not limited to wide open coastal areas or farms: Roofs on inner cities houses are excellent spots for small turbines. And, very important, they do not raise resistance in the public since their placement does not pollute the horizons:  Maximum tower height for a small turbine will be 25 meters, as opposed to the 150m high cathedrals of the electricity companies. 

Opponents of small wind turbines always point out that they are not economical in comparison to the large turbines. One point that is always forgotten in that comparison is that small turbines do not need the huge and costly electricity grid. Not building or maintaining such a network will save a lot of money and this will benefit the users of small turbines. The large turbines cannot function without such a  network and as such need the huge investments for a large electricity network.

 

 

Our energy problem (an old article from 2002)

Introduction to THE energy problem

With 6 billion people demanding ever more energy to live their lives, everybody will sooner or later face problems with their energy supply. Our ‘traditional’ energy sources have a number of problems associated with them. They are finite in size. Also, they cause serious problems with our natural environment. And last but not least, political tensions are very high since these sources are distributed unevenly over the earth, yet we all want access to them.

Oil and gas are running out

One of the closest kept secrets in the oil industry is the knowledge of when the oil wells will run out. It has not yet informed many other people about their knowledge, and when oil executives are asked, they always talk about periods of “50 years or so”.
It has been well documented that the rate at which new oil is found peaked around 1999. Dr. M King Hubbert predicted this scenario already in 1974. This means that even though we will still find new oil, the rate at which we find will decrease. Given that our consumption will increase (China’s recent increase in oil imports is a big factor),  this means that at some point in time the price of oil products will go up. Over the period 2001-2005 an increase of around 40% was observed. This is not likely to abate, and a reverse is out of the question.

Serious environmental problems

We pay a huge price for our addiction to oil. Crude oil is a nasty substance that must be refined to extract the energy stored in it. From the moment the oil is pumped out of the ground to the emissions from the petrol-driven car, oil brings pollution and destruction to this world. Accidents with oil tankers kill our seas and beaches (The Exxon Valdez disaster, for example). Children are born with deficiencies because of car emissions.

A  phenomenon attributed to the usage of oil and other fossil fuels is the warming up of the global atmosphere, the so-called grenhouse effect. Although the result of burning hydrocarbons over decades, it is only lately that we have begun to understand the symptoms and what they mean for our environment.

Political problems created by our oil crave

The current woes in the Middle East are a direct result of our appetite for oil. Our western societies are based on the consumption of fossil fuels that are largely won in this region.  Why this is a tenuous situation can be explained by these points:

  • Our reliance on oil has made us dependent on a region that is our historical counter-pole. Tensions and conflict are running rife as result of this. The muslim world and the western world do not share many beliefs and principles. That is not to say that we must be enemies. However, our dependence on the Middle East is the reason that  the region is a lackey of the west. The current situation is very frustrating for the people of the Middle-East and this results in a growing resentment against us.
  • We support corrupt regimes that do nothing for their people in return for one thing – our guaranteed and uninterrupted access to their oil.  Sometimes this results in serious anger, like the overthrow of the Shah in Iran in 1979. Also, Al Quaeda and Osama Bin Laden tap into this reservoir of resentment. Unless these people think they have their dignity and self esteem back, then this problem won’t go away and it will grow worse and worse. 9/11 2001 was a direct result of this.
  • The instable situation sometimes calls for direct military interventions. The Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, the first Gulf war to liberate Kuwait and the second Gulf war were all interventions to guarantee a stable supply of oil from the region.

Alternatives for oil

We can rid ourselves of oil if we devote our energy and intellect to a massive transition to other energy sources.

Solar Energy

Solar energy provides an great alternative to oil. The sun radiates enormous amounts of energy and on earth we receive much more than we’ll ever need. For more information,  go to this site.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is a direct offspring of solar energy – the heat of the sun provides for temperature differences which cause winds. The wind is an unlimited and clean energy carrier. In certain regions, where solar energy is not a very rich source due to climatic reasons, wind is an excellent alternative.

