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Gender: Male
Current location: New Jersey
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 26,615

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Electric Dreams, Electric Sighs.

I can only read this book in short spurts until the pain becomes too great. Read it, I must.

My son's Christmas present for me was this book, The Half Has Never Been Told, which is about how human slavery was, and is still as an artifact of history, responsible for the evolution of American Wealth and its capitalist system.

Each time I read a page or two, which depicts aspects of human slavery in the United States, I'm filled with horror.

I'm slowly and painfully making my way through the first chapter which references Charles Ball's autobiographical 1837 work, Slavery in the United States: a narrative of the life and adventures of Charles Ball, a black man, who lived forty years in Maryland, South Carolina and Georgia, as a slave,

Because my son bought me the book, I cannot help but to think of what my life would be if I was sold as a commodity away from him when he was five years old, never to see him again.

I can't imagine this; I really can't imagine.

It's going to take me a long time to get through this book, bourgeois trifle that I am, to face and understand the world in which I have lived my life. I'm such a weakling that I cannot take this all in one dose, as Charles Ball and millions like him, were forced to do in unending pain and suffering.

We are not so far away from him and we never will be.

Germany is, frankly, a disaster, another zero sum game.

They are not phasing out fossil fuels; they are phasing out nuclear energy and still digging and burning coal.

I posted this in another thread a while back: As Germany hosts green summit, an energy firm is razing a nearby forest

As I frequently point out, over and over and over, seven million people die each year from air pollution and yet Germany has declared nuclear is "too dangerous."

A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (Lancet 2012, 380, 2224–60: For air pollution mortality figures see Table 3, page 2238 and the text on page 2240.)

They're phasing out nuclear, but they have zero interest in phasing out fossil fuels. Which do you suppose has killed more Germans in the last half a century, German nuclear plants or German air pollution?

The belief that the German energy program is somehow laudable is pure marketing and nothing else. And let's be clear on something, OK? Germany is one of the largest customers for Danish Natural Gas

I have spent thirty years in the primary scientific literature on energy, beginning as a nuclear opponent - stimulated to find out more about Chernobyl - and then as ambivalent about nuclear but still strongly in favor of so called "renewables" - and then extremely positive about nuclear and so called "renewables" and finally, beginning about 5 years ago, convinced that nuclear energy is the last best hope of humanity, however much maligned it may be and that the renewable adventure, an experiment that has proved to be a very expensive failure, is a tragedy of unbelievable proportion.

As I also frequently point out, updating with each year's new edition, the UNEP Frankfurt School Report, issued each year: GLOBAL TRENDS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENT 2017, indicates we are spending, on a planet where more than two billion people lack improved sanitation facilities, more than two trillion dollars every ten years on so called "renewable energy."

For the last ten years or so, I have been consistently been reporting that solar and wind combined do not produce even 5 of the 576 exajoules of energy humanity generates and consumes each year.

However, it appears I needed an update, as I discovered when writing this post: The Growth of "Renewable" Energy Has Exceeded 2007 World Energy Outlook Projections by 55%!

I'll quote myself, as clearly I must:

Now let's turn to so called "other renewable energy." In 2000, "other renewable energy" - which includes solar and wind energy provided 2.5 exajoules of energy; in 2016 it provided 9.4 exajoules of energy.

Now listen, two trillion dollars to increase the output by 6.9 exajoules over a 17 year period, a period where people were dying at a rate of 7 million per year from air pollution is not a worthy investment.

It's instead, quite nearly a faith based affectation, a ritualized form of suicide.

You write:

If we cannot figure out a way to leverage renewable sources like solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, etc ... we're completely fucked as a planet, pardon my french.

With sincere respect, because I certainly believe you are actually thinking and not sloganeering, as many of our friends at DU do when discussing so called "renewable energy," I must say that I very strongly disagree with your statement.

I would take you phrase and add clauses thus with my additions bolded:

If people who actually care about the environment continue to believe that if we cannot figure out a way to leverage renewable sources like solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, etc that... we're completely fucked as a planet, pardon my french, we will fail to do a shred of justice to all future generations.

You are where I was maybe five to ten years ago. It would be easy for me to join in the cheering for renewable energy and be praised for endorsing what I truthfully regard as the squandering of increasingly precious resources.

I'm not going to do that. I can't, because I could not live with myself if I engaged in the "bandwagon fallacy" in which what is popular is confused with being right. The popular opinion is often wrong, dead wrong, dangerously wrong, fatally wrong.

If we "needed" solar energy the world would end every evening, and few people would live through the winter solstice. We don't need it. It's useless, expensive and failed.

When I write these days, approaching the end of my life, deeply distressed by my part in the world I will leave behind.

I feel very much like the mythical Cassandra, who had the gift of prophesy given by a God she refused, but cursed in that her gift was such that no matter how truthful she was, she was never believed.

Ultimately, according to the myth, she was raped, enslaved and then murdered. I hope I don't go there.

I am sometimes known in this space as being somewhat brutal with my opinions. Please don't misinterpret me here, because I sincerely believe you mean well, but I strongly disagree with your belief in so called renewable energy.

Years ago, the rhetoric was, "if we spent as much money on renewables as we spend on nuclear, the world would be a better place!!!"

We are now spending more money than was ever spent on nuclear, and the results are in.

As I pointed out in the earlier post I linked here:

In the 20th century, there were between 1959, the year the data collection began, and 2000, a period of more than 4 decades, five years during which the annual increase exceeded 2.00 ppm, 1977, 1983, 1987, 1988, and 1998, the latter - an El Nino year. (The "rebound year, 1999, is one of only two years since 1980 to show increases smaller than 1.00 ppm; in 1999 the increase was 0.93 ppm.)

In the 17 years since 2000, there have been 11 such years, one of which, 2015, exceeded 3.00 ppm, with 2016 coming close at 2.98 ppm.

