The Renewable Energy Disaster
No fossil fuels means no food.
by Christopher Calder
Ten reasons to oppose biofuels
1) Starvation - Any force, such as worldwide biofuel production or oil price hikes, that significantly raises food prices also raises the number of human deaths due to malnutrition and related illness. No one knows exactly how many millions of people biofuel production has killed through malnutrition and related illness over the years, but we can make a reasonable comparison to Chairman Mao Tse-tung's infamous Great Leap Forward five year economic plan, which is estimated to have killed between 20 and 43 million Chinese over a short three year period. Mao had faddish, unscientific ideas about how to grow food, and he banned private farms in 1958 in his shift to communes and greater industrial output at the expense of agriculture. This led to a 15% drop in grain production in China in 1959 and another 10% reduction in 1960. The global biofuel disaster is a vastly larger event that has displaced food production in the U.S.A., Canada, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, Australia, and in many small island nations. Biofuels have been produced for many years, and the diversion of agricultural resources to feeding cars and trucks instead of people has been enormous and is ongoing. When you dramatically raise the price of fertilizer, farmland, and food all over the world, more poor people and their children inevitably die. High food prices have the same net effect as outright food shortages. If you live on less than $2.00 per day and do not have enough money to buy sufficient food in the marketplace, the food will never reach your stomach.
My personal claim is that global biofuel production has killed more people worldwide during the 1993 to 2013 time frame than all wars and acts of terrorism combined over the same period. That means biofuels have killed more than approximately 1.76 million people through malnutrition and related illness, and will go on killing innocent people until biofuel production is brought to a halt by an awakened public. Biofuel deaths are a hot politically charged topic, and I am trying to get official on the record numbers from experts I can quote rather than disseminate the many horrific "off the record" estimates I keep getting from publicity shy officials and food supply/world hunger specialists. It is certainly reasonable to estimate that global biofuel production has been a contributing factor (one of many factors) in at least 100 million human deaths since 1993. The number of deaths where biofuels were the predominant deciding life or death factor is much more difficult to ascertain. I do not trust large scale phenomena based statistics, but I am forced by circumstance to seek them out to put global biofuel production into an historical perspective.
Let's do a simple mind experiment to put things in perspective. The United Nations estimates that at least 56 million people died worldwide from malnutrition and related illness during the seven years from 2005 to 2012. That is a low estimate, with other organizations and experts coming up with numbers double that amount. I do not wish to argue the numbers, but keep in mind the bias of the entity issuing death statistics. Food charity organizations have a motive to inflate death numbers in order to attract more donations. Governments have a motive to underestimate death numbers to cover up their own misguided policies. The United Nation's largest financial contributor is the United States Government. United Nations officials who say things that American presidents don't want to hear tend to lose their jobs. That said, let's accept the low United Nations death numbers of about 8 million deaths per year times seven years, which gives us 56 million dead. Now let’s assign the blame for those deaths and declare that 90% of the deaths were caused by other factors, such as high oil prices, weather, poor regional economies, etc., and that the massive increase in food costs created by global biofuel production are only responsible for just 10% of those deaths. That gives us a seven year biofuel death toll of 5.6 million. My claim is that biofuels have killed more than war and terrorism combined over a 20 year time period, which equals approximately 1.76 million human deaths. So, my shocking claim is really only shocking in its conservative underestimation of the biggest crime of the 21st century.
The vast majority of the people who die of malnutrition die for the very same reason; they simply do not have enough money to buy sufficient food to survive. They are not anorexics, and war caused starvation deaths only add a small percentage to the global death numbers. High food prices kill people in mass numbers. That is a proven fact. Biofuel advocates were warned far in advance by respected scientists and economists that biofuel production would increase malnutrition deaths globally, but they did not care. Political ambition and greed won out, and millions of unimportant and nameless people (in our leaders' eyes) died. Now ask yourself who has a strong motive to either ignore or denounce those who try to bring the real biofuel story to light. That is why I keep my claim modest and mathematically bulletproof. Please remember that malnutrition is also the world's primary cause of avoidable mental retardation in children.