Southwest Windpower Whisper 100

Small turbines range in size from 50 Watts to 25 kW, with rotor diameters ranging from 1 to 7 meters. They do not suffer from many of the limitations that the large ones have. For example, if you have 20 small turbines producing the same energy as one large one, the probability that all 20 stop at the same time because the wind  stops blowing is much smaller than the probability that the huge turbine stops. The small turbines can run freely, not impeded by the rule that they must adapt to a grid frequency – they run as fast as is needed. Their electricity output can be converted from AC to DC, to charge a battery or simply be converted back to AC with the proper frequency to feed the grid – local needs can be met. Their site location is not limited to wide open coastal areas or farms: Roofs on inner cities houses are excellent spots for small turbines. And, very important, they do not raise resistance in the public since their placement does not pollute the horizons:  Maximum tower height for a small turbine will be 25 meters, as opposed to the 150m high cathedrals of the electricity companies. 

Opponents of small wind turbines always point out that they are not economical in comparison to the large turbines. One point that is always forgotten in that comparison is that small turbines do not need the huge and costly electricity grid. Not building or maintaining such a network will save a lot of money and this will benefit the users of small turbines. The large turbines cannot function without such a  network and as such need the huge investments for a large electricity network.

 

 

Weapons of mass destruction

Weapons of Mass Destruction (an old article from 2003)

President Bush  George Bush(here listening to a song about Billy the Goat at the moment the World Trade Center was attacked) had a case when he wanted to find,disable and destroy the infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction (WoMD).  After all, nobody in this world needs these devices.  Bush, seeing his presidency lack a compelling theme, seized the opportunity and became the lone ranger in search of justice and peace.

But what constitutes a  WoMD ? And why was Bush looking in the Arabian Desert to find them? The whole world told him that they weren’t there. Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator, but he didn’t have them.

No, Bush should have looked in his own country. There are plenty WoMD there. And it is not hard to find them !

Many Americans actually drive a Weapon of Mass Destruction!

They call it a Sports Utility Vehicle or SUV.

If you ask me, it has nothing to do with sports unless you consider sitting in a car seat a sport..

Also, Utility vehicles  fit more in the category of delivery vehicles or garbage trucks.

What remains is a vehicle of preposterous dimensions.

For those of you who have never been in the USA, I’ll try to explain the hype. A SUV is based on cars used by types like Bush rangers (mark the pun) in Africa or explorers in the South American jungle. SUVs are built on a high frame and have huge tyres to propel the car in tough conditions. They also have a cargo bay that can hold a decent sized refrigerator plus a dishwasher.  This is where the similarity ends.
SUVs are much more luxurious than your standard bush vehicle. In many cases, the suspension is ‘softened’ to adapt to the not so tough driver – not something you would want when going offroad. But then, 98% of all SUVs never leave the paved roads. They are used for shoppings trips to the Mall (another megalomane American invention)  or ferrying children to school!
So why do people need monsters like  Ford Excursion
to perform such basic tasks? Why on earth you need so much steel to move around is beyond me.  Vehicles like

Denali Denial are unsafe, uneconomical and contribute disproportionally to global warming .

Oh, I know that there are Men out there that need a little ego booster.  Formerly, they resorted to symbols like the Penis Car. But since that went out of fashion, this has become their substitute.
But if you really want to be a tough bloke, go drive a .

When riding a bicycle, chances of surviving a collision with an anomaly  like this  are 8 times lower than in a collision with a standard car.

This is because as a pedestrian or bicyclist, you will end up under the vehicle instead of on top of it.

These vehicles are the summit of bad engineering, bad economics and bad safety. They are desparate attempts by car manufacturers to earn higher profits in a car market plagued by overcapacity.  Unfortunately we all suffer from this.

George W. Bush, stop your useless war in Iraq and go find and destroy the WoMD in  the USA! When you destroy all SUVs in America,  you’ll find that :

  • Your need for oil will have dropped so much that you do not need Iraqi oil or Alaskan wilderness drill sites anymore..
  • Your economy will grow  because American ingenuity can dedicate itself to designing the new, hydrogen propelled electric vehicle instead of designing military equipment for you wars abroad.
  • You can cut back on your military since no intervention in the middle east is necessary anymore.
  • Bin Laden will stop his terrorism. He relies on a money  stream earned in Saudi Arabia with ……oil …..!  When the oil stops flowing to America, Bin Laden will go bankrupt.
  • And countless other benefits ranging from liveable cities (ever tried walking around in Houston, Texas ? What a nightmare !) to a drop in asthma levels and fewer people killed in traffic.

