Category Archives: Bill Nye

New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking Part 8 Sliding Down the Renewable Asymptote.


Continuing serialization of Mark Mills’ report New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking.

This part 8.  

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Sliding Down the Renewable Asymptote  

Forecasts for a continual rapid decline in costs for wind/solar/batteries are inspired by the gains that those technologies have already experienced. The first two decades of commercialization, after the 1980s, saw a 10-fold reduction in costs. But the path for improvements now follows what mathematicians call an asymptote; or, put in economic terms, improvements are subject to a law of diminishing returns where every incremental gain yields less progress than in the past (Figure 4).

 

 

 

This is a normal phenomenon in all physical systems. Throughout history, engineers have achieved big gains in the early years of a technology’s development, whether wind or gas turbines, steam or sailing ships, internal combustion or photovoltaic cells. Over time, engineers manage to approach nature’s limits. Bragging rights for gains in efficiency—or speed, or other equivalent metrics such as energy density (power per unit of weight or volume) then shrink from double-digit percentages to fractional percentage changes. Whether it’s solar, wind tech, or aircraft turbines, the gains in performance are now all measured in single-digit percentage gains. Such progress is economically meaningful but is not revolutionary.

The physics-constrained limits of energy systems are unequivocal. Solar arrays can’t convert more photons than those that arrive from the sun. Wind turbines can’t extract more energy than exists in the kinetic flows of moving air. Batteries are bound by the physical chemistry of the molecules chosen. Similarly, no matter how much better jet engines become, an A380 will never fly to the moon. An oil-burning engine can’t produce more energy than what is contained in the physical chemistry of hydrocarbons.

Combustion engines have what’s called a Carnot Efficiency Limit, which is anchored in the temperature of combustion and the energy available in the fuel. The limits are long established and well understood. In theory, at a high enough temperature, 80% of the chemical energy that exists in the fuel can be turned into power.74 Using today’s high-temperature materials, the best hydrocarbon engines convert about 50%–60% to power. There’s still room to improve but nothing like the 10-fold to nearly hundredfold revolutionary advances achieved in the first couple of decades after their invention. Wind/solar technologies are now on the same place of that asymptotic technology curve.

For wind, the boundary is called the Betz Limit, which dictates how much of the kinetic energy in air a blade can capture; that limit is about 60%.75 Capturing all the kinetic energy would mean, by definition, no air movement and thus nothing to capture. There needs to be wind for the turbine to turn. Modern turbines already exceed 45% conversion.76 That leaves some real gains to be made but, as with combustion engines, nothing revolutionary.77 Another 10-fold improvement is not possible.

For silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells, the physics boundary is called the Shockley-Queisser Limit: a maximum of about 33% of incoming photons are converted into electrons. State-of-the-art commercial PVs achieve just over 26% conversion efficiency—in other words, near the boundary. While researchers keep unearthing new non-silicon options that offer tantalizing performance improvements, all have similar physics boundaries, and none is remotely close to manufacturability at all—never mind at low costs.78 There are no 10-fold gains left.79

Future advances in wind turbine and solar economics are now centered on incremental engineering improvements: economies of scale in making turbines enormous, taller than the Washington Monument, and similarly massive, square-mile utility-scale solar arrays. For both technologies, all the underlying key components—concrete, steel, and fiberglass for wind; and silicon, copper, and glass for solar—are all already in mass production and well down asymptotic cost curves in their own domains.

While there are no surprising gains in economies of scale available in the supply chain, that doesn’t mean that costs are immune to improvements. In fact, all manufacturing processes experience continual improvements in production efficiency as volumes rise. This experience curve is called Wright’s Law. (That “law” was first documented in 1936, as it related then to the challenge of manufacturing aircraft at costs that markets could tolerate. Analogously, while aviation took off and created a big, worldwide transportation industry, it didn’t eliminate automobiles, or the need for ships.) Experience leading to lower incremental costs is to be expected; but, again, that’s not the kind of revolutionary improvement that could make a new energy economy even remotely plausible.

As for modern batteries, there are still promising options for significant improvements in their underlying physical chemistry. New non-lithium materials in research labs offer as much as a 200% and even 300% gain in inherent performance.80 Such gains nevertheless don’t constitute the kinds of 10-fold or hundredfold advances in the early days of combustion chemistry.81 Prospective improvements will still leave batteries miles away from the real competition: petroleum.

There are no subsidies and no engineering from Silicon Valley or elsewhere that can close the physics-centric gap in energy densities between batteries and oil (Figure 5). The energy stored per pound is the critical metric for vehicles and, especially, aircraft. The maximum potential energy contained in oil molecules is about 1,500% greater, pound for pound, than the maximum in lithium chemistry.82 That’s why the aircraft and rockets are powered by hydrocarbons. And that’s why a 20% improvement in oil propulsion (eminently feasible) is more valuable than a 200% improvement in batteries (still difficult).

