Electric Cars and Happy Motoring

6 05 2017

KMO reads a question from Eric Boyd about the transition from fossil fuels to a transportation infrastructure built around solar power from suburban rooftops and autonomous electric cars. John Michael Greer, Dmitry Orlov, Chris Martenson, Frank Morris, Kevin Lynn and James Howard Kunstler all give their reasons for dismissing Eric’s vision as wishful thinking……….




6 responses

6 05 2017

So what about ocean acidification and the collapse of the biosphere. What about the concentration of the worlds wealth in to the hands of the very few. To top it off we face peak everything, not just peak oil. (Which contradicts none of what the panel said.)

6 05 2017

Pointed threats they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fools gold mouthpiece
Proves to warn
That he not busy being born
Is busy dying

A civilization that is not advancing, is retreating.
If we don’t go and live at the leGrange points and become stupendously wealthy. We will die.

6 05 2017

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece
The hollow horn plays wasted words
Proves to warn that he’s not busy being born
Is busy dying

7 05 2017

Regarding the comment first made by Greer that the suburbs are largely near the Atlantic and, unlike Arizona, have cloudy days and will not get much from rooftop solar, I recalled a report from a friend with rooftop solar in Seattle, Washington, USA (whose inhabitants are noted for their webbed feet). She recorded the daily production of electricity and found that the most productive days were cloudy days with a reasonably high cloud layer (overcast). I suspect this is related to the spectral efficiency of the solar panels on the Seattle roof. A somewhat dim white sky (overcast) may produce more electricity than a clear blue sky. (The sunny day had a high peak production with direct sunlight, but the total daily production included “peak” production for a short period.)

Of course, the total thrust of the discussion remains without the false argument that solar is only good in places with “perpetual” sunshine.

7 05 2017

Interesting to see these people, whom I have followed separately, all together. Not much of a discussion really. As usual, Chris Martenson was the more precise and convincing. Heinberg, if present, would have been the next best.

12 05 2017
Eclipse Now

1. NEW MATERIALS: So we can’t build roads from other materials? Seriously? There could be many substitutes. No-one’s read “Prescription for the Planet” that Dr James Hansen promotes on his website, that covers plasma-arc burners that can turn household rubbish into building materials? They promote the Plasma Burner in their free book, Prescription for the Planet (PDF) See Chapter 7 “Exxon Sanitation Inc” p189. http://www.thesciencecouncil.com/pdfs/P4TP4U.pdf

2. NUCLEAR POWER: Forget solar: standard nuclear power has an EROEI of 75 and breeder reactors can convert America’s nuclear waste into 1000 years of clean BASELOAD high EROEI energy, and according to Dr James Hansen, we only need to build them slower than the French reactor to GDP ratio *already* achieved back in the 1970’s under the Messmer plan. http://goo.gl/Xx61xU Uranium from seawater is essentially ‘renewable’ in that continental drift + erosion constantly top it up faster than the human race could use it, now that breeder reactors can get 60 to 90 times the energy out of the same amount of uranium. (Because they extract SO much energy from the uranium, breeders probably have an EROEI in the high hundreds!)

3. ROBOT TAXI CABS mean the end of individual car ownership: we will NOT BE BUYING CARS very soon! One robot-cab could displace between 10 to 30 oil-cars. Car majors are in an *arms race* to be the first to pump out robot cabs because they all know we are rapidly approaching the end of car-as-product era, and fast entering the transport-as-service era. The head of GM has said that transport will change more in the next 5 years than in the last 50. Apple are getting into robot-EV’s, Uber and Google are suing each other over who owns a certain robot-car technology, and the whole industry is in an arms race to own a tiny chunk of the ever shrinking car product pie. That means we may only have to replace 10% of cars. This is a fundamental point that many lithium demand projections fail to model. Robot taxi-cabs = at least 90% less cars, period. The economic incentives for this are so vast (in terms of death personal injury saved to the economy) that the Chief Scientist at Telstra has said it would not only be possible, but *attractive* to make human driving ILLEGAL in Australia by 2030! The era of personal car ownership is coming to an end, not because of peak oil, but because who in their right mind wants to own something that just sits in their driveway depreciating in value 95% of the time when it will be dirt cheap to hire a robot-cab anywhere, anytime and you’ll never have to pay for parking again?