2) Higher cost - Without forced government mandates to use ethanol and biodiesel, there would be no significant free market demand for biofuels in the United States. Ethanol contains 33% less energy than gasoline, so it takes 15 gallons of pure ethanol to travel the same number of miles that could be traveled using just 10 gallons of regular unleaded gasoline. Our politicians have effectively mandated that we all get lower gas mileage while hypocritically claiming they want to increase our energy efficiency. Ethanol fuel always contains small amounts of water and absorbs even more water from the atmosphere unless stored in tightly sealed containers. This means ethanol cannot be pumped through existing gasoline pipelines due to rust and corrosion problems. Ethanol is destructive to the fuel systems of boats and corrodes fiberglass gas tanks. Both ethanol and biodiesel increase engine maintenance costs and lower engine reliability, a particularly significant issue for light aircraft owners.
To calculate the true cost of biofuels, you must add together all of their negatives: the high direct cost of producing the fuel, increased cost of food worldwide, loss of water used for irrigation, mechanical damage done to vehicles that use biofuels, and damage done to the environment itself. Judged in total, biofuels are tremendously more expensive than using gasoline and diesel fuel made from oil. Global biofuel production has also raised the cost of farmland all over the world, which has increased pressure on food prices everywhere.
3) Environmental damage - When you try to grow both fuel and food at the same time, you greatly increase the rate of topsoil erosion because disturbing the land by tilling and harvesting makes soils vulnerable to wind and rain. In America, topsoil is being lost ten times faster than it is being replenished, and over 30% of the world's arable land has become unproductive due to erosion. The human race would quickly starve to death without topsoil, and the USA is in serious jeopardy of losing adequate food growing capacity within 100 years or less due to erosion. Biofuel production is helping clog the Mississippi and other rivers with topsoil from our prime growing areas. In 1850, Iowa prairie soils had about 12-16 inches of topsoil, but now have only about 6-8 inches. We are continuing to lose Iowa topsoil at a rate of approximately 30 tons of topsoil per hectare (10,000 square meters) per year. As it takes nature hundreds of years to replace just 1 inch of lost topsoil, ask biofuel advocates if helping to destroy the ability of future generations to grow food is a worthy environmental goal. See "The lowdown on topsoil: It's disappearing."
Biofuel advocates ignore the fact that when we pump up grain prices through biofuel production, we raise grain prices all over the world, which gives other countries a strong financial incentive to burn down more rainforests in order to plant more food. United States corn-ethanol production is a major driving force in the rapid destruction of the Amazon basin. A Stanford University study confirms biofuel production speeds destruction of tropical forests. "We can't find a way that it makes greenhouse gas sense to grow ethanol in the United States," says Holly Gibbs of Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment. A 2008 study found that corn-ethanol biofuel production will cause a 10 to 34% increase in nitrogen pollution in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers due to fertilizer run-off, thus increasing the size of the DEAD ZONE in the Gulf of Mexico. Biofuels production also dramatically increases the use of fossil fuel derived insecticides, which are blamed for killing frogs and bees, and causing neurological damage in humans.
Two studies, Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees and wild bees, and Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids reduces honey bee health near corn crops,
were published in the journal Science.
The dual studies
addressed the alarming worldwide death of bees and found that
neonicotinoid pesticides kill bees in mass numbers, and that bees are
exposed to more pesticides than previously thought, for longer periods
of time than previously thought, and at greater distances from sprayed
cropland than previously thought. Bees face many deadly threats, so why are we
adding to their death toll with counterproductive energy policies that
bring the world nothing but more hunger and environmental damage.
The United States uses massive amounts of pesticides on all of its biofuel crops, from corn, to soybeans, to rapeseed, and so does Brazil and all of the other countries engaged in biofuel farming. With over 50 million acres of land dedicated to biofuel production in the USA, and over 155 million acres of land used for biofuel farming worldwide, and all those acres acting as death traps for bees, the impact on the world bee population is obviously tremendous. Our politicians do not want to admit to their mass slaughter of bees because they want to continue government forced biofuel mandates in order to win the farm belt vote. With so many guilty people responsible for the global biofuel disaster, from politicians and environmentalists, to farmers and distillers, to news organizations who actively campaigned for biofuels, there are few people interested in exposing the ugly truth.
