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Another PV ERoEI debacle May 17, 2016

Posted by Maury Markowitz in balonium, solar.
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Your face should have this expression when you read Ferroni and Hopkirk’s paper.

recent report by Ferroni and Hopkirk explores the energy balance of solar power, and concludes that using PV is energy negative. That is, building PV requires more energy than the panel will produce over its lifetime.

Claims like these pop up from time to time, and normally end up being based on definitional tricks on the part of the authors. This example is no different in that respect, but in this case they also add a liberal dose of bad data.

The paper is so filled with errors and omissions that’s it’s almost breathtaking. Once again, dear reader, it’s time for the deep dive.


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

Posted by Maury Markowitz in balonium.
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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. What happens when you consider a good solution? (more…)

Lies, damb lies, and misleading graphs – electric car efficiency in the AAAS February 21, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in balonium, electric cars.
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Map of energy use of electric cars from the AAAS

Shouldn’t they have a caption here?

So someone slashdoted this story in the AAAS. Along with it comes the fancy graphic on the right.

Looking at that graph, it seems that the energy use of electric cars anywhere outside the deep south is terrible! And it looks that way until you read the small-print caption under the graph…

The average energy consumption per mile for an electric vehicle fleet over a full year. South Florida and the Pacific Coast boasted the greenest rates (170 Wh/km), whereas the upper Midwest fared the worst in terms of energy efficiency (196 Wh/km; red).

That’s right, the difference from green-is-good to red-is-bad is 26 Wh/km, or 13%. Wow, nice graph, AAAS. What’s worse, they fail to mention that gas powered cars also suffer from the same sorts of milage degradation in the cold, only worse. My Civic Hybrid gets about 53 mpg (US gallons) in the summer and only 38 in the winter. That’s a 28% drop, over double the amount.

I suggest everyone take a bit of their time and read my previous article on the topic. Running an electric car in the red area is still twice as efficient as a gas car in the same region.

Thorium laser car. Yeah, right. November 11, 2013

Posted by Maury Markowitz in balonium.
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Thorium powered car

Looks can be deceiving.

I never cease to be astonished at the total bologna that gets the bloggers all a Twitter.

Oh I know all about link bait and click throughs and all that garbage, but still, don’t you want to avoid looking like a complete idiot?

Well apparently not, because the entire technosphere was blogrolling a story about a thorium powered car that never needs fuel, ever!



Man bites Fox October 17, 2011

Posted by Maury Markowitz in balonium, power grid.
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The 4th Estate was all excited today by this report, which claims that Ontario power prices are going to go up $4,000 because of wind and solar. Wow, scary stuff! I wonder why no one picked up on this before the election!?

Oh wait, they did. In fact, one of the paper’s two authors wrote an opinion piece about it in the National Post two weeks ago, three days before the election. Odd, then, that the papers are dragging this up now, especially when you consider everyone’s talking about it like it’s news. And people complain the media forgets stories too quickly?

Sadly the actual paper they wrote is hidden behind a $25 paywall, so I’m sure no one reporting on it today has actually read it. But that’s OK, because whenever a paper is preceded by it’s press release, you know it’s gotta be good. So looking over the co-author’s piece in the Post, I quickly came across this tired old bromide:

For example, the ministry did not adequately account for the fact that wind and solar require backup fossil-fuel generation to ensure no blackouts or brownouts occur.