 Finally, when it comes to limits, it is relevant to note that the technologies that unlocked shale oil and gas are still in the early days of engineering development, unlike the older technologies of wind, solar, and batteries. Tenfold gains are still possible in terms of how much energy can be extracted by a rig from shale rock before approaching physics limits.83 That fact helps explain why shale oil and gas have added 2,000% more to U.S. energy production over the past decade than have wind and solar combined.84

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Next up is  Part 9 Digitalization Won’t Uberize the Energy Sector.

cbdakota

 

 

Fisking Of The Posting “If Trump And GOP Don’t Understand Climate Change, The Don’t Deserve Public Office.”


The following fisking is of an article posted on CNN Opinion, by Jill Flipovic  on August 21 2018 titled “If Trump and GOP don’t understand climate change, they don’t deserve public office:.

I have added comments to Ms Filipovic essay in red.

The Trump administration’s latest efforts to undo more of Barack Obama’s efforts to slow climate change come as no surprise. Nothing gets this President more excited than trying to undo his predecessor’s legacy.

But his proposed new EPA rules — tagged with the laughable misnomer the “Affordable Clean Energy” rule — are not just vindictive, they are dangerous. The administration wants to allow coal-burning power plants to emit more deadly carbon and to give states greater leeway to allow big-money companies to pollute. The new rules would replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at reducing carbon emissions.  

Several things wrong here. First “deadly carbon” is an ignorant thing to say.  Does she not know that virtually every living thing is composed of carbon?   The globe is greening due to the increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2).  Wheat and corn fields are becoming more productive as atmospheric  CO2 increases.   Secondly, her ignorance shows.  She is wrong if she thinks shutting down US coal plants will have any effect on the planet.  Using the warmers own formula for calculating the effect of reduced CO2 emissions by a shutdown US coal plants,  shows that any temperature decrease will be too small to be  measurable.
Thirdly the emission of CO2 from US coal plants is pretty small compared to China.  Her rant is  missdirected.  China is  adding a new coal plant every week. And guess who gave the Chinese  permission to continue doing this until 2030 —none other than forward looking savior Barak O.   Obama thinks we should close our coal plants down but its ok for the Chinese to keep building them.  Not just China , world-wide construction of coal based plants is on the rise.  Coal sales are on the rise.

The proposal reflects a longstanding and fundamentally damaging idea in right-wing politics: That climate change is a matter of opinion, not fact, and that people who have no interest in the facts still deserve to hold political office. 

It is obvious, she belongs to the church of unending climate catastrophes.  If she would look at actual recorded temperatures versus the computer PREDICTION, she might come down off her high horse. Paraphrasing the last sentence, Those who hold catastrophic climate change based upon religious beliefs  do not deserve to write ignorant opinion pieces.

The deluded perspective is not confined to America’s Republican Party. Conservatives in Australia have also latched on to the theory that climate change is debatable, and that efforts to fight it are a liberal conspiracy against big business.

 Well, Germany, and other European countries are increasing their CO2 emissions.  The third world is increasing their CO2 emissions. The Paris Agreement is a scam.  This is evading Ms. Filipovic.  She lives in a world of make believe.  Perhaps that shows that only the US and Australia are not hiding under the covers.

The GOP has long been in the pocket of polluters, who have who have made clear that they are quite comfortable destroying the planet for our children and grandchildren in return for getting rich now. The party has helped to make this denialism politically feasible by systematically undermining the public. 

Once again Ms Pilipovic seems to be ill informed.  What President Trump is doing is to make electricity affordable.   Go look at the reports from England and Germany, two nations that have gone head over heals in renewable energy, about the poor people that are dying because they can no longer afford electricity.  Every intelligent person knows that the people that will suffer the most as energy prices go skyrocketing are the poorest people among us. 

That the new Trump rules will cost thousands of lives — 1,400 every year by the EPA’s own admission — doesn’t seem to matter to this President and his GOP enablers, who put corporate profits first, ahead of citizens’ health. In this, they are joined by a base that seems willing to accept any lie, indignity or even undermining of health and life.

When you read about the deaths of 1400 every year, you may wonder where that came from.   Ms Pilipovic may know but my guess is that she doesn’t.  The Obama EPA knew that the coal plant CO2 emissions were insufficient to justify the “Clean Power Plant” plan.  They needed something else. So, they settled on 2.5-micron particles.  Too small for you to see, but they postulated that people are breathing them in and dying.  They had a problem.  All the test they had run as well as other groups outside of the EPA never found that the 2.5-micron particles were killing people.  So, they got a group of “scientist” to run these tests again.  Guess what.  They found out that it was a serious situation.  Two things are fishy here.  The first that they would not publish their test data.  Of course, no one could disprove their results without access to their data.   BUT the EPA accepted the results.  A new bill has been passed saying that the EPA can no longer use “secrete science”.  And the group of scientists that did this secrete science have amassed over $20, 000,000 doing studies for the EPA.  They know who is buttering their bread.