4) Water shortages - Biofuel crop production causes water shortages because irrigation water is taken away from our shrinking supplies of safe drinking and agricultural water. There is not enough salt free water in the world to grow biofuel crops and still provide essential utility water for our homes, and to grow sufficient food for humans to survive. It takes 9,000 gallons of water to produce just 1 gallon of biodiesel made from soybeans, so we need to save our very limited supplies of ground water to grow food, not fuel. Even without biofuel production we are turning vast areas of land into desert every year through loss of topsoil due to farming for essential food.
5) It's a lie - Biofuels are a scientific hoax and an economic fraud because biofuel production methods use so much energy to create biofuels that they are simply not worth the effort. Biofuel advocates often distort energy efficiency calculations by leaving out essential energy inputs required to make fuel. The average American does not understand that when you pour nitrogen fertilizers on crops, you are literally pouring on fossil fuel energy. Nitrogen fertilizers are so full of chemical energy potential that they are used to make explosives, so when you grow biofuels only part of the plant's energy accumulation comes from sunlight, and the rest comes from the fossil fuel energy we feed them. Rather than use natural gas to make fertilizer to grow biofuel crops, it would be more efficient to alter our cars to run on the natural gas directly.
"The following are the major energy inputs to industrial corn farming: nitrogen fertilizer (all fossil energy), phosphate, potash and lime (mostly fossil energy), herbicides and insecticides (all fossil energy), fossil fuels used = diesel, gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas, electricity (almost all fossil energy), transportation (all fossil energy), corn seeds and irrigation (mostly fossil energy), infrastructure (mostly fossil energy), labor (mostly fossil energy). Corn produced at a large expense of fossil energy is then transformed, with even more fossil energy, into pure ethanol." - Tad W. Patzek
Politicians hope that second generation biofuel crops will generate more energy at greater efficiency, but those schemes have yet to be proven in the real world. Professor David Pimentel states that "Cellulosic ethanol is touted as the replacement for corn ethanol. Unfortunately, cellulosic biomass contains less than 1/3rd the amount of starches and sugars in corn and requires major fossil energy inputs to release the tightly bound starches and sugars for ethanol conversion. About 170% more energy (oil and gas) is required to produce ethanol from cellulosic biomass than the ethanol produced."
Biofuel advocates falsely claim that ethanol is a "clean fuel" that will reduce air pollution. Ethanol blended fuels burn cleaner on a per gallon basis, but not on a miles traveled basis because ethanol contains 33% less energy than gasoline. Ethanol blended fuels actually emit more CO2 per miles driven than ordinary gasoline in addition to emitting more CO2 during their manufacture. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, ethanol increases the production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 4 to 7% over gasoline, and emits acetaldehyde, a probable carcinogen.6) It's politics and greed, not science. The biofuel hoax was created by domestic American politics and corporate greed. Ambitious young biofuel entrepreneurs and giant agricultural corporations smelled the money to be made and lobbied Congress in hopes of turning the farm belt into the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy, even if the energy they supply comes at the cost of human starvation and accelerated environmental damage. Both the Democratic and Republican parties desire the farm vote, and farm belt politician Barack Obama was flown around the country during the 2008 presidential campaign on corporate jets owned by the giant corn-ethanol corporation, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama went on NBC’s "Meet the Press" and admitted to the late Tim Russert that biofuels were causing rapid food price inflation. Obama then stated that he would "rethink" his own energy policy. A week later Obama toured a biodiesel factory with Joe Biden and declared it a great success. Obama was repeatedly warned about the destructive nature of biofuels by his own advisers, yet he continued to promote a disastrous energy policy in order to win the Iowa Caucus and the general election.
"First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small."
