[ExI] THE END for fossil power

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Sun Apr 3 09:22:39 UTC 2011

On Sat, Apr 02, 2011 at 03:47:41PM -0700, Damien Sullivan wrote:

> And if oil runs out enough that people start synthesizing it from coal,
> coal'll run down even faster.

Things never run out. There just a point where demand
eclipses supply. Your pain starts at that point, and
gets more severe with the progressively opening demand
gap. In case of key resource like energy this cripples
growth until substituted.

Unlike WWII Fischer-Tropsch using coal both as carbon
and energy source won't save the day because declining
EROEI makes you consume it exponentially.

Even using fossils as concentrated carbon source
of synfuels using water electrolysis as hydrogen
and photovoltaics as energy source doesn't make sense,
as there's plenty of high-quality carbon dioxide sources
and in terms of energy input scrubbing CO2 directly
from the atmosphere has negligible penalty.

Photovoltaics has the interesting property that a 2%
electricity source can produce >20% peak demand. Obviously
you can be >100% after just 2-3 doublings, even not counting
other renewable. Even the grid could absorb it nobody
can use that much. Negative prices during peak happen
even now.

What do you do with surplus? Dump it into synfuel.
What does this mean long-term? That current projections of
future electricity demand are junk. Multiply them by N.

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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