The inevitable commercial breakthrough of perovskite solar panels will completely disrupt the distributable energy market. It will cripple large energy suppliers, and if the death bell has not already tolled for coal and oil, this will be it.
This will completely change the world and how we generate and use power. Every roof, façade or wall can become a renewable power producer. This is thanks to perovskite solar panels being incredibly light weight, low cost, efficient and thin. Owners of properties producing this power can sell excess energy through new supplier systems that match net producers with net consumers at any time. This means anyone can become an energy producer.
Electric utilities will need to transform into ‘energy banks’ or brokers in this new world. Large energy producers are in trouble while oil and coal will be in full flight. Despite large energy providers literally twisting in the wind to switch to renewables, they will be almost destroyed by this disruption. The enormous investment and development in wind and solar farms will evaporate.
A note of caution. Most of the time this nirvana of cheap energy will be great. But it will make large scale base-load production uneconomical with an unintended consequence. There will come a time when the sun doesn’t show, and if windmills are still in action, the wind does not blow. There will be no base load to come to the rescue. Hydrogen fuel cells could fill this gap.
Here are some opportunities that will arise. Let me know of any thoughts you have.
Local battery farms
Hydrogen production from solar
Don’t invest in, or short:
Grid/Electric Utilities unable to adapt quickly
Combined with improved battery tech, this solar revolution will make electric vehicles cheaper and more appealing than the fossil flaming monsters of the past…even if some of them still sound sooo… good. Your car will be able to fill up at home, in fact almost anywhere. Vehicle power points will be more common than computer USBs. The network will automatically recognise your vehicle and bill the 2c for the recharge to your account. Yes, it will be cheap!
While the planet boils in the controversy of global warming, an obvious truth is being ignored – it should be hotter. Firstly, previous warming cycles have experienced higher temperatures and secondly, temps should be skyrocketing to follow CO2 levels. We are at least 12 degrees cooler than we should be. Instead of fretting about how we might prevent warming, we should perhaps try to understand why it isn’t as warm as it should be.
In the last three Milankatich Cycles, represented by the last three large movements seen in the graph below, CO2 levels move in absolute lockstep with the rapid rise in temperatures. The temperature variations within each swing is over 9°C while CO2 levels vary by approximately 100ppm. If we are to believe those who identify CO2 as the agent of change, the same lockstep movement should be the case now. Since the industrial revolution we have experienced an increase of approximately 130ppm atmospheric CO2.
An even more telling graph on how CO2 levels follow temperature is below and not the other way round.
Based on the theory that temperature follows the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, this should mean at minimum, a ten degrees Celsius increase in temperature. This is not the case. Since the first industrial revolution, using global surface observations (which are highly suspect), there has been barely a degree in change. Satellite observations, which are the least corrupt tools for measuring temperatures, report an almost immeasurable change.
Satellite instruments measure nearly every cubic kilometre, every inch — of the lower atmosphere on a daily basis. There are hundreds if not thousands of kilometres without a thermometer in cooee measuring surface temperatures. Satellite measurements produce no erroneous readings from human influence or ‘correcting’ by enthusiastic scientists.
Why then, is surface thermometer data used instead of our best technology — satellites — when tracking global temperatures? The IPCC ignore satellite data. This is because surface data can be manipulated to better support the narrative of a dangerously warming planet. As British economist Ronald Coase once said, “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.”
Compared to previous Milankatich Cycles, we are already a couple of degrees short of where we should be. We also show no signs of even remotely following the increased CO2 levels.
The fourth industrial revolution is ready to wipe out the oil industry. To anyone that understands this, protesting CO2 emissions is a complete waste of time. Even if you think carbon dioxide is a good thing, the demise of industries emitting this gas has already begun and is inescapable.
We are now in the midst of a change that fundamentally alters the way we live. This transformation will exceed all those before it and will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. It is unstoppable and exponential. It makes mockery of the wailing and flailing attempts by usually left wing groups protesting against climate change. You would think, given their elite status, that these folk would be technically aware. Apparently not.
For example, a recent report by Melbourne based RepuTex stated that regulation of energy and fuel towards greater efficiencies and standards, could contribute 43% of Australia’s abatement task to meet the 2030 target of 66 million tonnes fewer carbon emissions.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, this is just more proof of the continual nonsense being propagated from a mindset seemingly oblivious to technological change. The whole notion of having to take any action to reduce emissions will be meaningless. Just about everyone in this discussion have their collective heads up a giant rear end. They talk, breath and look at the same shit all day. Which is why they do not see or understand that the fourth industrial revolution is already well underway, one greater than all those before it.