4. LITHIUM WILL MEET SUPPLY AS A RESULT: There are about a billion cars in the world. 10% of that is 100 million. This illustrates how many industry pundits are not really consulting each other. Greentech media talk about EV projections approaching “100 million EVs per year” https://goo.gl/x1amS3 working out to only 17 years of lithium supply, but they obviously haven’t modelled the impact of robot-cars where 100 million robot-cabs would *replace today’s cars!* In the meantime, battery researchers are working on new materials and new chemistries and new ways to recycle old materials and chemistries. Who can predict where battery tech will go? If lithium really becomes a supply issue, we’ll see future cars moving to other battery technologies or even moving to hydrogen fuel cells because *we won’t be buying them* – *we won’t even be driving them!* We’ll just spot-hire the latest state of the art robot car, whatever it happens to run on. Think about what that means! Robot cars are expected to clock up so many miles they only last a year or two. They’ll always be running on the latest tech, and we’ll always be hiring the latest thing! The hypothetical hydrogen economy actually becomes easier when a company decides they’re going to wean off expensive lithium in a world approaching lithium limits. They’ll move to a model where they just produce the hydrogen they require in their warehouses the night before they need it. After all, all hydrogen needs is water and a power source! Nuclear has the EROEI to drive all this. Another option is “Blue Crude” or diesel from seawater which can *already* be economically extracted using *electricity* supplied from nuclear. Indeed, there might even be cheaper and more efficient ways of having hot thermal nuclear reactors crack the water directly in thermochemical reactions rather than generating electricity to do it, which would be cheaper. https://goo.gl/7L8HCW So will you hire a graphene battery robot-EV, hydrogen, super-micro-capacitor, sodium ion, foam, nano-yolk triple capacity, aluminium air or something else? Will you care? You’ll be too busy reading, talking, or snoozing.

5. As James constantly points out, there are profound ethical, aesthetic, social, cultural and public health reasons to build New Urbanism: even if peak oil were not a thing! The advent of the robot-cab only means our job as New Urbanist’s just became that much harder! I am starting to appeal more to the sheer beauty of a community-driven neighbourhood plan and the social and health benefits, and am thinking about rewriting a lot of my blog summary articles around this theme. Fans of “Gilmore Girls” light up when I ask them how good their suburb would be if only the park were surrounded by the town shops. They can see themselves sitting in a ‘Luke’s diner’, watching a functional town square that not only met the practical needs of the community, but the social and public safety needs as well — people walking their dogs and going off to work, little kids playing safe under the watchful adult eyes from all the shops in the neighbourhood that knows and loves them. Cast in that light, they get it! The problem with suburbia is there’s ‘no there, there’. (Claude Lewenz). Anyway, no need to lecture James on the beauty of New Urbanism! 😉 This is not ‘lip service’ or ‘mouth music’, but a public health and cultural emergency!

6. EV production is about to go through the roof! “In its “road map”, released in April, China said it wants alternative fuel vehicles to account for at least one-fifth of the 35 million annual vehicle sales projected by 2025. India is considering even more radical action, with an influential government think-tank drafting plans in support of electrifying all vehicles in the country by 2032, according to government and industry sources interviewed by Reuters late last week.”
Will lithium peak out? Can they recycle it efficiently enough? (Last I looked, they were only up to 50% recycling). Economics will drive a battery revolution, and who amongst us have Phd’s in electro-chemical engineering and can really declare we *know* all the future technologies and can predict to the day which resources will be exhausted first. We may just discover how to recycle these elements perpetually. And that will be Greer’s ‘Perpetual Motion machine’, but it might just comport to the laws of physics after all, and be a nuclear-powered economy recycling various modes of battery techs. Anyway, good chat, and I love the emphasis on walkable town cores and New Urbanism.

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