[ExI] cure for global warming

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Sun Dec 26 21:35:02 UTC 2010

On Sun, Dec 26, 2010 at 10:43:38AM -0700, Keith Henson wrote:
> > Fortunately we have better ways of resolving the energy crisis or looming crisis in the meantime.
> Oh?  Please explain.  I spent 3 years on reducing the cost of power
> satellites and have worked the last year on StratoSolar.  The
> fundamental problem with solar energy is that it is dilute and
> intermittent.  Wind has the same problem.  Both require huge capital

I don't think it's at all dilute. Solar flux upon outer residential
building skin is enough to power it. In fact, Si PV rather likes
it cooler, so you need backventilation to make it approach optimum. 
Many human activities are following diurnal cycles, and cheap nocturnal 
power is an artefact of large plant thermal inertia and dynamic market 
pricing. You can assume nocturnal demand will collapse if price
was to double or triple.

People need houses, these have outer building skins which need
to be durable. Thin-film photovoltaics is an excellent way where
construction material doubles up in function (in fact, CdTe
has about an order magnitude more of energy supply equivalent than
enrichened uranium in LWRs, not considering recycling).

The prices are getting there, eventually. The hard part is making
the growth match the demand gap, double and triple electrification,
and build up electrosynthesis infrastructure for fuels and chemical
feedstock. Work done there so far: nearly zero.

I grant you this is hard, we're not doing nearly enough of that,
and this is going to hurt. However, we do not have any other options.

> costs that translate into high cost per kWh.

I see lots of PV panels on farmer barns around here. Not exactly 
huge capital costs, and the kWh prices are a factor of about 2
removed from residential electricity prices. It looks like thin-film
PV will become the cheapest electrical energy option for end consumers
in less than a decade.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
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