Sunday, March 26, 2023

Is it possible to convert the energy matrix? (Opinion)



If we start from the assumption that there are specific formulations of axiom theory that are accepted only by agreement, then we can say that we are moving towards an exciting future of renewable energy as a whole. Wind and solar power will power the world of tomorrow.

Now, there are some impressive flat covers to this postulate that we can’t ignore:

1- As readers will know, oil, natural gas and coal provide 84% of the world’s energy. This is only two percentage points less than twenty years ago.

2- Oil still drives about 97% of all world transport (land, sea and air).

3- Contrary to headlines that claim we are rapidly moving away from fossil fuels, this is not happening. Even though governments have invested more than five trillion dollars in green energy projects over the past 20 years, there is still a rocky road ahead.

what happened then? Why is it so difficult?

We can find the answer in a single sentence: The extraction of minerals is too expensive to manufacture renewable energy generation components.

To get the same amount of energy from solar and wind power as we get from fossil fuels now, we would have to increase the mining of these minerals by almost 1000%!!!!

Among these we can mention copper, iron ore, silicon, nickel, chromium, zinc, cobalt, lithium, graphite and rare earth metals such as neodymium etc.

All are necessary for the manufacture of solar panels, inverters, controllers, etc. In addition, these metals and materials must be converted into engines, turbine blades, solar panels, batteries, and hundreds of other industrial components. It also requires a lot of energy, which requires even more mining.

As a World Bank study pointed out, “These green technologies are actually

significantly more dense in material than our current energy matrix”.

This could be the main constraint affecting the viability of renewable energy in the short and medium term.

Note: The indicated raw materials represent between 50 and 70% of the manufacturing cost of solar panels and batteries.

second future

But for the object of this analysis, the energy hypothesis, assuming we drastically increase the mining of the above components, I ask:

Where will these new mines be located?

The People’s Republic of China is the largest source of most of our vital (renewable) energy supplies today. The United States is not only a minor player but also depends on 100% import of 17 essential minerals needed to manufacture these equipment.

This creates a geopolitical situation that is very sensitive to the interests of the West.,

Do we want to give China more political and economic influence?

However, the great contrast exists only in the United States, let’s see:

Ironically, North America has all the minerals you have to import from China. However, there are “progress” type conservation schemes that prevent its extraction.

Proposals to build mines in the United States and, increasingly, almost everywhere else, are met with stiff opposition, if not outright bans. In addition, “approvers” spend years of delay navigating the maze of environmental regulations. Let’s take a look in that mirror!

use: The same environmentalists and green-leaning politicians who tout all the benefits of electric cars are the same people who make it nearly impossible to mine the materials needed to make cars like copper and nickel.

third-final thoughts

1-Now, The energy demand of the future will be much higher than that of today. This has been the case throughout the history of civilization. The future will not only have more people but also more innovation, which is why entrepreneurs have always been better at inventing new ways to use energy than to produce it.

2-Furthermore, before the invention of automobiles, airplanes, pharmaceuticals or computers, energy was not needed to power them; As more people become more affluent, they will want things that others already have, from better health care to vacations and cars. As well as smart electrical appliances.

There are about 36.8 cars per 100 citizens in the West and Asia. In most of the world, it is approximately five (5) per hundred citizens.

4-More than 80% of air travel is for personal purposes. That’s two billion barrels of oil a year. Tourism represents only 12.55% of these visits, the rest being in family reunions, business, national security, etc.

UseInteresting fact: Hospitals use 250% more energy per square foot than the average commercial building.

5-The global information infrastructure, ¨the Clouds¨ (Apple, Google, etc.), already uses twice as much electricity as the entire country of Japan, the world’s third largest economy. This is because servers use an average of 1.5 Mega Watts per hour. The massive data centers at the heart of the cloud alone consume about 10 times more electricity than the world’s 10 million electric cars.

6-e-commerce has taken off and is driving record growth in warehouses, which are increasingly filled with energy-hungry robots (Amazon); The U.S. truckload rate for moving goods to and from those warehouses has more than doubled over the past decade.

In short: these are the known trends of today. While we cannot predict the future, we can predict that there will be more innovations in robotics, drones, quantum computing, biotechnology and more. And new industries are yet to be conceived.

All of this would require more energy, a lot more. Fossil fuels, nuclear power and, yes, renewable energy will be needed.

But if you think we can get all this from wind and solar power, in the short to medium term, dream on. Caveats Emptor!

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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