Saturday, February 13, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

David Gross on energy sources

... his monologue begins around 0:55.

Of course, I agree with a pretty large portion of his comments. He is an optimist concerning the availability of the energy in the future, he is pro-nuclear and says that anti-nuclear arguments are political rather than scientific in character and extraordinary requirements concerning the time scale of nuclear waste storage are irrational. Of course, they are.

Gross says that lots of solar energy is not used efficiently. He thinks that the solar sources are just a factor of two from becoming economically feasible. And he envisions a future civilization that has lots of electric cars etc. So do I. He thinks that the efficiency of the batteries is a very important thing to improve - which I think is simply false because the efficiency of batteries in the electric cars is between 70% and 85% even today. The losses are negligible relatively to the discrepancy between the expenses and profit from e.g. solar energy.

But where I completely disagree is his opinion that the governments should artificially inflate the price of fossil fuels, in order to stimulate progress. Well, the Arabs and the Iranians can do it for you. I think it is a lose-lose situation for the consumers - and those who use energy to produce something new - when the energy sources get expensive.

All this progress may be made and will be made once it's profitable but it is completely counter-productive to try to speed up this development or to distort the market prices by artificial extra taxes and/or subsidies.

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snail feedback (2) :

reader datarimlens said...

OK, most is fine, but batteries do have to be improved. You are wrong if you quote high battery efficiency, since that is discounting
a) the load you are lugging around with a heavy battery
b) the regenerative braking cycles are just not that efficient to compensate

Bet you will agree once you check the data ... :)

P.S.: Of course some alternative fusion concepts may work even better than batteries.

reader Anonymous said...

The weight of batteries is very bad, but even worse is the time it takes to charge.

I heard about research into capacitors that could be used in cars to store electricity, and charged in a similar amount of time to filling a tank with gas. I don't know how credible that is...

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