Renewable Energy : Google Blind

In an interesting article by two Google engineers, Ross Koningstein and David Fork, "What It Would Really Take to Reverse Climate Change : Today’s renewable energy technologies won’t save us. So what will?", the authors concluded from their modelling scenarios that :-

"While a large emissions cut sure sounded good, this scenario still showed substantial use of natural gas in the electricity sector. That’s because today’s renewable energy sources are limited by suitable geography and their own intermittent power production."

Erm. Yes. Renewable electricity is variable and sometimes not available, because, well, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, you know. This has been known for quite some time, actually. It’s not exactly news. Natural Gas is an excellent complement to renewable electricity, and that’s why major industrialised country grid networks rely on the pairing of gas and power, and will do so for some time to come. Thus far, no stunner.

What is astonishing is that these brain-the-size-of-a-planet guys do not appear to have asked the awkwardly obvious question of : "so, can we decarbonise the gas supply, then ?" Because the answer is "yes, very largely, yes."

And if you have Renewable Gas backing up Renewable Power, all of a sudden, shazam !, kabam ! and kapoom !, you have An Answer. You can use excess wind power and excess solar power to make gas, and you can store the gas to use when there’s a still, cold period on a wintry night. And at other times of low renewable power, too. And besides using spare green power to make green gas, you can make Renewable Gas in other ways, too.

The Google engineers write :-

"Now, [Research and Development] dollars must go to inventors who are tackling the daunting energy challenge so they can boldly try out their crazy ideas. We can’t yet imagine which of these technologies will ultimately work and usher in a new era of prosperity – but the people of this prosperous future won’t be able to imagine how we lived without them."

Actually, Renewable Gas is completely non-crazy. It’s already being done all over the world in a variety of locations – with a variety of raw resources. We just need to replace the fossil fuel resources with biomass – that’s all.

And there’s more – practically all the technology is over a century old – it just needs refining.

I wonder why the Google boys seem to have been so unaware of this. Maybe they didn’t study the thermodynamics of gas-to-gas reactions at kindergarten, or something.

Thanks to the deliberate misinterpretation of the Google "brothers" article, The Register, James Delingpole’s Breitbart News and Joanne Nova are not exactly helping move the Technological Debate forward, but that’s par for the course. They rubbished climate change science. Now they’ve been shown to be wrong, they’ve moved on, it seems, to rubbishing renewable energy systems. And they’re wrong there, too.

Onwards, my green engineering friends, and upwards.

2 thoughts on “Renewable Energy : Google Blind”

  1. So what you are saying is:- Lets spend a shed load of money to build wind and solar farms.  Then lets spend another shed load of money to build plants to create “renewable” gas using the energy from your wind and solar farms.  Then lets spend another shed load of money to build storage facilities to store the gas.  Then lets spend another shed load of money to generate electricity from the gas.

    Such a plan would be ludicrous.   It would take a huge amount of fossil fuel to do all this building.  The google guys realized this.  There is no need to ad hom them because they pointed out the reality that you are in denial of.

    Kind Regards,

    Brian

  2. The Google “boys” have looked at it – realised they have not a hope in achieving what they wanted to achieve.

    The only way renewable energy works is with subsidies – remove the subsidies and you have an opportunity cost rather than a gain.

    That is not to say i do not support renewable energy – I do

    But the head in the sand “it will be alright on the night” attitude of some does no favours to anyone. Nor does the attack above you post Jo on those people (this time from Google) who draw our attention to this fact.

    If you call yourself a Christian Jo, then such an attack is a poor show.

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