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Does solar generate more waste than nuclear? No. June 18, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in nuclear.
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Picture of the star of Highlander

There can be only one!

As I noted in an earlier post, one of the things you often come across in the energy blogging world is that supporters of one technology attack others.

This example takes the cake. It’s a somewhat old article that claims to demonstrate that solar power generates more waste than nuclear.

I’m only writing about it now because after a little digging, I found there was a tiny bit more to the story than initially meets the eye.

(more…)

Biofuel vs. PV – stop drinkin’ the ethanol! June 13, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in Uncategorized.
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MacKay's biofuel graphic

MacKay’s biofuel graphic

David MacKay has made a name for himself as the green energy “reality man”, bringing what he suggests is a dose of reality to the new energy discussion.

For instance, in a recent TED Talk he suggested that biofuels are a hopeless alternative for transport. He uses a simple calculation to show you’d need a strip of land 8 kilometres wide beside the road to fuel the cars running on that road.

But we already knew biofuels are a bad solution to the problem. So let’s see what happens when you consider a non-bad solution… (more…)

LED lighting April 23, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in Uncategorized.
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Buy some

Buy some, trust me.

I thought I’d put up a little post about my latest power bill.

Now that you’re all hanging on the edge of your seat…

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EV battery prices falling rapidly April 5, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in Uncategorized.
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nclimate2564-f2

Price declines in large battery packs are faster than expected.

A recent paper in Nature Climate Change attempts to track the real costs of electric car batteries, and find they are already well below the most wild-eyed predictions for 2020 made only a few years ago. If the trends continue, batteries will fall below a critical threshold around 2020, meaning that electric car lifetime costs will be lower than gasoline cars, in spite of higher up-front costs.

(more…)

Electric cars and carbon intensity April 1, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in Uncategorized.
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You evil car you, you're so... so... I gawd I want one.

You evil car you! You’re so… so… oh gawd I want one.

As the regular readers of Energy Matters -the world’s most beautiful supermodels- are no doubt aware, I have a thing about electric vehicles. So when a story on the topic came up on CBC Radio One the other day my ears perked up. And when it turned out the story in question starts right here in Toronto, well, I’m off to the races!

(more…)

太空电力 March 30, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in solar power satellites.
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That's a lot of paper to crunch on that CRT!

That’s a lot of paper to crunch on that CRT!

Once again the undead topic of solar power satellites has raised its hand and flagged down the hoards of space enthusiasts over on Slashdot (thanks for the stats bump everyone!).

A post entitled Chinese Scientists Plan Solar Power Station In Space might lead you to falsely conclude that some actual work is taking place. A slightly more accurate title can be found if you click through to the linked article, Chinese scientists mull power station in space. And if one takes the time to actually read the article in question, you might conclude the title should read Retired Chinese rocket engineer gets some free press.

Harsh? Maybe. The person in the article is Wang Xiji, formerly of China’s space development agency and best known as the lead designer on the Long March 1, China’s first space booster. He indirectly launched their first satellite, Dong Fang Hong 1, in 1970. As is always the case with these stories, the real motivation quickly becomes evident when you consider quotes like “we need a cheap heavy-lift launch vehicle”.

Xiji is an astonishing 93 years old, and clearly hale. I should be so lucky! And if age really does translate into wisdom (we should all be so lucky) then clearly my feelings on space power have to be wrong. But in this case, I’m going to chalk it up to age before beauty.

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