The average annual increase in the 20th century was 1.3 ppm per year; in the 21st century it has reached 2.2 ppm per year. Even if this 21st century average didn't increase - and it will increase - we will be at 450 ppm in less than 20 years, that is by 2047 (when happily, I'll be dead, so "we" doesn't apply to me) - if we're lucky, and we won't be, because there's no evidence that the second derivative - the rate of change of change - won't continue to increase, as it has since the 1960's when every year showed an increase of less than 1.4 ppm, and when 6 of the ten years showed increases of less than 1.00 ppm.

We are now in the position that as a culture, we care more about hyping so called "renewable energy" than we do about its effect on the environment, which is in the best case nil, and in the worst case disastrous. (I believe the worst case.)

I have looked carefully at the external costs of wind and solar. It's not pretty when compared to nuclear. I could spend hours on the subject, but I won't. I will refer to another writing on the internet on this topic that I wrote two and a half years ago, scratching the surface of what I learned. I will also say that my opinion on the sustainability of so called "renewable energy" has declined further since then.

Sustaining the Wind, Part I

No one alive today will ever see a carbon dioxide concentration of less than 400 ppm ever again, particularly if we insist on lying to ourselves.

Thank you for your sincere comment.

I wish you a pleasant Sunday.

Graphic For Carbon Dioxide Loads for Some Electric and Fossil Fuel Cars.

I'm not a fan of cars at all, and I think the magical thinking that leads people who nominally identify as being concerned about climate change who express great enthusiasm for electric cars, in particular for the car (for billionaires and millionaires) built by crony capitalist Elon Musk is - good intentions notwithstanding - is unfortunate.

Many people believe that electricity comes out of a wall socket, or worse, and most obliviously, that significant amounts of it are produced by so called "renewable energy." The latter statement is definitively untrue. As I showed elsewhere in this space, by reference to the International Energy Agency's 2017 World Energy Outlook, in the period between 2000-2017 the fastest growing source of energy on this planet was coal, which grew by annual usage by 60 exajoules in that period, compared to 9.4 exajoules of wind, solar, geothermal, blah, blah blah's total energy output for all time, as opposed to growth.

The environmental impact of electric cars is largely dependent on the greenhouse gas cost of electricity, although other impacts related to manufacture also play a role.

In pure terms of only one form of environmental impact, specifically the release of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide the following graphic from a paper in the primary scientific literature, [link:Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment|Greenhouse gas emissions associated with electric vehicle charging: The impact of electricity generation mix in a developing country] (Onn, et al, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Corrected Proof, Online June 2017) tells the story quickly and succinctly far better than I can:

Here is the caption for the graphic:

Fig. 1. Climate change impact VS car models per 100 km travel

The energy mix, which is not especially different from that in many countries in the developed world, including certainly many parts of the United States, excepting those with significant nuclear capacity (like where I live, New Jersey) is shown in this graphic.

Here is the caption for it:

Fig. 2. Evolution of generation mix by fuel type.

In the text he authors write in their conclusion:

The study indicates that Malaysia as a developing country is not ready for EVs as our electricity generation is still largely dominated by fossil fuels. Based on the well-to-wheel analysis, the GHG emissions produced through the usage of EVs are substantial and it will continue to be so if no change is made to the electricity generation in the near future.

The bold is mine.

Despite much horseshit going around about so called "renewable energy" the same statement, by reference to the World Energy Outlook cited above, is true of the world at large: "Electricity generation is still largely dominated by fossil fuels."

A zero sum game has been played by advocates of so called "renewable energy" whereby rather than being interested in attacking fossil fuels, they have chosen to attack the world's largest, by far, combustion gas free form of energy, nuclear energy, which has not grown by much since 2000, but is still cleaner, safer and more sustainable than any carbon free form of energy.

So called "renewable energy" has not worked, is not working and will not work to address climate change and in fact, because of material requirements, the word "renewable" as attached to solar and wind is an oxymoron.

I wish you a pleasant Sunday.

California's Energy Flow Diagram.

This comes from a paper on energy and water a few years back, but the diagram reflects the entire energy flow of the entire state after half a century of "by 'such and such' a date" legislation.

Environ. Sci. Technol., 2015, 49 (6), pp 3314–3321

Sometimes the state is described as a "renewable energy nirvana," but like most such nirvanas, it's just marketing.

Have a nice evening.

The Growth of "Renewable" Energy Has Exceeded 2007 World Energy Outlook Projections by 55%!

This must mean that the growth of so called "renewable energy" has been... um, um, um... absolutely astounding (!!!) doesn't it?

We're, um saved...um...um...aren't we?

I like to keep track of things and I create and maintain a lot of data files - often Excel files - in my computer. From time to time, in this space for example, I've made reference to the files I keep on the growth of the concentration of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide, for example, this post in 2016:

July 31, 2016: Mauna Loa carbon dioxide levels 5.04 ppm higher than one year ago.

My files also include hundreds of thousands of PDF's of scientific papers and books, as well as electronic versions of reports, including, for my amusement and depression, a number of historical projections about the future, going all the way back to Amory Lovin's hilariously insipid 1976 publication in a social science journal: Energy Strategy, The Road Not Taken

Lovins aside, one of the most interesting and probably professional set of publications making energy projections about the future is published annually by the International Energy Agency, The World Energy Outlook issues of which are, regrettably, sometimes behind paywalls but can be accessed in good scientific libraries, libraries such as I am extremely privileged to have access.

In my files I have copies all the World Energy Outlook, "WEO," reports between 2007 and 2017, as well as the report from 2000 and - as a non-searchable (graphic) PDF - from the 1995 version.

The unit of energy utilized in these reports is the unfortunate unit "MTOE" or "Million Tons Oil Equivalent" which as I described elsewhere thus:

The energy unit that is used to described is the non-SI, if evocative, unit, “MTOE” which is an abbreviation for “Million Tons of Oil Equivalent,” a somewhat artificial energy unit – given that the energy content of grades of oil vary considerably depending on their source – that pretends that all the world’s energy comes from a standardized form of the dangerous fossil fuel petroleum, which, of course, it doesn’t. The conversion factor, as given in the free IEA brochure, between the SI unit, the Joule, here reported as terajoules, TJ, a trillion Joules, is 1 MTOE = 41,868 TJ.