Over the next five years, coal and oil will help lift millions out of poverty and starvation. To deprive the hundreds of millions who live in total deprivation the opportunity of life, comfort and security, would be inhumane. Within five years, new innovations which are cheaper and infinitely superior to coal and oil fired power generation, will almost entirely replace emission heavy generators. I use the Adani mine again as an example. Let the mine happen, the cleaner coal will in fact result in fewer emissions while the utopian dream of the green elite will still be realised. The improved economic conditions will likely realise a transition to renewables faster than if resisted, which means millions do not have to suffer to satisfy the ideology of western based activists who enjoy the comfort and luxury our fossil fuelled society has delivered.
The first industrial revolution kicked off the production of CO2 as a by-product, which has been pumping it out ever since. This industrial revolution (4.0), which we have just entered, will produce radical abundance and virtually no C02. This is already manifesting itself in multiple industries.
For instance, the age of self-driving cars is upon us. If you think $20 for an Uber or Lyft fare is cheap, imagine that being just $2.00 or even free if you are going to a Star Bucks. And do you really think any of these vehicles will be powered by fossil fuels? 2020 is the anticipated mass market roll out of autonomous vehicles. These are like yesteryears digital camera tech rolling into the film industry, only it will happen faster. And, since these are all new-build motor vehicles with all electric drive systems, the old fashioned wheezing combustion drive will be history. Charge time and endurance of these electric vehicles will easily equal or better the fossil alternative. This technology will become so culturally ubiquitous it will lead the abandonment of ownership, especially in cities. The fuel and oil industry will collapse and disposable incomes soar. E all know owning a fossil burner is expensive. Seba, author of Solar Trillions and Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation, says the adoption curve will be exponential. Ninety five percent of US passenger miles will be served by autonomous electric vehicles – owned by companies providing Transport as a Service (TaaS). Sixty percent of vehicles on the road will be dedicated to that purpose. What this means here in Australia is an extra $7600 in your pocket.
This eventuality will parallel innovation in solar and energy storage technologies which will completely disrupt the energy market, decentralise energy distribution and drive costs to impossibly low levels where centralised generation of power isn’t commercially viable. Those big, clunky expensive solar panels adorning roof tops today, are the IBM tape driven computers of the past. Solar and energy storage are in the middle of technological development curve which within 24 months will produce radically improved variations. This continually accelerating rate of change will make many of today’s decisions and energy investments a nonsense. Not just in traditional fossils but also renewable’s.
Ironically, the huge solar energy plants under construction or in development are a monumentally dumb idea of the highest order. This should be pretty obvious. Within eighteen months the issue of perovskite durability will be resolved. This means the surface availability within the entire built environment is available to solar collection at little expense. You can already make a deposit on a Tesla solar tile roof, but even this is positively old school. That said, Tesla is well placed to commercially exploit durable perovskite surfacing when it arrives.
While competing technologies scuffle for first place in energy storage, capture and application markets, the outcome is inevitable. An almost emission free environment with virtually unlimited cheap energy is barrelling down the track. You can add to this mix, mobile fusion technologies which will arrive before 2030 and innovations like the CSIRO’s hydrogen transportation system, to name a just a couple of real world applications.
The least we can do is to get out of the way. Better we join it, Viva la revolución!
While mechanisms may exist for rapid C02 absorption hitherto unknown to us, I am prepared to accept assertions of rapid increases in PPM up until 2030 and a little beyond. This is based on a still high output of CO2 globally, combined with massive increases in places like China and India.
Further increases beyond this timeline merely illustrate just how crackpot some folk are. Dr. James Hansen, the leading climate scientist at NASA is often characterized as the father of climate change awareness. Hansen has written that CO2 concentrations will quintuple to reach 1400 ppm just 118 years from now (2013), or by the year 2130. This atmospheric CO2 concentration (1400 ppm) is said to yield a warming of 16°C globally, 20°C over land, and 30°C at the poles by 2130.
This is why Hansen is an idiot:
By 2018 the CSIRO’s hydrogen transport technology will start to impact the fuels market – amongst many other innovations
By 2019 the problem of perovskite durability in solar technology will have been solved – every surface will be able to collect solar energy. Energy will be very cheap.
By 2020 the driverless car revolution will have begun in earnest, populated by mostly electric varieties
By 2020 Batteries will have experience two or more significant evolutions – At least quadrupling density, reducing charging time to minutes, becoming flexible and integrated into other materials
By 2025, production of combustion engines using fossils will have essentially ceased.
