[ExI] Direct solar electrolysis - decentralised fuel infrastructure, is it viable?

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Wed Oct 15 03:26:59 UTC 2008

2008/10/15 Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com>:
> On Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 8:28 PM, Emlyn <emlynoregan at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Keith's evangelism of solar power satellites is very interesting, but
>> the extreme centralisation of the power production has to make you
>> nervous; at best, it's business as usual big capital monopoly on
>> power. I think we should probably do it, actually, but the barriers
>> seem so large.
> I don't see why you worry about centralization.  Bechtel builds a huge
> number of power plants and controls none of them.

Energy supply is centralised now in the sense that I mean.
Decentralised on a world scale, but centralised from the point of view
of a single person.

>> On a related note, I recently watched the talk "Energy Literacy" by
>> Saul Griffith (http://etech.blip.tv/file/1018152/), and was of course
>> daunted by the scale of terrestrial plant we'd need to construct (and
>> the amount of land it would require) to do anything serious about
>> greening world energy production.
>> It got me to thinking, is there a way to decentralise this? Could we
>> think of a way that, instead of requiring mega engineering, mobilised
>> thousands (millions?) of "mom and pop" operations to do the work?
> Unfortunately with the current level of technology, no.
> It's not hard to calculate.
[[snipped Keith demolishing my musings]]

Thanks Keith, that helped.

I found a really informative reference on a "hydrogen economy" here:

Useful stuff like:
"Electricity from wind turbines, solar arrays, etc. can also make
hydrogen through electrolysis. It makes no sense to do so because the
same electricity is better used to replace fossil fuel. The saved
fossil fuel has three times more energy content. (Recall that
converting fossil fuel to electricity is very inefficient.) The saved
fossil fuel can be converted to hydrogen. The net effect is more
hydrogen for the same energy inputs. This point cannot be


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