(Bold added here.)

Here and now in 2017 when we do things like offer fulsome praise for the highly government subsidized billionaire Elon Musk's stupid electric car for billionaires and millionaires - and clearly in these times our culture has a fondness for subsidizing billionaires and millionaires, the only people who actually count, apparently - we like to pretend that all of our electricity comes from so called "renewable energy."

By reference to the IEA WEO reports - and the title statement in this post is absolutely true, at least if one refers to the "reference scenario" in the 2007 report, which is in later issues as the "Current Policies Scenario" - one can clearly see to what extent this increasingly common belief that so called "renewable energy" is not only (as it is often described) "the fastest growing source of energy" on the planet, but also a significant source of energy on the planet.

To evaluate the extent to which these beliefs are true, I've taken the trouble to import some of the tables from WEO reports into excel - an exercise involving some text manipulation since the reports are not in HTML format, but, in my opinion an exercise well worth taking - to do some calculations to evaluate whether these beliefs that find their way into common parlance are even remotely based on reality.

An example of such parlance I found myself enduring, albeit with a sense of increasing hopelessness - I've had thousands, if not tens of thousands of opportunities to hear this stuff because my own "energy outlook" is certainly not popular among a certain subset of self described, if ersatz "environmentalists" - I'll post an excerpt of just one of the more recent examples of this kind of rhetoric. To wit:

…Both coal and nuclear are looking for govt support to stay competitive. As I said before - wind and solar are growing at a faster rate than any other type of electricity generator and as a result it reduces the number of hours coal and nuclear plants operate during the year which means the cost to operate is going up…

The author of the same text - and to be clear I could have chosen almost identical text from hundreds of bloggers with whom I've interacted over the last twenty years offered this stirring analysis of a type I refer to as "percent talk," "percent talk" being the echoed here by me in the title of this thread:

Wind left 2017 with a roar, providing 24% of Europe's electricity on New Year's Eve!
Germany 65%, Ireland 54%, Denmark 54%, Portugal 47%, Spain 46%, UK 27%, NL 25%
Germany 722 GWh, Spain 266, France 217, UK 205, Poland 76, NL 69

The #1 positive we get with every windmill and solar panel install is a decade long less need for fossil fuels. And because both are manufactured products we will continue to see costs go down along with product improvement. They also are a jobs generator.


When I say "Wow!" feel free to interpret whether I am referring to the title of this post, which is absolutely true, or to the statement just quoted.

The same correspondent made another statement, dripping with with contempt, about my rhetoric, specifically - with reference to my strongly held opinion that nuclear energy is the only acceptable and sustainable form of energy available to humanity - which I plainly confess is laced with, um, numbers:

You can make all the number intensive arguments you want - that's not going to change.

Nuclear power plants are not popular, so called "renewable energy" is very popular. I'll discuss the meaning of popularity at the closure of this post, but most of what follows will be about numbers.

If you, likewise, have contempt for, um, numbers, if you made it this far, stop reading this post and go over to say, um, Clean Technica where you can hear what you want to hear, rather than what I am about to say.

The numbers in the WEO reports have all be converted into the SI unit exajoules (10^18 joules) by use of the conversion factor since exajoules are clearer units to handle since they have fewer digits.

The WEO reports by the way, besides giving projections, report the data available at the time of publication for the existing situation. Up to and including the 2016 WEO, this usually meant 2 years previous to the date of publication; faster communications have apparently enabled the authors to refer to the 2016 data in the 2017 report.

So called "renewable energy" is actually broken into three significant categories in the reports, Hydro, Biomass - which includes the "traditional biomass" which is responsible for about half of the seven million deaths from air pollution each year - and "other renewables," which includes solar (thermal and PV), wind and presumably the other super wonderful stuff we're always hearing about, tidal and geothermal energy for example.

Now some numbers, translated again, into exajoules, from table 2.2 on page 79 of the 2017 report, giving data from 2017.

In 2016, the world consumed 576.1 exajoules of energy, which in the table is compared with 2000, when the world consumed 420.2 exajoules. (So much for energy conservation as a cure for all our problems.)

According to the quoted "renewables will save us" correspondent above - you hear this a lot - "coal is dead." He or she says that the industry couldn't possible survive without government support, because so called "renewable energy" is so wonderful and so cheap.

You hear this whopper a lot - from correspondents like the one I've quoted above - but the reality is somewhat different:

Irrespective of this wonderful information - and trust me, I wish it were so, that "coal is dead," since I am opposed to all dangerous fossil fuels - in 2016 according to table 2.2 - coal produced 157.2 exajoules of humanity's energy in 2016. This compares with 96.8 exajoules that it produced in 2000. This makes it the second largest form of primary energy utilized on this planet, after the dangerous fossil fuel oil, which in 2016 produced 183.7 exajoules of energy compared with 153.7 exajoules in 2000. The third largest source of primary energy is dangerous natural gas, which in 2016 produced 125.9 exajoules of energy, compared with 86.1 exajoules in 2000.

Thus in the "percent talk" with which purveyors of the "renewables are wonderful" rhetoric abuse language, the dangerous fossil fuels have increased, since the year 2000, respectively for dangerous coal, dangerous oil, and dangerous natural gas have increased respectively by 62.5%, 19.6%, and 39.2% since the year 2000.

In absolute terms, as opposed to "percent talk," dangerous coal, dangerous oil, and dangerous natural gas have increased respectively by 60.5, 30.1, and 39.2 exajoules since 2000.

Now maybe I'm not a "very stable genius" such as we all woke up to learn that the senile orange nightmare in the White House is, but I feel justified in claiming that reports of the death of dangerous fossil fuels is, um, recalling Twain, "greatly exaggerated."