"It's hard once such a program is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."
"The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices." "The competition with food prices is real.""One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."
7) The outlook for biofuels is dismal - All present and future biofuels have the same problems. Biofuel crops are all too low in energy, too light in weight, and thus too bulky and expensive to transport to be of any real value. Biofuels require too much land, water, and fertilizer resources to be beneficial. By contrast, dirty old coal, which we need to replace as an energy source, has been historically successful as a fuel because it is very heavy and compact, high in energy content, and thus makes energy sense to transport. Coal already exists in the ground so you don't have to plant it, water it, and fertilize it. All biofuel schemes, planned or imagined, will never amount to a hill of beans because of the basic limitations of their solar based production process. A requirement for vast amounts of sunlight will always equal a requirement for vast amounts of land area to collect that sunlight, thus solar power schemes can never replace the massive concentrated energy reservoir of fossil fuels.
Growing switchgrass to produce ethanol from lignocellulose has most of the same drawbacks as making ethanol from corn. We will use land, water, fertilizer, farm equipment, and labor to grow switchgrass that will be diverted from food production, with soaring food prices the result. If we grow switchgrass on land currently used to graze cattle, we will reduce beef and milk production. If we grow switchgrass on unused "marginal" prairie lands, we will soon turn those marginal lands into a new dust bowl due to the erosion of fragile dry soils.
Switchgrass and other biofuel weeds will be grown by ordinary, profit motive driven farmers, not by environmentally trained scientists. Farmers will grow switchgrass on land that could be used to grow corn, wheat, or soybeans, and farmers will want to maximize yield so they will use lots of fertilizer to increase output. The plans biofuel idealists are trying to sell the American public will never produce the kind of "green," food friendly energy resource they promise. The next great scandal will be how to get rid of all the millions of acres of invasive, deep rooted biofuel weeds once society inevitably realizes that even growing second generation biofuel crops is a tragic mistake.
In practical terms, there is not enough usable land area to grow a sufficient quantity of biofuel plants to meet the world's energy demands. According to professors James Jordan and James Powell, "Allowing a net positive energy output of 30,000 British thermal units (Btu) per gallon, it would still take four gallons of ethanol from corn to equal one gallon of gasoline. The United States has 73 million acres of corn cropland. At 350 gallons per acre, the entire U.S. corn crop would make 25.5 billion gallons, equivalent to about 6.3 billion gallons of gasoline. The United States consumes 170 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel annually. Thus the entire U.S. corn crop would supply only 3.7% of our auto and truck transport demands. Using the entire 300 million acres of U.S. cropland for corn-based ethanol production would meet about 15% of the demand." See The False Hope of Biofuels.
Growing algae to make biodiesel is being touted as a cure-all for all our biofuel problems, but we are still stuck with the fact that algae need solar energy to turn carbon dioxide into fuel. To make biodiesel, algae are used as organic solar panels which output oil instead of electricity. Researchers brag that algae can produce 15 times more fuel per acre of land than growing corn for ethanol, but that still means we would need an impossibly large number of acres (about 133 million acres) of concrete lined open-air algae ponds to meet our highway energy demands. Those schemes that grow algae in closed reactor vessels, without sunlight, necessitate the algae being fed sugars or starches as a source of chemical energy. The sugars or starches must then be made from corn, wheat, beets, or other crop, so you are simply trading ethanol potential to make oil instead of vodka. If we construct genetically engineered super-algae that are capable of out-competing native algae strains that contaminate open air algae ponds, the new gene-modified algae will be immediately carried to lakes, reservoirs, and oceans all over the world in the feathers of birds, with unknown and possibly catastrophic results. If we try to guard algae from contamination by growing them in sealed containers under glass or in plastic tubes, the construction costs for building large enough areas to collect sufficient sunlight would be prohibitive. The current cost of biodiesel made from algae is about $14.00 a gallon.