Before 2030, Nuclear Fusion on the back of truck will be available to the world
In the timeline described, I fail to fully account for the exponential curve in technology development. The massive influence AI and computing power will have on this. What for instance, will an AI powered quantum computer in 2020 be able to deliver? How quickly will it influence and bring forward innovation and the expectations I have made above? I will wage a LOT!
The point I am making here, is that the ‘fix’ is literally in. Rampant economies will power discovery. Indeed, crippling the economy with punitive actions that do little to reduce emissions are counter productive. A good example being the Adani mine. Better quality coals supply will actually reduce emissions and improve the lives of many Indians as well the economies there and here.
Compared to the historic record, global temperatures are at least two degrees lower than they should be.
My business uses weather models on a daily basis. We use the best models in the world. But if we try to forecast out further than seven days, predictions start to become stuff of fantasy. Anybody that says otherwise is full of BS. Climate models are like weather models, but with less certainty and even dodgier data – and they try to predict decades in advance. It should come as no surprise that attempts by climate modellers to predict the future are wrong. They will continue to be wrong. Their assumption of CO2 forcing is the flaw.
Temperatures today should be higher by at least a degree. For the last ten thousand years they have been bouncing around within a range of two degrees Celsius. They might well rise further, the historic reference is they have, and consistently. We are currently floating near the top of a Malinkovitch Cycle. This is the peak of a warming cycle. Instead of panic, the conclusion should be business as usual. A decrease should be more alarming because again, it aligns with a historic cycle that takes us back to an ice age.
Scientists have an intractable problem. Measuring changes over decades is meaningless, attempting to determine a trend line is not possible. A rise, hiatus or drop in temperatures would all be entirely reasonable outcomes in the planets natural atmospheric metabolism. The long term trend will instead become more apparent over the next thousand years. Yes, the next thousand years.
Rising, pausing or dropping, temperature proves nothing one way or the other. The temperature line has too many natural bumps in it anyway. Measuring and attempting to draw conclusions over a few decades is ridiculous. Unfortunately for climate scientists, this will be the case for the next few hundred years.
There are a lot promising technologies in the energy frontier. As I mention in the technology section, this has built a momentum that is inexorably taking us to a low emissions environment because of the economics and enormous benefits they bring – not because of placard waving idiots. I will over time breakdown many of these, especially in the field of energy storage, capture and application. Every now and then however, I see what is a pivotal moment or a discovery that will have real world implications…really quickly. This is one of them.
This game changer has been engineered by the CSIRO, who have successfully translated the hope of hydrogen as a widely used energy resource to a practical reality. Up until now, the problem with hydrogen whether burned or used within fuel cells, has been moving or storing it – it blows up easily. This has essentially killed it as a viable energy alternative for mass market. The CSIRO have not just solved that problem, but importantly have changed the way we might move energy from a place of low cost production to the market that needs it. In a nutshell, the CSIRO have developed technology to safely transport hydrogen. The new tech safely and easily delivers hydrogen to bowsers that will refuel cars. It also makes it commercially viable to export hydrogen overseas as ammonia (NH3) for use in fuel cells.
The innovation involves a membrane type of technology which essentially converts hydrogen into a safe state (ammonia) for transport and storage and then converts it back to hydrogen at point of distribution. This enables a potentially carbon-free, export industry for Australia that could match the scale of the current LNG (liquefied natural gas) industry.
Chair of Renewable Hydrogen, Brett Cooper says “With this technology, we can now deliver our renewable energy to Japan, Korea and across the Asia-Pacific region in liquid form, as renewable ammonia, and efficiently convert it back to pure hydrogen for cars, buses, power generation and industrial processes. This market didn’t exist 10 years ago — now Australia is positioned to be the number one renewable fuel provider in the world’s fastest growing region.”
Cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells are already on sale in Europe and prototypes have been on the road for some time in Australia. These are cars that convert compressed hydrogen to electricity to power their motors.
Hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles offer a better range than conventional electric cars with faster refuelling, just 5-10 minutes.
The CSIRO’s solution involves transporting the hydrogen as ammonia (NH3) to bowsers, where it can be converted back to high-purity hydrogen for use in fuel cell vehicles. “CSIRO’s membrane reactor technology will fill the gap between hydrogen production, distribution and delivery in the form a modular unit that can be used at, or near, a refuelling station,” the research organisation says.
Ferrying and storing pure hydrogen is complex and expensive, hence the ammonia approach. CSIRO’s membrane allows hydrogen to pass, while blocking all other gases at the point of reconversion. It says the membrane device can be made ready for commercial deployment.