In the period between 2000 and 2016 world energy demand grew in absolute terms by 155.96 exajoules, and in percent talk, 83% of that growth was covered by dangerous fossil fuels.

In "percent talk," in 2000, 81% of the world's energy was provided by dangerous fossil fuels, in 2016, 82% of the world's energy was so provided. Thus even in "percent talk" the world's dependence on dangerous fossil fuels has not decreased; on the contrary it has increase, albeit by a small amount.

Measured in exajoules, the use of dangerous fossil fuels overall has risen by 129.7 exajoules, which is the equivalent of adding more than another United States to the world energy disaster, the United States being the nation on this planet with the highest per capita energy consumption on the planet, and nation of excess. (If the rest of the world consumed energy at the per capita rate of the United States, we'd be talking in zetajoules and not exajoules.)

Bioenergy - including the "traditional solid fuels" that poor people are compelled to utilize if they can't afford dangerous fossil fuels or real swell solar panels on McMansions, and which are responsible for roughly half of the 7 million air pollution deaths each year - grew from 42.8 exajoules in 2000 to 56.7 exajoules, in percent talk, by 13.9%.

Hydroelectricity - which is responsible for the largest single energy disaster of all time outside the ongoing disaster of air pollution and climate change, the the Banqiao Dam Collapse which according to the link killed 171,000 people - grew from 9.4 exajoules in 2000 to 14.6 exajoules in 2016, an increase of 5.23 exajoules or 55.5% in "percent talk." We are, by the way, running out of rivers to destroy.

The form of energy which I regard as the only safe and sustainable form of energy, nuclear energy - which is certainly not popular with the public at large - was a laggard. In 2000 it provided 28.3 exajoules of energy; in 2016 it provided 28.5 exajoules of energy, an increase in "percent talk" of an insignificant 0.7% growth. Since I have refused to change my opinion on this score, despite the clear and unmistakable lack of popularity of my position on this score with the world culture at large, the reader is entitled to question whether I am a "very stable genius" like the orange senile racist nightmare in the White House, or just a reactionary fool.

It's up to you. Everything this post implies is up to you.

Now let's turn to so called "other renewable energy." In 2000, "other renewable energy" - which includes solar and wind energy provided 2.5 exajoules of energy; in 2016 it provided 9.4 exajoules of energy.


I'm sure you don't want to hear this, so let's change it into "percent talk."

In "percent talk," "RENEWABLE ENERGY" grew by an astounding 275%!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Wonderful!!!!! Wonderful!!!! Wonderful!!!!

I wish I could utilize a smaller font on DU and to make this remark - you know, since this post is all about marketing, um, fine print - but in "percent talk" so called "renewable energy" as represented by solar, wind and related blah, blah, blah covered just 4.4% of the growth in energy consumption since the year 2000.

If it makes you happy, there's all kinds of talk in the 2017 WEO report about the falling costs of solar and wind energy, pages and pages of it - another chant of the people who have bet the planetary atmosphere on this stuff - but typically these costs are the costs of stand alone systems, and do not include the cost of the necessary redundant systems, most typically dangerous natural gas plants, but we also hear a lot of horseshit about batteries, as if the internal and external (environmental) costs of batteries did not exist.

Proponents of so called "renewable energy" of course, as I experience them at least, couldn't care less about dangerous fossil fuels. Mostly they want to attack nuclear energy, which they feel an urgent need to eliminate because it's um, in their very strange rhetorical universe, "too dangerous" even if in half a century of operations it hasn't killed as many people as will die in the next two days from air pollution, nor has it approached the death toll of the two weeks after the Banqiao dam disaster.

The data in the 2017 report, when viewed solely in terms of exajoules divorced from "percent talk" show that the fastest growing source of energy in the period between 2000 and 2017 was coal. No amount of wishful thinking nor chants about the "fast" growth of so called "renewable energy" can in an intellectually honest universe avoid that fact.

Coal is not dead, however much we might wish it so.

Oh and about the title of this post...

The WEO reports always include "scenarios," titled slightly differently from year to year as "reference scenario" or "current policy scenario," or as "450 stabilization scenario" referring to preventing the concentration of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere from going beyond 450 ppm. In the 2017 report the "450 stabilization scenario" has been appropriately replaced by "sustainable development," since it's very clear to me, and probably the authors as well, that the stabilization at 450 ppm is essentially impossible. It will not happen, any more than the 350 ppm garbage hyped by that renewable energy advocate Bill McKibben who has trouble saying the world "nuclear" happened.

As measured at the https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/monthly.html, the concentration of of carbon dioxide, as of yesterday, January 6, 2017, was 407.21 ppm.

In the 20th century, there were between 1959, the year the data collection began, and 2000, a period of more than 4 decades, five years during which the annual increase exceeded 2.00 ppm, 1977, 1983, 1987, 1988, and 1998, the latter - an El Nino year. (The "rebound year, 1999, is one of only two years since 1980 to show increases smaller than 1.00 ppm; in 1999 the increase was 0.93 ppm.)

In the 17 years since 2000, there have been 11 such years, one of which, 2015, exceeded 3.00 ppm, with 2016 coming close at 2.98 ppm.

The average annual increase in the 20th century was 1.3 ppm per year; in the 21st century it has reached 2.2 ppm per year. Even if this 21st century average didn't increase - and it will increase - we will be at 450 ppm in less than 20 years, that is by 2047 (when happily, I'll be dead, so "we" doesn't apply to me) - if we're lucky, and we won't be, because there's no evidence that the second derivative - the rate of change of change - won't continue to increase, as it has since the 1960's when every year showed an increase of less than 1.4 ppm, and when 6 of the ten years showed increases of less than 1.00 ppm.

But actually, here on the left, we certainly don't care as much about climate change as we do about cheering for so called "renewable energy" which - to comment on an abuse of language - is not actually "renewable" since the construction of this crap depends on access to access to increasingly limited ores of some very unusual elements in the periodic table, many of which are either known to be highly toxic or to have suspected toxicology issues. The mining of these elements is all dependent on access to dangerous fossil fuels.