No genetically engineered algae or bacteria designed for biofuel production can ever be isolated from our biosphere because of the inevitability of leaks and accidents, which will occur very quickly in an endeavor of such gigantic physical proportions. That means any monster organism you create will be free to travel around the world at will. One well known genetics entrepreneur in Southern California is now trying to create a genetically engineered super-bacteria that turns carbon dioxide into methane gas in order to manufacture biofuels. If that bacteria escapes his laboratory it could transform Earth's atmosphere into a methane filled hell that could kill off the human race. Some scientists now speculate that 252 million years ago our biosphere was decimated by a killer microbe that spewed methane gas into Earth's atmosphere, triggering a global catastrophe that wiped out more than 90% of marine species and about 70% of all land vertebrates.
Using "agricultural waste" to make biofuels has its own problems. [See soil report] Removing unused portions of plants that are normally plowed under increases the need for nitrogen fertilizers, which release the most potent greenhouse gas of all, nitrous oxide. Residual post-harvest crop biomass must be returned to the soil to maintain topsoil integrity, otherwise the rate of topsoil erosion increases dramatically. If we mine our topsoil for energy we will end up committing slow agricultural suicide like the Mayan Empire.
Using wood chips to make ethanol or biodiesel sounds like a good idea until you remember that we currently use wood chips to make fuel pellets for stoves, paper, particle board, and a thousand and one building products. The idea of sending teams of manual laborers into forests to salvage underbrush for fuel would be prohibitively expensive. Our forests are already stressed just producing lumber without tasking them with producing liquid biofuels for automobiles. Such schemes would inevitably drive up the price of everything made from wood, creating yet another resource crisis. Wood burning power plants also emit more air pollution per megawatt than coal power plants. Making fuel from true garbage, such as used cooking oil and winery waste, is environmentally harmless, but is it really worth the large infrastructure and vehicle maintenance costs required to sell ethanol and biodiesel as fuels? Our usable true waste resources are very limited in quantity, and not a major energy solution for a nation that uses over 8 billion barrels of crude oil every year.
On biofuel advocates: “You have money and media access, and now everybody believes that two plus two equals twenty-two.” — Tad W. Patzek, professor of geoengineering at the University of Texas in Austin, and formerly of UC Berkeley
"Every day more than 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes -- one child every five seconds. The situation will only get worse. It would be morally wrong to divert cropland needed for human food supply to powering automobiles. It would also deplete soil fertility and the long-term capability to maintain food production. We would destroy the farmland that our grandchildren and their grandchildren will need to live." — Professors James Jordan and James Powell, Maglev Research Center at Polytechnic University of New York
9) It's a strategic national security disaster - In the years before biofuel production, the United States had large food reserves kept in storage due to the excess bounty created by modern agricultural technology. Those days are long gone, and global food reserves are now at historic lows. In earth's history there have always been great natural disasters that periodically cause poor crop harvests, such as crop diseases, insect plagues, droughts, floods, impacts of asteroids and comets, and volcanic eruptions that throw up so much dust and noxious gas into the atmosphere that sunlight is reduced for a year or longer. The eruption of the island of Krakatau in 1883 produced a 1.2 degree Celsius global temperature decline that did not return to normal until 1888, and caused poor crop harvests all over the world.
There are mammoth volcanoes all over the world, from Iceland, to Asia, to South America, to Yellowstone Park, which are capable of having devastating effects on our atmosphere and thus our food production. By using agriculture to produce energy for both transportation and human caloric intake, we have eliminated our strategic cushion of food reserves. When global disaster inevitably strikes again, starvation will set in quickly because of government biofuel mandates. If we use nonagricultural energy sources for producing fuel for transportation, specifically the new low cost and nontoxic nuclear energy technologies (LENR and simplified hot fusion - see below), we will not suffer the double systemic insult of food and fuel shortages. Large scale biofuel production, which depends on normal climactic conditions to grow crops, is a severe threat to our national security.