“Recent advances in solar and electrochemical technologies means renewable hydrogen production is expected to become competitive with fossil fuel-based production, providing an opportunity to decarbonise both the energy and transport sectors while creating new export opportunities,” CSIRO says in a media statement.
While Australia is a relatively small hydrogen market, the fuel can be distributed to emerging markets in Japan, South Korea and Europe using existing infrastructure in this form. CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall says “This is a watershed moment for energy, and we look forward to applying CSIRO innovation to enable this exciting renewably-sourced fuel and energy storage medium a smoother path to market,”
CSIRO says it will apply its expertise to all stages of the technology chain for this project. This includes solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, grid management, water electrolysis, ammonia synthesis, direct ammonia utilisation via combustion and/or fuel cells, as well as hydrogen production.
Polar waters are the key to global warming and cooling. Warm water exhales CO2 and cold water absorbs it. When oceans warm they exhale CO2 more quickly than the absorption rate when cooling. This explains why CO2 levels closely follow a warming event, but remain high for tens of thousands of years after rapid cooling, eventually following but still lagging the trend line back down. More frequently than not, over many millennia, warming and cooling ignores CO2 levels.
If you look at the graph below, the hot and cold cycle driven by orbital influence (eccentricity) is obvious. The other interesting observation are the large spikes on the way down. This strongly suggests that polar waters are the primary driver of temperature changes.
The oceans most exposed to orbital influence and especially precession and obliquity, are in the frigid and temperate zones. The assumption can be made that the tropical regions remain warm in all the variations of the Milankovitch cycle. The northern and southern hemispheres however, are sensitive to these. The cycle with the largest influence seen in the graph is eccentricity. The bumps on the way down are variations in the tilt, obliquity and precession. It is clear that the warming and cooling spikes ignore CO2 levels. Indeed, CO2 levels are a consequence of these periodic temperature changes.
Imagine for a moment if the earth did not tilt. This would mean there would be no obliquity or precession influence. In this scenario it is likely the influence of eccentricity would be be marginal. Good thing Earth ran into Thea early on – the planetoid that collided with us, knocking us onto a tilt.
As mentioned earlier, warm water gives up CO2 to the atmosphere easily. Getting carbon absorbed back into the marine system takes more time – normally as a result of plankton, such as coccolith, using the CO2 to form a shell like structures. When they die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean. In this low oxygen environment the sediment is packed and buried locking up the carbon.
On a general note, the ocean takes up carbon dioxide through photosynthesis by all sorts of plant-like organisms along with phytoplankton. Also by simple chemistry: carbon dioxide dissolves in water. It reacts with seawater, creating carbonic acid. Carbonic acid releases hydrogen ions, which combine with carbonate in seawater to form bicarbonate, a form of carbon that doesn’t escape the ocean easily.
Is anthropogenic climate change a good theory without any real evidence?
The threat of anthropogenic climate change is an accepted hypothesis. I don’t blame people for taking this position, given the stakes, it’s logical and prudent. But that does not make it a fact. An alleged crime with presumption of guilt unless proven otherwise – but the jury is refusing to listen to testimony that does not support their position. Anthropogenic climate change is a theory which has morphed into a psychology of cult like belief. The various models and mechanisms deliberating CO2 forcing and anthropogenic influence are both assumptive and hypothetical. The guilty verdict for anthropogenic climate change is circumstantial. Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is incredibly confused. Forensic evidence produced thus far from thousands of climate investigators deliver possible verdicts ranging from minor misdemeanour to genocide. The opposite might be true.
Let’s be specific about the evidence this guilty verdict is based upon –CO2’s historic influence or ‘forcing’ of temperatures in earths past. In the graph used by Al Gore illustrating the Milankovitch Cycle, CO2 is in almost lock-step rise with temperatures – except CO2 slightly lags temperatures suggesting warming comes before higher CO2 levels. When I say slightly, I mean be thousands of years.
Climate scientists explain that initial increases in atmospheric CO2 provide a positive feedback mechanism propelling further increases in temperature and subsequent expiration of CO2 from the oceans – meaning CO2 is still the primary forcing agent. It seems logical to me that there is some truth in this. But, the science is a long way from being settled as to how much ‘forcing’ those CO2 increases are responsible for. The belief is that the Milankovitch Cycle itself is not strong enough to trigger the degree of warming and cooling the planet has historically experienced. Which beggars the question as to why, despite high CO2 levels, temperatures relentless plunge again in lock step with the end of each Milankovitch Cycle – Co2 levels again, collapsing behind temperatures. It is patently obvious that temperatures follow orbital forcing ignoring CO2 levels.