And now let's turn to language as I close this insufferably long post...the title of this post.

The 2007 WEO report's "reference scenario" (which could have been called "current policy scenario" as it is in later editions of the WEO) suggested that by the year 2015 we would see so called "other renewable energy" achieving 6.1 exajoules. As we have seen above, the actual figure is 9.4 exajoules, which means that as of 2016 - 2015 not being available in these reports - the goal has been exceeded by 55%; we are producing - albeit at a cost of well over two trillion dollars - 155% as much "other renewable energy" than predicted in 2007.

"Percent talk" - you gotta love it!

In fact, the figure, 9.4 exajoules is roughly the equivalent proposed in the "450 stabilization scenario," which also included increasing the proportion of energy produced by nuclear energy by more than 20 exajoules. The 2017 report for the also calls for a similar increase, around 20 exajoules in the "Sustainable Development Scenario."

Probably that won't happen. Nuclear energy is not popular.

And now let's turn to the subject of the abuse of language, of which "percent talk" is only one example.

There are many pieces of rhetoric that rely on logical fallacies - arguments and appeals that sound good - but actually misrepresent a truth. Here's a list (among many on the internet) of the nature of these fallacies: Drake's List of The Most Common Logical Fallacies (University of Idaho.)

The lengthening list of people I've added to my ignore list here grows (faster than nuclear energy does especially when represented by "percent talk" ) usually in response the logical fallacies they employ.

Examples one of the worst logical fallacies is the "bandwagon" fallacy, which is also sometimes called "ad populum" fallacy. This is a fallacy is often utilized in advertising.

Here is the Ford Motor company advertising itself as "America's best selling brand:" NEW PRODUCTS MAKE FORD AMERICA’S BEST-SELLING BRAND FOR SIXTH STRAIGHT YEAR

Even if this statement is true - and it might be for all I know - this does not imply that Ford automobiles and trucks are more reliable than other cars and trucks, nor that they cost less to drive, or that they are better for the environment, nor that they are safer in collisions.

It may imply that more people believe that these things - or an important subset of them - are true but this has no bearing on whether they are true.

This, like the frankly misleading title of this post is marketing and nothing else. Marketing is neither good nor bad by itself; we can market good things or bad things, honorable things or evil things, but the success of marketing has no bearing on its truth.

The fact that most people who voted in the 2016 election in the State of Montana voted for Trump does not imply that Trump is good for Montana. Clearly he isn't.

It would be a reasonable assumption if one looks in most places - and certainly this is true of much of the rhetoric in the WEO reports - most people, excluding, of course, me, believe that renewable energy is an important tool in fighting climate change.

This does not mean that this common belief is realistic or even close to being right.

So called "renewable energy" is not the fastest growing source of energy on the planet no matter how many people announce that it is or how commonly this is believed. The, um, numbers in units of energy show that it is not growing as fast as coal, oil, gas.

Because almost everyone on the planet consider that solar energy, for one example, is "renewable" and "green" has no bearing on whether it is either sustainable or for that matter safe.

There may not be enough cadmium on the planet to make cadmium selenide or cadmium telluride solar cells significant forms of energy on a ten exajoule scale, never mind a hundred exajoule scale, and even if there were, this in no way implies that cadmium and selenium are good for you.

I was once a fan of so called "renewable energy" and I was among those who thought the experiment was worth undertaking. But the experiment has been undertaken and the results are in, written in the planetary atmosphere.

So called "renewable energy" has not worked to address climate change, it is not working, and frankly, it will not work.

These things bear repeating, at least in my opinion because unless we, as a world culture do not think anew, all future generations will need to bear an unbearable price.

I may be a little late with this, but I wish you a happy New Year.

Antiviral Phenolic Compounds From Bamboo and Other Woody Sources.

I came across an interesting paper this evening, which looks at some well known molecules from the pyrolysis of wood and bamboo and their activity as anti-viral compounds.

The paper is here: Antiviral Activity of Phenolic Derivatives in Pyroligneous Acid from Hardwood, Softwood, and Bamboo (Wantanabe et al, ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2018, 6 (1), pp 119–126)

Here's a cute graphic from the paper:

And here's the opening texts:

Pyroligneous acids (PAs), also called wood vinegar, pyroligneous liquor, pyrolysis bio-oil, or liquid smoke, are the crude condensate of smoke produced through carbonization(1, 2) and consist of a pyrolyzate of cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin. Wood and bamboo PAs are complex mixtures of water, alcohols, organic acids, esters, aldehydes, ketones, phenolics, and nitrogen compounds.(3-5) Acetic acid is the primary component of wood and bamboo PAs.(6)

Wood and bamboo PAs are used for sterilization, food additives, smoke flavoring, and antimicrobial agents. Furthermore, it has been shown that bamboo PA exerts a promotional effect on the germination and radicle growth of some types of seeds, e.g., lettuce.(7, 8) Interestingly, the chemical composition of PAs depends on the original wood species. For example, the chemical composition of moso bamboo (Phyllostachys pubescens) PA is different from that of madake bamboo (Phyllostachys bambusoides) despite their close phylogenetic relationship.(7) In addition, preparation of crude PA critically affects its efficacy. Regarding its effect on the regulation of germination and growth, it is known that bamboo PA collected at temperatures of up to 250 °C promotes radicle and hypocotyl growth, whereas bamboo PA collected at temperatures from 250 to 400 °C inhibits their growth.(8, 9)

Previous studies have shown that PA has the potential to modulate immune responses.(10, 11) For example, cresol derived from Moso bamboo PA inhibits inflammasome activation through reactive oxygen species production and inactivation of the protein kinase C-α/δ.(10) Furthermore, wood PA derived from sawtooth oak inhibits the phosphorylation of the signal transducer STAT3 and, thus, shows anti-inflammatory activity...(11)

The authors heat lignin from wood to obtain a number of pyrolytic products from the decomposition of lignin, a by product of the paper and pulp industries that is sometimes regarded as a waste material, although the use of lignin and lignin derived compounds is being increasingly utilized for a number of applications.

