Developing Inventive Renewable Technology
After developing Food and Water security, next on the Hit Parade for people concerned about diminishing fossil fuel resources is developing Renewable Energy sources that are clean and affordable. Often unrealized is the fact that while some energy technologies SEEM Renewable and Clean, they really are not.
Take Electric Vehicles, EVs as they are normally abbreviated on Renewable Energy Blogs and information sites. No emissions coming out of the Tailpipe, they SEEM clean. Going just a layer or two down though, it becomes apparent EVs as designed now are neither clean or renewable technology.
The production of these vehicles requires enormous input of fossil fuels, both for lightweight construction materials as well as mining of rare earth minerals used in the construction of rechargeable batteries. These batteries don’t last forever either, manufacturers generally talk about 5 year replacement cycles for them and the battery packs are not cheap, around $10-15,000. The electricity accessed to charge up these batteries also comes mainly from the burning of fossil fuels in Coal, NG and Oil fired power stations. The emissions not coming out of the tailpipe are in fact coming out of smokestacks at these power plants.
Alternatives to generating power for these vehicles often thought to be clean and renewable also generally are not so. Photovoltaic Solar Panels which directly turn Sunlight into Electricity are popularly thought to be a clean and renewable energy production method, but like the Batteries, PV panels take a lot of fossil fuel input to produce, and they also don’t last forever.
Beyond the fact that these technologies are dependent on fossil fuels for their creation is the fact their production also depends on long Global Supply Chains, with most of the Factories that produce such things now located over in Asia. In a collapse of supply chains, the replacement parts for such complex technology are unlikely to be available for very long.
To resolve these difficult problems, at SUN we concern ourselves with developing more basic forms of Energy collection and Storage, utilizing materials available locally and construction methods not dependent on high technology factories that can be implemented easily by individuals and small communities.
Our D.I.R.T. initiative will focus on basic energy needs and demonstrate methods for Thermal and Mechanical energy collection and storage, independent of fossil fuel inputs. We seek to develop and promulgate such methods here on the pages of SUN.