Articles to 2014-08-09

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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.

Sovacool’s stance is not surprising once you realize that he touts his own commercial interest here. His solution of solving technical problems by massive, state sponsored, and mandatory reeducation has been tried for over forty years. Not only was it voted down by overwhelming public opposition, its results both in energy efficiency and environmental consequences speak for itself. Technical challenges are best tackled by those who understand about them and looking around engineering freshmen classes well explains the lack of female graduate authors. His other claim about minorities surprises me though, I see many more of them in science, medicine, and engineering than in advanced philosophy for aspiring taxi drivers. It might be that they tend to lean more towards solving real problems in middle management that public writing.

Wind and solar energy forces other and backup units into part load and cycling regimes. The ensuing loss of efficiency and rise of emissions has to be deducted from the supposed benefits of renewables. These effects have finally been quantified by Turconi et al.. Looking more closely especially at their figure 1 we only find coal plants of long superseded low standard while all the new and efficient generators seem to be gas fired. Wasting valuable gas now for base load will soon force us to liquidise and gasify coal to indispensable fuel for small and dispersed units at atrocious efficiencies in inordinate emissions. Large and central units that can burn it efficiently and cleanly should use coal now and save more valuable fuels for uses where they can’t be replaced. Surprisingly cycling and part load losses seem to be smaller for coal too.

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