10) It's a mathematical impossibility - It has been estimated that every year the human race burns the fossilized remnants of approximately 400 years worth of total planetary vegetation in the condensed form of fossil fuels: coal, oil, natural gas, etc. "The fossil fuels burned in 1997 were created from organic matter containing 44 × 1018 g C, which is >400 times the net primary productivity (NPP) of the planet’s current biota." This quote comes from Burning Buried Sunshine: Human Consumption of Ancient Solar Energy, by Professor Jeffrey S. Dukes of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University. His figures makes sense if you remember that the earth is estimated to be about 4.5 billion years old, and you consider the rapid rate at which human beings are burning up fossil fuels. Dukes estimated that it would take approximately 22% of all current above ground plant growth on land to replace fossil fuels for the year 1997 in terms of raw energy potential, a number that is now out of date due to increased fossil fuel use. The old 22% estimate also does not account for the tremendous energy expenditures required to transform food derived and cellulose derived biomass into usable liquid fuel. As the United States uses a disproportionately large percentage of the world's fossil fuels every year, the amount of U.S. land biomass we would need to convert to ethanol would be impossibly high. No park or backyard would be safe from the biofuel harvesters.
It "takes a huge amount of land to produce a modest amount of energy." Even if we used "every piece of wood on the planet, every piece of grass eaten by livestock, and all food crops, that much biomass could only provide about 30 percent of the world’s total energy needs." — Dr. Timothy Searchinger, Princeton University
"All sources of renewable liquid energy are inadequate when set against the net energy density that is achieved from extracting oil from wells, which we estimate as being the equivalent of capturing all 10,000 parts in 10,000 of insolation (incident solar radiation), or even from producing synthetic gasoline from coal — equivalent to capturing 2200 parts in 10,000 of insolation. 3 parts per 10,000 is a pale shadow of the fossil fuel net energy densities which have been the sine qua non of the 4400 million population growth in the last century." - Andrew R.B. Ferguson, editor Optimum Population Trust Journal
Biofuel & Ethanol: The Real Story
National Research Council finds wind, solar, and biofuel subsidies are worthless
Lawrence Solomon exposes the hype of the renewable energy faddists in his Financial Post article, Are solar and wind finally cheaper than fossil fuels? Not a chance. "Virtually every major German solar producer has gone under." As both wind and solar subsidies are withdrawn, wind and solar projects become a financial burden rather than an economic asset. "The cost to the German economy of its transition to renewables is estimated to reach 2 to 3 trillion euros by 2050." "As Warren Buffett said, wind farms don’t make sense without the tax credit."
Because of their extremely low power to weight ratio, windmills require the use of huge amounts of steel and other materials in their construction. Wind turbines are being sold to the public as a carbon neutral product, but manufacturing windmill components is not a carbon neutral process. Windmills are mainly made from power generated by burning coal and other fossil fuels. Because of the enormous amount of resources required for windmill construction, and their intermittent and unreliable performance, windmills do not reduce CO2 emissions. Building wind turbine farms covering vast areas of land will kill large numbers of birds and bats, and torture animals and humans living nearby with audible sounds as well as infrasound. Infrasounds are very low frequencies below 20Hz that travel long distances and can cause headaches, insomnia, and other serious negative health effects.
T. Boone Pickens said "I've lost my ass in wind power." - "The jobs are in the oil and gas industry" - Pickens went on to say that "He (Obama) needs to explain to his people, ‘Hey, we can get on everything green. We can get on everything renewable. Then the cost of power will go up ten times.' So be careful when you start fooling with it.” According to The Wall Street Journal, "The states with (wind power/renewable energy) mandates paid 31.9% more for electricity than states without them.”
