[ExI] pentagon wants orbiting solar power stations

John K Clark jonkc at att.net
Mon Oct 15 16:23:03 UTC 2007

"Eugen Leitl" <eugen at leitl.org>

> Vehicular applications are but a fraction of total energy use

But that would seem to strengthen my argument not yours.

> A few weeks ago I've seen an electrical scooter which was
> recharged with  solar panels.

Yes, and people could ride to work right now on solar electrical scooters,
but they don't; even in the third world a bicycle is preferred. People will
never want to ride to work on slow, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and
dangerous machines unless there was absolutely no alternative. There will
always be alternatives.

There are limits to of conservation; if somebody invented a cheap gadget
that doubled the fuel efficiency of automobiles fuel consumption would not
be cut in half because then people would be driving bigger more muscular
cars and be taking more and longer trips. The amount of energy used by the
human race can only go up over the years, probably dramatically, and
florescent or even LED light bulbs won't change that.

> Remember, 1/10000th of terrestrial insolation is enough to
> keep current > humanity in business indefinitely

If that cryptic remark means what I think it does then I'd say it is a very
questionable statistic indeed.

> This means there is no need for additional surfaces, just tiling a
> fraction of our existing structures with PV panels.

It means finding a way to make to make PV panels that are dirt cheap, it
means PV panels that are so efficient and so durable that they produce
more energy over their lifetime than it took to make them, and it means
figuring out what to do at night or on cloudy days. It means your use of
the word "just" may not be entirely accurate.

John K Clark

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