The structures of the molecules obtained is nothing incredibly remarkable, with many of the compounds being well known to most organic chemists:

But the authors look at them in a new way, investigating their properties as anti-viral agents against a disease causing virus, the encephalomyocarditis virus which causes a febrile disease.

They assay its activity agains the RNA of the virus:

And find these interesting results for the compounds listed above.

I'm not sure that many of these molecules or any will make it to clinical trials, and as their structure is well known, I can imagine difficulties in the patent space, but this is an interesting case utilizing some very simple chemistry, as opposed to the more complex chemistry that goes into far more sophisticated anti-virals, chemistry with which I have been familiar professionally.

It's pretty cool I think.

Have a pleasant Sunday.

Oh really? The wind and solar industry sucked two trillion dollars out the world economy...

...in just 10 years, for what?

I'm not into hand waving and bullshit chanting, by the way, I use references, unlike uneducated anti-nukes.

My reference for this information is here, in the UNEP Frankfurt School Report, issued each year: GLOBAL TRENDS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENT 2017

The exact figure from 2006 to 2016 can be found by summing the figures in the graphic on page 12, which works out to $2,327,900,000,000 or 2.3 trillion dollars.

This ersatz "investment" - much of it in the form of government subsidies and "research" took place on a planet where more than 2.3 billion human beings lack access to even primitive sanitary improvements - to satisfy the insatiable lust for ignorance writ large by bourgeois fantasy mongers who worship that shit heel crony capitalist billionaire Elon Musk, the billionaire who can't get enough government subsidies to satiate his voracious appetite for insipid self promotion.

2.3 trillion dollars...

This is more than the GDP of India, and in fact, the GDP's of all but 7 of the world's largest economies

The world built 440 nuclear power plants in less than 30 years, more than 100 of them in the United States, using technology developed in the 1950s and 1960s. In the United States, builder of more than 20% of these reactors, electricity prices were among the lowest in the world.

Now, suddenly, we have uneducated bourgeois Musk worshipping people here to announce that what has already happened is impossible.

Why is it impossible? It's obviously not.

I'll tell you why air heads never get challenged for saying so. Because the nuclear energy industry, and only the nuclear industry is required to meet standards that no other form of energy in the world can match, including the wind industry - the proponents of which couldn't give a shit how many Chinese laborers suffer degraded health in wild cat lanthanide mining - specifically that no one anywhere at anytime suffer any consequences, real or imagined, with emphasis on imagined.

I mean, do we have conversations about what the thorium laced lanthanide mine tailings will do to people 10,000 years from now?

No we don't. Because the bourgeois poorly educated brats carrying on mindlessly about 10,000 years from now - this while 7 million people died in 2017 from air pollution - just don't give a shit. It's all selective attention, a childish affectation that does none of its executioners any intellectual or ethical credit.

These people - responsible for huge losses of human life by their appeals to ignorance and fear - are like arsonists complaining about forest fires. Assholes like the shit for brains in that ignorance factory called Greenpeace, file specious lawsuits, do everything in their power to criticize, delay, and propagandize against reactors, raise costs, and then complain reactors are too expensive, while promoting the mining of lanthanides, cadmium, and a whole lot of other very questionable materials for their asinine failed and prohibitively expensive garbage so called "renewable energy" scheme.

And the sad thing, is that they are being allowed, through criminal social ignorance to have their way, and the environment and all future generations are suffering as a result.

Too expensive, really?

For 2.3 trillion dollars, if nuclear reactors cost 10 billion dollars each - and there's no technical reason they should - we could build more than 230 1000 MWe reactors. At the 90% capacity utilization typical for these reactors, we could be producing more than 7.5 exajoules of energy each year for periods approaching 60 years.

7.5 exajoules plus the 28 exajoules reactors currently produce dwarfs what wind and solar produce, this after half a century of cheering, subsidy, and waste, after half a century of cheering. In fact, the reactors built in a 30 year period have been producing more energy than the wind and solar scam produces now for more than 3 decades.

Now, obviously if we built one thousand 1000 MWe reactors every ten years, the engineering, the technology, and the manufacturing infrastructure would be employing millions of people productively and the investment would result in a highly skilled and highly educated work force in a sustainable world.

But that's not what's happening.

One of the more amusing things about anti-nukes is when they pretend to lecture me on numbers, particularly when utilizing very tortured metaphors.

I have yet to find one anti-nuke who I believe could pass a basic calculus course, or even a basic pre-calculus course, never mind a course in differential equations by which one might understand the Bateman Equation with which any competent nuclear engineer must work to understand the basic dynamics of nuclear fuel, the accumulation and decay of elements in nuclear fuels. One of the consequences of the Bateman equation is that their solutions actually dictate a maximal accumulation of any nuclide in it, asymptotically approaching a point at which the nuclides are decaying at exactly the same rate at which they are formed, a situation that obviously doesn't apply to lanthanide mine tailings.

I've had these conversations, over the years with hundreds of people spewing the same tired bullshit, year after year. They never learn, and regrettably, for the whole of humanity, they never give up.

They just piss me off. Like I said, I'm devastated to be reaching the end of my life and to realize what my contemporaries have done to the future. I was born into a very beautiful world, one well worth saving, and I'm leaving one that is dying faster than I am. I will die in great emotional pain as a result, even if its clear that nothing can be done about it. We're at over 407 ppm of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and no one now living will ever see it go below 400 ppm again.

There is no converting people who thrive on what I regard as deliberate ignorance. They can't read; they can't think; and they can't make a basic educated supportable argument. It's just hand waving, sloganeering, and specious rhetoric.

This website allows its members to utilize the "ignore" button to avoid the ignorable ignoramus.