Germany’s green energy shift is more fizzle than sizzle
Cash in the wind: New York’s wind-power giveaway
China Stops Building Wind Turbines Because Most Of The Energy Is Wasted
Wind power is an attack on rural America
How Wind Farms Destroy the Environment 2: Toxic WasteThe Solar Energy Fiasco - Simple passive solar design features for home construction and passive solar hot water heating are sound investments, but solar power is a wasteful and counterproductive investment for large scale energy production. You don't get any solar energy at night; you get less on cloudy days, less in the morning, and less in the late afternoon. That makes large scale solar power schemes horribly inefficient no matter how high we can pump up the output of solar panels. The cost of energy storage systems, batteries and other complex systems on top of high panel costs makes solar impossibly expensive for large scale use. We need synthetic liquid fuels to run farm equipment, cars, trucks, ships, airplanes, etc., and to make synthetic fertilizers. We can manufacture these fuels with solar power, but at many times the cost of using new, natural gas. You have to run synthetic fuel plants 24 hours a day to be economically viable. If you must use fossil fuel or nuclear energy backup power at night to keep a synthetic fuel plant running, then why bother to have solar power at all? Duplication of energy resources is a needless expense. Any power plant must output power 24-7 to be economically valuable for large scale use. When used for large scale energy production, solar power schemes have an extremely large ecological footprint.
Solar panels will always be exposed to the weather, and their lifespan is short; about 25 years. Unlike other power systems, solar panels cannot be repaired and upgraded to extend their usefulness beyond their very limited lifespan. This fact dramatically increases their cost per kilowatt hour compared to other more affordable alternatives. Solar power is great for running pocket calculators, remote vacation cabins, and other small scale high cost per watt uses, but solar power is inherently the wrong choice for large scale power grid use. Solar power is an extraterrestrial nuclear power system where the nuclear reactor is located 93 million miles away from us in outer space, our Sun. We need terrestrial nuclear reactors right here on Earth so we can affordably capture their highly concentrated energy without taking up huge amounts of land space. Our extraterrestrial nuclear power source is great for growing crops, but its output is far too diffuse and intermittent for practical large scale electricity production.
“Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) for photovoltaic solar systems in regions of moderate insolation”
“Spain’s Renewable Energy Disaster Draws to a Close”
Another solar energy project a financial disaster for taxpayers
The Washington Post on the Solyndra solar scandal and other "green" boondoggles
Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solar
Published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
21 scientists explain the real world mathematics of why we can never
replace fossil fuels with unreliable wind and solar
If simplified hot fusion technology does not work as hoped, the world has an alternative in the form of molten salt fission nuclear reactors. Molten salt reactors are inherently safer than light water nuclear reactors and are cheaper to build and maintain. Molten salt reactors can be run on uranium or plutonium fuel salvaged from old nuclear warheads, and they can also be used to breed uranium-233 fuel from the Earth's inexhaustible supply of thorium. Molten salt thorium reactors produce very little long term nuclear waste and are meltdown proof because their fuel is designed to be melted down right from the beginning. While less desirable than fusion technology, we know that molten salt reactors work because they were built and tested in the United States during the 1950s through 1970s. Huntsville based Flibe Energy plans to produce liquid-fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs) to breed thorium into fissionable uranium-233 fuel. Canada's Terrestrial Energy plans to produce simpler molten salt uranium reactors at first and then gradually transition to the more advanced thorium molten salt reactor design over time. Britain's Moltex has similar plans. See the thorium reactor YouTube movie.
the nuclear technologies described on this website have the potential
to produce low cost reliable energy twenty-four hours a day, three
hundred and sixty-five days a year. Reliability, high energy
density, and low cost are essential qualities for any authentic
replacement for fossil fuels, and they are qualities that biofuels,
windmills, and solar schemes can never give us.
Television anchor Chris Wallace recently asked Al Gore: “You would agree that even if all 195 nations, now 194, met their targets, it still would not solve the problem.” Al Gore answered: “That is correct. However, it sends a very powerful signal to business and industry and civil society, and countries around the world.” In other words, Albert Gore publicly admitted that the Paris Climate Accord was just another costly but impotent act of government mandated symbolism. We need huge amounts of energy to support the Earth's approximately 8 billion human inhabitants, and billions will starve to death if governments try to use wind, solar, and biofuels as a replacement for fossil fuels. It takes so much energy to plant, fertilize, harvest, process, and transport crops that any increase in the cost of energy will always result in increased food prices. The human race cannot eat symbolism. We all need low cost, efficient energy to survive.
Christopher Calder firstname.lastname@example.org home page