Despite the Stupidity of Humans They May Still Have a Future

Yesterday we looked at the idea of an IQ breaking point: The average population IQ of a nation needs to be above a certain level for the country to prosper and maintain a high quality of life. The most commonly accepted numbers for an “IQ Breaking Point” fall between 92 and 97.

And yet we have seen in earlier articles that even a high IQ nation such as Germany can adopt energy and economic policies which will doom the country to ultimate failure, as the game plays out.

Modern countries with high technology infrastructures will require clean and abundant forms of energy of high energy density — which eliminates wind and solar from the running. Countries that depend upon wind and solar for the larger parts of their energy supply will fail, with immense hardship falling upon the people.

Fossil fuels have intermediate energy density, and are useful for transportation purposes. They are also far more reliable for purposes of electric power generation than wind or solar. Unfortunately, fossil fuels will eventually become too expensive to utilize on a large scale for power production, sometime over the next century or two.

The only form of energy of sufficient density and abundance to power large modern societies of high technology infrastructure, is nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy has had problems recently — largely in terms of costs. It is important for intelligent readers to understand why the costs of nuclear power have climbed so high, and Brian Wang explains many of the reasons here.

On the surface it may seem that nuclear power has had its day, and has now priced itself out of the market — with the help of a great deal of political manipulation and handicapping. But nuclear power is too good to give up on, and better approaches are bound to be devised.

New nuclear reactors — such as small modular reactors (SMRs) — have the potential to change the rules. Another contestant to fight against the tide to build a better reactor is NuScale.

Although he saves his enthusiasm and big payouts to big wind and big solar, even an energy Luddite such as President Obama has at least paid minimal lip service to SMRs.

Bill Gates is putting his money into a reactor that can burn current supplies of nuclear waste to supply almost a thousand years of power. Another interesting startup aiming to burn “nuclear waste” is Transatomics.

If reactor designers are allowed to prove their designs in testing and then in the marketplace, it is likely that nuclear power will prove to be the most economical form of power.

Savvy energy observers have heard a lot about the safety of Thorium Energy, but even more conventional fuels can be made much safer.

Al Fin promotes new high temperature gas cooled reactors, largely due to their almost magical ability to transform low value materials into high value materials. That’s right, these reactors will change the world for the better and open up the future — if only obstructionist governments would give up their Luddite dieoff.orgy ways and say yes to a world with more possibilities.

The current path that lefty-green influenced polities such as Europe and the US seem to be choosing — the path to ultimate energy starvation — is a path to a world with no good future. Particularly when a world of energy starvation is also a world of a dysgenic demographic decline.

China and Russia are not overtly choosing that path, but those nations have problems of their own which will lead to collapse and fragmentation sooner or later.

Hope, as always, rests in the Anglosphere, and the choices to be made by the governments of the Anglosphere and allied high IQ societies — while they last.

At the level of families, communities, and regions, hope rests in the competence, skills, and character of the people. It is never too late to have a dangerous childhood.

Below is a short list of materials by energy density from Wikipedia Energy Density. Try not to fall for the sleight of hand attempt to make hydrogen appear more useful than it is in practice.

The following is a list of the combustion energy densities of commonly used or well-known energy storage materials; it doesn’t include uncommon or experimental materials. Note that this list does not consider the mass of reactants commonly available such as the oxygen required for combustion.

The following unit conversions may be helpful when considering the data in the table: 1 MJ ≈ 0.28 kWh ≈ 0.37 HPh.

Storage material Energy type Specific energy (MJ/kg) Energy density (MJ/L) Direct uses
Uranium-235 Nuclear fission 83 140 000[2] 1 546 000 000 Electric power plants (nuclear reactors)
Hydrogen (compressed at 70 MPa) Chemical 123 5.6 Experimental automotive engines
Gasoline (petrol) / Diesel Chemical ~46 ~36 Automotive engines
Propane (including LPG) Chemical 46.4 26 Cooking, home heating, automotive engines
Fat (animal/vegetable) Chemical 37 Human/animal nutrition
Coal Chemical 24 Electric power plants, home heating
Carbohydrates (including sugars) Chemical 17 Human/animal nutrition
Protein Chemical 16.8 Human/animal nutrition
Wood Chemical 16.2 Heating, outdoor cooking
TNT Chemical 4.6 Explosives
Gunpowder Chemical 3 Explosives
Lithium battery (non-rechargeable) Electrochemical 1.8 4.32 Portable electronic devices, flashlights
Lithium-ion battery Electrochemical 0.72–0.875 0.9–2.63 Laptop computers, mobile devices, some modern electric vehicles
Alkaline battery Electrochemical 0.67 1.8 Portable electronic devices, flashlights
Nickel-metal hydride battery Electrochemical 0.288 0.504–1.08 Portable electronic devices, flashlights
Lead-acid battery Electrochemical 0.17 0.34 Automotive engine ignition
Supercapacitor Electrical 0.018 Electronic circuits
Electrostatic capacitor Electrical 0.000036 Electronic circuits
Energy capacities of common storage forms
Storage device Energy type Energy content (MJ) Typical mass W × H × D (mm) Uses
Automotive lead-acid battery Electrochemical 2.6 15 kg 230 × 180 × 185 Automotive starter motor and accessories
Sandwich (Subway 6 inch club) Chemical 1.3[3] 240 grams 150 × ? × ? Human nutrition
Alkaline AA battery Electrochemical 0.0154 23 g 14.5 × 50.5 × 14.5 Portable electronic equipment, flashlights
Lithium-ion battery
(Nokia BL-5C)
Electrochemical 0.0129 18.5 g 54.2 × 33.8 × 5.8 Mobile phones

Energy density is king.

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  1. Pingback: Common Sense Energy Foundations | al fin next level

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