I never used to utilize it, but I'm too old for spitting into this sinister wind. I'm using it more and more. Time being what it is, with my basic sense of decency strained, I will employ it now.

Have a nice life.

Scrubbing Syn Gas From Municipal Solid Waste.

All of modern humanity's efforts to address climate change - few efforts have actually been serious - have failed.

Thus it will fall to future generations not merely to stop dumping dangerous fossil fuel waste directly into the atmosphere, but also to recapture it.

From my perspective, one avenue for doing this is pyrolysis of organic matter in particular, biomass.

To some extent, one source of biomass is municipal solid waste, which contains paper, cardboard and food wastes.

Incineration of biomass - which has been utilized for quite some time - is pyrolysis, strictly speaking, however often involves the release of toxic substances, in some cases some very toxic substances.

In closed systems, pyrolysis - given a source of clean heat - can be used to create "syn gas" a mixture of carbon oxides (generally monoxide) and hydrogen. Modern chemistry can basically make almost any large scale high production chemical from syn gas, or at least an alternative chemical having superior or equivalent materials. (DME, dimethyl ether, for example is a superior fuel to both LPG, gasoline and diesel fuel, and it can easily be made from syn gas.)

Thus it is with some interest that I read this interesting paper from Chinese scientists on cleaning up syn gas from municipal waste:

Treatment of Volatile Compounds from Municipal Solid Waste Pyrolysis to Obtain High Quality Syngas: Effect of Various Scrubbing Devices (Dezhen Chen et al, Energy Fuels, 2017, 31 (12), pp 13682–13691)

Some excerpts from the paper beginning with the introdution:

The thermochemical waste-to-energy (WtE) technologies are crucial for sustainable waste management, and the innovative WtE technologies are being constantly pursued by scientists.(1-3) Thermochemical processes, which are known as incineration, pyrolysis, and gasification, convert the organic components of municipal solid waste (MSW) into different energy carriers and reduce their negative impacts on the environment. Compared to conventional incineration technologies, pyrolysis and gasification have higher potentials for reducing the emissions of acidic gases (SOx, HCl, HF, NOx, etc.), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), PCDD/Fs, and leachable toxic heavy metals.(4) Public concerns about the pollutant emissions that could be related to MSW management support an increasing demand on gasification and pyrolysis technologies, especially in developing countries where the MSW management facilities are not fully developed yet. Some pyrolysis and gasification technologies have been developed at commercial scale in recent years. In particular, pyrolysis is the process of thermal degradation of organic material in an oxygen-free atmosphere, which produces pyrolytic liquid (a mixture of organic chemicals and water), syngas, and charcoal.(5) However, the products from MSW pyrolysis should be improved to be of any practical use.(5, 6) In a recent MSW pyrolysis process involving char reforming of volatiles, energy can be concentrated in the syngas with a little oil of improved quality left.(7) The syngas, which usually has a higher heating value (HHV) larger than 15 MJ/m3N, is of much higher quality than the syngas from gasification processes, and a promising product for feeding gas engines, gas turbines, or just a fuel gas. Syngas from both gasification and pyrolysis processes is usually contaminated with particulates, tars (defined as the organic compounds with molecular weight higher than benzene(8)), gaseous pollutants such as H2S, HCl, NH3, and alkali, and alkaline earth metals (AAEMs).

They utilize municipal waste from the Shanghai city dump, which is about 15% kitchen waste, 6% paper, 27% "cloth and fiber," 3% wood, with the rest being residue, probably glass and ceramics.

They hand separated these components - one can imagine automated systems to do this - and gave an analysis indicating that the carbon content, overall, of this residue was about 43% carbon, 6% hydrogen, and 48% oxygen - probably represented by carbohydrate oxygen.

They then set up apparatus according to this schematic:

Here's a description of the apparatus:

The treatment of volatile compounds includes a hot char filter to remove particulates in the volatiles; two Allihn condensers with ice water as condensing medium, to separate liquid products (here simply denoted as tars) from the syngas; an oil scrubber for removing the tar and particulates; and a sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) solution scrubber to remove H2S and NH3. The hot char from MSW pyrolysis, as reported by Wang et al,(7) was adopted to form a filter of 74 mm in height and 40 mm in diameter in a stainless steel tube, operated at 550 °C, which corresponds to an average superficial velocity of 280 h–1. The Allihn condensers have a heat exchanging surface of 680 cm2 in total. The oil scrubber uses 100 mL of cooking oil with a viscosity of 120 cP (Kerry Oils & Grains Co., Ltd., China) as a solvent for trapping liquid product in the volatiles, the amount of oil adopted is comparable to that of a previous research.(21) For the Na2CO3 solution scrubbing step, pH and L/G ratio are the most important factors affecting the efficiency22) therefore, different concentrations (affecting pH) and amounts of Na2CO3 solutions are utilized to find the proper Na2CO3 concentration and L/G ratio to optimize the scrubbing effect. Table 3 provides the operating parameters of the experimental tests, which also include the temperature of Na2CO3 solution.

Here's a description of the pyrolysis itself:

The experiments were carried out in batches. Each run was performed with the same quantity of MSW sample and char, 100 and 42 g, respectively. Then, the temperature of hot char filter was increased by an electrical heater at a heating rate of 10 K min–1 up to the preset temperature of 550 °C. The pyrolysis temperature was set to 550 °C too, which is a commonly used temperature for pyrolysis proceses; the hot char filter remained at the same temperature as the pyrolysis reactor therefore avoided its reheating and saved the energy consumption in practice. As the temperature of the hot char filter reached 550 °C, the pyrolysis reactor was heated with the same heating rate to 550 °C and then kept at this temperature for 30 min. Simultaneously, the volatile products were forced to pass through the hot char filter, driven by nitrogen gas, and then went to the ice water condensers and scrubbers.

The key point here is the cooking oil scrubber and the sodium carbonate scrubber. A key feature of the pyrolysis is the hot char filter.

