Even in the age of an apparent oversupply of oil & gas, the world is full of “peak oil doomers.” Such doomers believe that human societies are on the verge of a global energy collapse, with a subsequent collapse of global economies and civilisations. They have believed this kind of thing since the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. And most of them still alive claim that they still believe it — more than ever! Did I hear you say “there’s a sucker born every minute?” Too right.
Even if one accepted the doomers’ premise of imminent global energy scarcity, wouldn’t these doomers appear more responsible (and credible) if they were at least attempting to find alternative supplies of energy capable of supporting global economies and civilisations? Do they perhaps want to see a global collapse more than might be healthy for them, or us?
Many of these doomed and troubled souls claim to support “renewable” forms of energy such as big solar and big wind energy. But not only are such forms of energy unpredictable, intermittent, and unreliable — their EROEI is for crap.
The many claims that renewables alone, or in the majority, can fuel our future are not consistent with their EROI. America’s present EROI averages about 40.
Economies with access to higher EROI energy sources have greater potential for economic expansion and diversification. Thus, the rush to coal by developing countries like China and India. __ http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/02/11/eroi-a-tool-to-predict-the-best-energy-mix/
The author of the piece above is being overly generous to wind and solar. Why? Because since a huge proportion of wind and solar energy is produced at an unpredictable time — generally when it is not needed by demand conditions — much of the energy is necessarily dumped, or wasted. A fragile power grid for industrial societies requires abundant, affordable, high quality power on demand. And that is a combination that “renewable” energies cannot meet.
Nuclear power not only provides a higher EROEI ratio, but it also provides an energy density many orders of magnitude higher than any other available form of energy.
Making nuclear power safe, clean, and abundant is what doomers should be focusing on. That is true for the climate apocalypse doomer as well as the peak oil armageddon doomer. It is also something the rest of us should be focused on as well.
One interesting new design for a “meltdown proof” nuclear reactor, is covered by Rod Adams at Atomic Insights blog. The design is a high temperature reactor that is cooled by fluoride salts, and utilises an efficient Brayton cycle gas turbine to generate electric power, as well as providing high quantities of valuable industrial process heat.
Brian Wang presents more details and images of this reactor on his website.
Brian Westenhaus at the New Energy and Fuels website also keeps an eye on developments in Fission and Fusion. In fact, Brian Westenhaus recently presented an intriguing update on “Cold Fusion,” or Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR).
As for conventional fusion reactors, a new study suggests that smaller fusion reactors with a radius of only 1.35 metres may be able to generate power at 180 MW “with a Q of 5.” Such a reactor would be 1/20th the size of the massively expensive ITER fusion reactor.
Small fission nuclear reactors is another hot area of nuclear research that promises to yield much earlier dividends than fusion — if the US government would only break out of the “nuclear foot-dragging mode” it has adopted under President Obama.
Because of their small size – 300 MW or less – SMRs have many unique applications, including generating emission-free electricity in remote areas with little or no access to the main power grid, or providing process heat to industrial applications. Some SMRs will have long operating cycles between refueling and don’t use water as a coolant or a moderator, making them better adapted to desert regions.
Whether they’re molten salt designs (IMSR), air-cooled, liquid metal, advanced fast-reactors (TerraPower; General Atomics) or variations on the traditional light-water reactor (NuScale), these new small reactors build on the successful experience of previous designs and the redundant safety systems developed over the last 60 years.
SMRs are modular in design, which means they can be manufactured completely in a factory and delivered and installed at the site in modules, allowing incremental increases in power as demand grows or fossil fuel plants like coal and oil are phased out. __ SMRs
So whether you are interested in ongoing progress in conventional nuclear fission, conventional fusion, LENRs/Cold Fusion, or small modular reactor (SMR) fission, the several links in this article should help you keep up — particularly the ones to the Brian Wang and Brian Westenhaus sites.
The Al Fin Foundation for the Education and Upraising of Dangerous Children is all about the combination of a broad competence with a resourceful creativity and an ambitious “can-do” attitude. As such it is often at loggerheads with the doomers and stasists who control so much of media, academia, and government.
But it is not as difficult to teach children to escape the enslaving clutches of media/academia/government as you might think. The trick is in immunising the young minds of children against ideology, while making them skilled in philosophy, basic thinking, and reasoning. Since “doomerism” is one of the most destructive ideologies in today’s milieu, the child’s mind is freed up for more constructive pursuits.
In future issues we will look at more details of the ideology / philosophy dichotomy, and the importance of training young minds to make that important distinction at a much earlier age than is typically taught in schools.
Follow these links to discover some amazing things that you can do with industrial process heat from high temperature nuclear reactors.
- Unlock the trillions of barrels oil equivalent in oil sands (PDF)
- Unlock the trillions of barrels oil equivalent in coal to liquids and gas to liquids (PDF)
- Unlock the trillions of barrels oil equivalent in oil shale kerogens
- Provide abundant industrial process heat for production of fertilisers, refining fuels, making plastics, etc
- Split CO2 into CO to use as a hydrogen carrier
- Overturn conventional fears of EROEI and Peak Oil
The only kind of peak oil you are likely to see, is political peak oil — energy shortages caused by abysmally bad government policies.