Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Comments on Richard Heinberg's Museletter
I'm a 'fan' and have enjoyed and benefited from your writings etc.. Thank you. I look forward to the book. I saw an interesting video the other day of an MIT Professor lecturing on his group's work on 'artificial photosynthesis' & a fuel/power system based on that. His view is that this system, one which could allow each of us to generate our own fuel (presumably propane or butane) plus electric power for our own homes & businesses, may be the answer. As I understood it, it involves a solar collector using this new lithographically printable photo-voltiac sheet (80% efficient, natural photosynthesis being 100%), providing power to a fuel cell which splits water into H2 & O2, the H2 in a semi-solid form, essentially a hydrocarbon, then into a usable gas, & at the same time producing electricity. I think I have the essence of it but not being either a scientist or a chemist, may have it wrong. His delivery was 'typically professorial', so difficult to understand fully. He claims that the system could be mass produced cheaply (fuel cell for example for $100 if done in the 100's of thousands), and if widely used would consequently 'do away' with the need for the billions of dollars required to build a 'smart grid', as well as doing away with transport fuel delivery systems in the (theoretical) future. He agrees that nuclear is a false god, coal will become too expensive, oil will also, & all the other 'alternative' sources will be too small to make the difference we need. I was overall very impressed with his approach & wondered what you might think. You will surely know of him but I don't have a note of his name unfortunately.