 

Weapons of mass destruction

Weapons of Mass Destruction (an old article from 2003)

President Bush  George Bush(here listening to a song about Billy the Goat at the moment the World Trade Center was attacked) had a case when he wanted to find,disable and destroy the infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction (WoMD).  After all, nobody in this world needs these devices.  Bush, seeing his presidency lack a compelling theme, seized the opportunity and became the lone ranger in search of justice and peace.

But what constitutes a  WoMD ? And why was Bush looking in the Arabian Desert to find them? The whole world told him that they weren’t there. Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator, but he didn’t have them.

No, Bush should have looked in his own country. There are plenty WoMD there. And it is not hard to find them !

Many Americans actually drive a Weapon of Mass Destruction!

They call it a Sports Utility Vehicle or SUV.

If you ask me, it has nothing to do with sports unless you consider sitting in a car seat a sport..

Also, Utility vehicles  fit more in the category of delivery vehicles or garbage trucks.

What remains is a vehicle of preposterous dimensions.

For those of you who have never been in the USA, I’ll try to explain the hype. A SUV is based on cars used by types like Bush rangers (mark the pun) in Africa or explorers in the South American jungle. SUVs are built on a high frame and have huge tyres to propel the car in tough conditions. They also have a cargo bay that can hold a decent sized refrigerator plus a dishwasher.  This is where the similarity ends.
SUVs are much more luxurious than your standard bush vehicle. In many cases, the suspension is ‘softened’ to adapt to the not so tough driver – not something you would want when going offroad. But then, 98% of all SUVs never leave the paved roads. They are used for shoppings trips to the Mall (another megalomane American invention)  or ferrying children to school!
So why do people need monsters like  Ford Excursion
to perform such basic tasks? Why on earth you need so much steel to move around is beyond me.  Vehicles like

Denali Denial are unsafe, uneconomical and contribute disproportionally to global warming .

Oh, I know that there are Men out there that need a little ego booster.  Formerly, they resorted to symbols like the Penis Car. But since that went out of fashion, this has become their substitute.
But if you really want to be a tough bloke, go drive a .

When riding a bicycle, chances of surviving a collision with an anomaly  like this  are 8 times lower than in a collision with a standard car.

This is because as a pedestrian or bicyclist, you will end up under the vehicle instead of on top of it.

These vehicles are the summit of bad engineering, bad economics and bad safety. They are desparate attempts by car manufacturers to earn higher profits in a car market plagued by overcapacity.  Unfortunately we all suffer from this.

George W. Bush, stop your useless war in Iraq and go find and destroy the WoMD in  the USA! When you destroy all SUVs in America,  you’ll find that :

  • Your need for oil will have dropped so much that you do not need Iraqi oil or Alaskan wilderness drill sites anymore..
  • Your economy will grow  because American ingenuity can dedicate itself to designing the new, hydrogen propelled electric vehicle instead of designing military equipment for you wars abroad.
  • You can cut back on your military since no intervention in the middle east is necessary anymore.
  • Bin Laden will stop his terrorism. He relies on a money  stream earned in Saudi Arabia with ……oil …..!  When the oil stops flowing to America, Bin Laden will go bankrupt.
  • And countless other benefits ranging from liveable cities (ever tried walking around in Houston, Texas ? What a nightmare !) to a drop in asthma levels and fewer people killed in traffic.

 

Windenergy – now more urgent than ever!

Physics

Energy density

Energy in general comes in many shapes and sizes. One characteristic of energy we can define  is the density of energy. Basically, density of energy means the amount of energy per measured volume. The denser energy is stored, the more convenient it is usually to store it or use it.

The big advantage of fossil fuels, when compared to most renewable sources, is their high density. A liter of petrol has a very high energy density compared to, for example, a square meter of sunlight. This makes fossil fuels ideal for transportation purposes and centralised energy conversion (CEC). It is more efficient to burn coal in one place, collect the energy and distribute it using an electrical network than it is to have a thousand coal burning electrical generators. Hence the electrical networks that we have built – they serve this centralised energy conversion.