They obtain, in a 27% overall yield on a fairly clean gas stream consisting of carbon dioxide, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, ethane and ethylene (ethene).

After scrubbing, they are able to clean up the syn gas considerably giving a mixture of hydrogen to carbon monoxide that has a mol to mol ratio of 1.46.

The above figure shows the reduction in the contaminants of the gas.

Their conclusion:

Step-wise cleaning of the volatile compounds produced from pyrolysis of MSW was investigated, with a specific attention to the cleaning effects of hot char filtration, condensation, oil, and Na2CO3 solution scrubbing. The combination of this stepwise cleaning system can improve the syngas quality in both syngas components conditioning and pollutant removal. Hot char filtration removed about 71% of the particulates in the volatile and converted about 32% of the oil phase into gases. Condensation was a simple but effective cleaning step, able to separate 67% of the oil phase and more than 14% of particulates in the original volatile compounds and greatly reducing the burden for the successive scrubbers. Oil scrubbing removed 100% of the particulates and 96% of the tar entering the system, especially the tars belonging to the Classes 2 and 4, and greatly reduced their dew point, ensuring the cleaning effects but the oil scrubber only took in slight shares of the total particulates and oil in the volatile, therefore ensuring its long life span at the same time. A Na2CO3 solution scrubber operating at 70 °C appeared highly effective in removing NH3, H2S, HCl, and tar, and guaranteed a high quality syngas for practical applications.

Personally, I like scrubbers of this sort for pyrolysis, but as opposed to carbonates, I prefer hydroxides.

One of my favorite clean up hydroxides would be cesium hydroxide, in particular radioactive cesium hydroxide, but that's entirely another matter.

This is an interesting, if obscure paper, and it was nice to see. Future generations will need this sort of thing, since we've been so diligent about screwing them over.

Have a nice evening.

Some Interesting Stuff on Deep Eutectics.

We are having a remarkable - and appreciated - cold spell here in the Northeast, may it kill some pine beetle larvae and mosquito eggs.

While it will require putting up some insipid remarks from very stupid and ignorant people - like for instance our very stupid and increasing senile orange so called "President - about the non-reality of "global warming," weather like this, as wonderful as it may be for the ecosystem overall, does inspire some consideration of an environmental consequence which is seldom considered, specifically, the issue of salt flows.

The Fahrenheit scale still in use in a prominent North American and increasingly backward nation is based on two points 0 F and 100 F that were defined incorrectly, the first being the eutectic point of the best known salt, sodium chloride, NaCl, and the latter on the supposed normal homothermic temperature of a human being. On the scale currently used as the "fahrenheit scaled" both are actually wrong. The "normal" body temperature of a human being, with some minor variations is 98.6 F The eutectic point of a sodium chloride/water solution is actually -21.1C which translates to -5.98 F, with a weight % of 23.3% NaCl, as shown in the phase diagram below from a Purdue University Website:

Whatever. I confess that while I do all my thinking about science on the more widely used centigrade scale, and calculations on the thermodynamic Kelvin scale, I still - being one of those awful "baby boomer" people - still think about the weather in fahrenheit, although I wish I didn't.

One of the things that really bugs me - although I hypocritically use it, much as I use the two dangerous fossil fuels I so despise, natural gas and gasoline - is the habit of pouring salt on various forms of pavement. The reason is that I have to wonder where it goes, since salt flows are actually a critical issue environmentally.

This cold weather has caused me to reflect on this issue as did a paper I encountered in the primary scientific literature, this one:

Unconventional Deep Eutectic Solvents: Aqueous Salt Hydrates

This paper is about the use of "deep eutectics" as heat transfer media in closed systems, so it is not necessarily about alternatives in pavement ice melts.

If one accesses the paper, one will find in table 3 a list of eutectic inorganic salts and their eutectic temperatures. Notable is the second most utilized salt for melting ice on pavement, calcium chloride, which has a eutectic point considerably lower than that of the sodium chloride version, specifically -49.8C, which is -57.6 F. I don't think that this is a particularly benign salt either in an environmental sense, but those that are better are often more noxious.

Examples include KOH, sodium hydroxide (the solid form will actually generate heat when exposed to ice or water) which has a eutectic temperature of -65.2C or -84.5 F, and Calcium perchlorate, which has a eutectic point of -74.6C or -102 F.

KOH of course will dissolve flesh (and any other living thing, as well as many non-living things.) Exposed to the atmosphere it rapidly takes up carbon dioxide to form carbonates.

Perchlorates are environmental pollutants associated with the exhaust of some rockets and fireworks; they are oxidants and also interfere with iodine metabolism.

Probably, from my perspective, the least obnoxious alternative would be magnesium acetate, since acetate is readily metabolized and magnesium is a constituent of some fertilizers.

Where metabolism is concerned, probably an interesting set of eutectics are represented by choline/urea systems - choline being a constituent of most living cells, as is urea.

A paper on the physical chemistry of the choline/urea/water system has just been accepted for publication and now appears online:

First Principles Molecular Dynamics Study of a Deep Eutectic Solvent: Choline Chloride/Urea and Its Mixture with Water (J. Phys. Chem B. Just accepted, accessed 12/31/17)

Another, from the wonderful accurate and precise journal Chem. Eng. Data appears here: Molar Enthalpy of Mixing for Choline Chloride/Urea Deep Eutectic Solvent + Water System

While being biological molecules these are less obnoxious on land that inorganic salts, it's pretty clear to me that they would create huge problems in the already intractable and serious problem with the nitrogen cycle, which is responsible for the destruction of huge bodies of water owing to eutrophication, and are involved in the atmospheric accumulation of the climate forcing and ozone destroying gas nitrous oxide, N2O, "laughing gas."

(It's no laughing matter.)

It's time to go to New Year's Parties.

Have the happiest and prosperous New Year, irrespective of the Republican's efforts to limit happiness and prosperity to the most venal, selfish, and useless people on the planet.

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