It’s a sad state of affairs — but also a real and growing threat to a country experiencing wild weather mood swings, the largest wildfires in recorded history, floods, droughts and on and on.

The bible of the warmers is the IPCC reports.  These reports have consistently said that the “wild weather “is not a function of climate change.

In any reasonable universe, those who deny basic scientific facts that connect this grim reality to humans’ role in global warming would be deemed unfit to hold office.

Here we go again. Who is unfit to hold office is the catastrophic global warmers. Get this, James Hansen, the god father of the catastrophic global warming movement says their theory is all wrong.   Click here to read.

Imagine a congressman who questioned whether gravity was real, or a senator who insisted the earth was flat. We would rightly say that they’re intellectually deficient, and that their bizarre theories mean they probably shouldn’t be making vital decisions that affect millions of Americans (not to mention billions more people around the world).

Is this a mistake on her part?  Normally people would say Representatives and Senators not congressmen and senators.

But somehow climate change falls in a different category (along with, among a majority of evangelical protestants, for example, a disbelief in evolution).

This seems to be religious bias.  I was told that liberals never sank that low.

It’s one thing to be ignorant — and, to be sure, many non-climate-change-denying Americans don’t understand the basics of climate change either. But most Americans also don’t understand the details of how a bill becomes law, how our court system works, or how the national budget gets set — all things we expect of our nationally elected officials.

I think we have shown who are the Ignorant ones.

Politicians should similarly be expected to understand the basic science of climate change, and to listen to the scientific experts instead of seeking out the few outliers who confirm their own half-baked beliefs.

Oh yes, such people as Al Gore and Bill Nye are the biggest half baked, maybe only unbaked catastrophic global warmer educators.

Of course, Trump has appointed a series of cronies and amateurs to his cabinet, and he himself holds the highest office in the land, with zero previous experience for the job, zero intellectual curiosity, and zero ability to train his attention on just about anything other than Twitter and Fox News.

Gosh he only amassed several billions of dollars in his business career.  Of course  Barak Obama’s experience as a community organizer made him much more qualified than Donald Trump. (sarc)

Again, showning who the ignorant one is.

His presidency makes full mockery of the theory that those in charge should know anything at all. And with this latest green light to polluters and contaminators, all of us are again paying the price for that unapologetic greed and ignorance.

Repeat.

cbdakota

Death Of An Icon–Polar Bears


Polar bears are disappearing from the warmer’s  publications (including Al Gore’s new movie).  Why?   Well, because the polar bear population  is growing, not declining as the warmers had forecast.

The following video was produced by GWPFTV and narrated by Susan Crockford. PhD.

cbdakota

 

Dr. Roy Spencer Responds To Stephen Hawking’s Statement About The Paris Agreement


A  recent video has  Stephen Hawking saying that leaving the Paris Agreement will result in Earth becoming like Venus.  That, of course, would destroy all life, animal and plant.  It is pretty far out for anyone to make a statement like that but ……..

Dr Roy Spencer, a noted scientist, responds to Hawking’s comment in the following:

Stephen Hawking Flies off the Scientific Reservation

I can understand when pop-scientists like Bill Nye spout scientific silliness.

But complete nonsense coming from Stephen Hawking? Really?

In this video, Stephen Hawking claims that Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Accord could lead to the Earth being pushed past a tipping point, with Venus-like 250 deg. C temperatures and sulfuric acid rain.

Continue reading

Gore And Nye Are The Spokesmen For Catastrophic Global Warming—That’s The Best They Can Do?


Things have been very busy here at home.  That is my excuse for writing so little recently.  I am working on some thoughts why the global temperature is likely to begin to cool—a case of natural forces.   But in the mean time, the warmers have allowed Bill Nye and Al Gore (and on occasion, Di Caprio) to be the face of their catastrophic religion.  The real warmer scientists have tried the debate arena and have consistently underperformed.  So better to leave it to their apostles,  Nye and Gore.

If you haven’t seen” Bill Nye Saves the World” on Netflix, please do. If he and his minions don’t turn you off, you must be a warmer.  The ratings are generally dismal.  The Google Users rated it 29%. 

See this You tube video that reviews what Nye’s show.   

 

 

Algore has a new movie, an update of his “An Inconvient Truth”. I have seen the Promos version of this movie and it will probably be as full of errors and exaggerations as was his original one.  The  first one was the one that James Hansen (god-father of the current US catastrophic warming theory) said—well, ya, there are a lot of mistakes in it but its message is good.  That is the kind of science that the warmers (consensus method) use along with  coercion.

cbdakota