The natural energy resources that we have on earth cannot claim this high density. Although the sun radiates a mindboggling 1.2*1017 W per day to earth (enough energy in one hour to supply total humanity’s energy needs for a whole year !), the energy density is low. This is because this amount is radiated over the whole surface of the earth, and if we want to capture it, a capture mechanism as large as the earth is necessary.

The same applies to windenergy, a said before a direct derivative of solar energy.  The energy contained in the wind is huge when measured on a worldwide scale, but its density is low when we measure it in a volume that allows people an easy usage – a square meter of wind flow will only allow us to capture a tiny fraction of total windenergy available. It has a far lower energy density than a similar volume of petrol.

Wrong ideas in the power generation industry

This density problem is not clearly recognized by the power generation industry. This industry is so accustomed to using a CEC process for energy generation that it tries to fold wind energy capture in the same set-up. They build huge (monster) turbines that serve as pseudo power stations.  The group these monster turbines into so-called wind farms.

The results of these efforts are rightly critised in the press. The wind farms are a blemish on the landscape and fail to make a great impact on the total energy production..  Therefore, say the critics, windenergy is not the choice of the future. I agree with the critics that the electricity companies’ approach doesn’t hold much ground. But the current failure of windenergy is because the power generation industry doesn’t tackle the problem in the right way.

A wind turbine on each roof.

In order to properly use the massive potential of windenergy, we must do with it as we have done with fossil fuels. We must base our method of capturing and transporting wind energy  on the nature of the wind. Just as the high density fossil fuels led us to employ the centralised energy conversion model, so should we understand the low density model of windenergy and employ a decentralised way of picking up wind energy.

The Decentralised Energy Conversion model (DEC) entails the usage of many small windturbines, serving its users very locally –  we adapt our capture strategy to the low energy density nature of the wind. The results are:

  • Energy generation is done very locally and only for the local needs. Every user can have its energy needs translated into generation that fits that need.
  • No expensive infrastructure is necessary. No energy is wasted in transportation or conversion. No black-outs anymore.
  • Variations in wind, depending on location and time, do not bring a whole wind farm to a standstill anymore but only a local generation facility. The local generation facility must provide a buffer or an alternative source to overcome the standstill. A fuel cell is an excellent example of such a local buffer.

Small turbines range in size from 50 Watts to 25 kW, with rotor diameters ranging from 1 to 7 meters. They do not suffer from many of the limitations that the large ones have. For example, if you have 20 small turbines producing the same energy as one large one, the probability that all 20 stop at the same time because the wind  stops blowing is much smaller than the probability that the huge turbine stops. The small turbines can run freely, not impeded by the rule that they must adapt to a grid frequency – they run as fast as is needed. Their electricity output can be converted from AC to DC, to charge a battery or simply be converted back to AC with the proper frequency to feed the grid – local needs can be met. Their site location is not limited to wide open coastal areas or farms: Roofs on inner cities houses are excellent spots for small turbines. And, very important, they do not raise resistance in the public since their placement does not pollute the horizons:  Maximum tower height for a small turbine will be 25 meters, as opposed to the 150m high cathedrals of the electricity companies.

Opponents of small wind turbines always point out that they are not economical in comparison to the large turbines. One point that is always forgotten in that comparison is that small turbines do not need the huge and costly electricity grid. Not building or maintaining such a network will save a lot of money and this will benefit the users of small turbines. The large turbines cannot function without such a  network and as such need the huge investments for a large electricity network.

 

Fusing renewable energies – applying hydrogen technology

Hydrogen will be the energy storage medium for generations to come. Non-polluting, abundant all over the world, easy to produce and easy to store are charecteristics of this element.  Hydrogen will complement renewable energy generation and enable renewable energy to be stored or transported everywhere.

for more information on hydrogen, please visit this site.

 

 

 

Windenergy – now more urgent than ever!

Physics

Energy density

Energy in general comes in many shapes and sizes. One characteristic of energy we can define  is the density of energy. Basically, density of energy means the amount of energy per measured volume. The denser energy is stored, the more convenient it is usually to store it or use it.

