So now we have had another rant of Tom with his fallacious comments. I still look forward to sound comments from some one.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 02/25/14 03:55 AM
Subject: Re: [energyresources] Solar Fall-out
I, too, think that First Solar should find a way to capture solar energy without hurting wildlife; but, if they had already managed to do this; and, if they had a process with ERoEI* <http://eroei.blogspot.com/> greater than 1.0, then Denis's comment would be wrong and extremely harmful. If ERoEI* were greater than 1.0, First Solar would have found a way to rebuild their installation repeatedly with only a very small stockpile of materials that could be replenished with part of the net energy returned. They could take care of Denis's other objections as well. Of course, they would begin operations with a large deficit because much of the energy cost of building the installation must be paid before a single BTU is returned; therefore, the problems would be at the beginning - not during maintenance or when it comes time to replace the aging installation. The materials of construction do not disappear with age except in such small amounts as to be unimportant for the first thousand years. They must find someone who will lend them energy to get started with. This initial loan could be paid back with interest.
Tom Wayburn, BS chemical engineering, MS mathematics, PhD chemical engineering
I think it might be useful to define "feasibility" as something different from sustainability. For example, we might say that a renewable energy is feasible if no more characteristics of ERoEI* are relaxed than are consistent with the community standards and laws of the land currently.
P.S. I have not discussed at least two of Denis's objections. (If you can get past his insults and his habit of begging the question - in this case by referring to my comments as "fallaceous", which would be the conclusion of a valid argument to determine which of us is correct rather than the beginning of a new argument, Denis's objections are useful.)
1. Preserving and using soil nutrients: Suppose the installation is to be installed on a concrete pad. The preparations for the foundation of the pad should include shoveling the soil to appropriate garden spots in and among the portions of the plant site borrowed by the technology. This is consistent with multiple uses of the site for solar power, a garden, and a wildlife refuge.
2. Friction does not generally remove much material but whatever is removed can be filtered from used lubricants before the lubricants themselves are recycled. This is a stationary solar collector; therefore, the recycling is particularly easy, as the cooperation of consumers is unnecessary except with respect to that part of the delivery mechanism that enters the user's space. One way in which technological progress could manifest itself in a steady-state or shrinking economy is by permitting each successive generation of solar collection equipment to harvest the same net energy with less massive equipment thus reducing the amount that needs to be recovered somewhat, say from 99% to only 95%, provided the losses are not otherwise harmful. Remember, unlike energy efficiency which is bounded away from 100% by the hard Carnot limit, material recovery can be as close to 100% as we are willing to expend the energy for.
As in all the previous cases, even if the process does not realize sustainability, ERoEI* should be computed as though it did; that is, by adding the computed cost of doing these things to the energy-invested term.