The big advantage of fossil fuels, when compared to most renewable sources, is their high density. A liter of petrol has a very high energy density compared to, for example, a square meter of sunlight. This makes fossil fuels ideal for transportation purposes and centralised energy conversion (CEC). It is more efficient to burn coal in one place, collect the energy and distribute it using an electrical network than it is to have a thousand coal burning electrical generators. Hence the electrical networks that we have built – they serve this centralised energy conversion.

The natural energy resources that we have on earth cannot claim this high density. Although the sun radiates a mindboggling 1.2*1017 W per day to earth (enough energy in one hour to supply total humanity’s energy needs for a whole year !), the energy density is low. This is because this amount is radiated over the whole surface of the earth, and if we want to capture it, a capture mechanism as large as the earth is necessary.

The same applies to windenergy, a said before a direct derivative of solar energy.  The energy contained in the wind is huge when measured on a worldwide scale, but its density is low when we measure it in a volume that allows people an easy usage – a square meter of wind flow will only allow us to capture a tiny fraction of total windenergy available. It has a far lower energy density than a similar volume of petrol.

Wrong ideas in the power generation industry

This density problem is not clearly recognized by the power generation industry. This industry is so accustomed to using a CEC process for energy generation that it tries to fold wind energy capture in the same set-up. They build huge (monster) turbines that serve as pseudo power stations.  The group these monster turbines into so-called wind farms.

The results of these efforts are rightly critised in the press. The wind farms are a blemish on the landscape and fail to make a great impact on the total energy production..  Therefore, say the critics, windenergy is not the choice of the future. I agree with the critics that the electricity companies’ approach doesn’t hold much ground. But the current failure of windenergy is because the power generation industry doesn’t tackle the problem in the right way.

A wind turbine on each roof.

In order to properly use the massive potential of windenergy, we must do with it as we have done with fossil fuels. We must base our method of capturing and transporting wind energy  on the nature of the wind. Just as the high density fossil fuels led us to employ the centralised energy conversion model, so should we understand the low density model of windenergy and employ a decentralised way of picking up wind energy.

The Decentralised Energy Conversion model (DEC) entails the usage of many small windturbines, serving its users very locally –  we adapt our capture strategy to the low energy density nature of the wind. The results are:

  • Energy generation is done very locally and only for the local needs. Every user can have its energy needs translated into generation that fits that need.
  • No expensive infrastructure is necessary. No energy is wasted in transportation or conversion. No black-outs anymore.
  • Variations in wind, depending on location and time, do not bring a whole wind farm to a standstill anymore but only a local generation facility. The local generation facility must provide a buffer or an alternative source to overcome the standstill. A fuel cell is an excellent example of such a local buffer.

Small turbines range in size from 50 Watts to 25 kW, with rotor diameters ranging from 1 to 7 meters. They do not suffer from many of the limitations that the large ones have. For example, if you have 20 small turbines producing the same energy as one large one, the probability that all 20 stop at the same time because the wind  stops blowing is much smaller than the probability that the huge turbine stops. The small turbines can run freely, not impeded by the rule that they must adapt to a grid frequency – they run as fast as is needed. Their electricity output can be converted from AC to DC, to charge a battery or simply be converted back to AC with the proper frequency to feed the grid – local needs can be met. Their site location is not limited to wide open coastal areas or farms: Roofs on inner cities houses are excellent spots for small turbines. And, very important, they do not raise resistance in the public since their placement does not pollute the horizons:  Maximum tower height for a small turbine will be 25 meters, as opposed to the 150m high cathedrals of the electricity companies.

Opponents of small wind turbines always point out that they are not economical in comparison to the large turbines. One point that is always forgotten in that comparison is that small turbines do not need the huge and costly electricity grid. Not building or maintaining such a network will save a lot of money and this will benefit the users of small turbines. The large turbines cannot function without such a  network and as such need the huge investments for a large electricity network.

 

Fusing renewable energies – applying hydrogen technology

Hydrogen will be the energy storage medium for generations to come. Non-polluting, abundant all over the world, easy to produce and easy to store are charecteristics of this element.  Hydrogen will complement renewable energy generation and enable renewable energy to be stored or transported everywhere.

for more information on hydrogen, please visit this site.

 

 

 

Eindelijk een eigen blog

Sinds 1999 ben ik al eigenaar van het domein boks.com, maar nu (12 jaren later) dan toch eindelijk op het net met een eigen blog!