Al Gore, recently assured Arianna Huffington that climate change was a “settled science”. Arianna accepted this, as have millions of others. But science is never settled. As Albert Einstein once observed, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”
Einstein was the climate denier of his time. Confronted by stubborn consensus amongst scientists – supported by a mountain of peer-reviewed evidence –Newtonian physics was declared settled science. In 1905, when Einstein dared to challenge it – publishing the special theory of relativity – the scientific establishment, in a fashion reminiscent of the French inquisition, pounced upon him. Prominent Nazi physicists even accused him of promulgating disreputable “Jewish science.” Consensus exists in a vacuum of indisputable observational evidence or fact.
Despite these lessons of the past, some of the most notable scientists of our time are behaving in the same way, becoming the French inquisitors of the 21st century, prosecuting those who dare question their settled science beliefs.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is one such example. In Series 1 episode 13 of Cosmos, he goes to great lengths to encourage those searching for knowledge, ‘not to believe anyone or anything and to question everything’. Yet, he now labels those who contest conclusions on anthropogenic climate change as ‘deniers’.
Expand the graph above. You will note CO2 levels lag temperature changes by many thousands of years. Temperatures drop despite CO2 levels remaining high. A deeper dive into the Milankovitch Cycle and the oceans inhalation and expiration of CO2 leaves no doubt that climate cycles are not driven by CO2.
Geoff Cousins, President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, is fiddling while Rome burns. His pursuit of Adani and the climate bogey has distracted him from his primary duty of care in conservation – saving habitat and wildlife. He is wasting money, time and resource which might have been better used to save critters and preserve critical environment. His recent visit to India, to chat with indigenous tribes to lay a case against Adani, would have carried a nice price tag with it – and a lot of emissions. Imagine if you used all this money being burned by blind ideology to buy more land and preserve it – to fund action teams to rescue distressed wildlife, victims of both human and nature’s wrath. Imagine that!
If we are to truly understand the climate, we need to go back to the beginning. That beginning, specifically when life emerges, arises much earlier in Earths history than previously thought, by hundreds of millions of years. But the history of the atmosphere and how truly unique it is goes back much further.
It all starts with a big bang, but without Sheldon. A few billion years pass and inside one of the tens of billions of galaxies each comprised of hundreds of billions of stars, a bunch of gas and stellar debris coalesce into a disk at the centre of which our Sun ignites. Around that, left over rocks and material which formed from the death of other stars, bunch together to form planets. This is where a series of events occur which create the unique set of circumstances that made us possible.
In addition to the obvious benefits of being the right distance from the Sun – in the Goldilocks zone, we also had a major fender bender with a Mars size planet called Thea that did two important things. Firstly, it added its iron core to our own enabling the critical magnetic umbrella. Secondly, it stripped off a good portion of the planets mantel, the ejected material forming the moon. If our mantel was any thicker we would not have a planet surface that continually folded over itself, exposing fresh elements to interact with the atmosphere. Instead, we would look like Venus.
So, approximately 4.5 billion years ago our planet is formed. During and shortly after, we get pummeled by meteors and comets which bring us water. Interestingly, the sun was only about 70 percent as bright as it is today. Earth should have frozen over right? Fortunately greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly methane and carbon dioxide, trapped enough of the sun’s heat to keep temperatures above freezing. Keeping these trapped was important, which initially was a problem.
Due to the earlier prang I mentioned, our inflated metallic liquid outer core was spinning nicely around a metallic solid inner core. This generated an immense magnetic field that enveloped the Earth shielding it from deadly solar winds. Initially the layers were poorly developed and so the magnetosphere was extremely weak, half the strength of today. Solar winds stripped away the hydrogen and helium. But strengthen it did, critically preserving our precious gases and oxygen which would have been blasted away. As Earths tectonic plates ran into each other, the mantel was continually turned over, with material deep from within the planet boiling to the surface and pumping all kinds of gases into the atmosphere.
During this period, called the Archean Eon, complex chemical reactions in the oceans transformed carbon-containing molecules into simple, living cells that didn’t need oxygen to survive. Instead they made energy out of sulfur and other elements.
Atmospherically this is where the rubber hit the road. These bluish-green microscopic organisms called cyanobacteria flourished. They made oxygen from carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight— photosynthesis, pumping it into the oceans and atmosphere. At that time the ocean was a thick green stew saturated with iron. The immediate result of this oxygenation process was to rust out this iron into red iron oxide which sank to the bottom – where you can see it today. Its why our desert are red.
Even better, you can still see those cyanobacteria that caused it. These single-celled microbes (blue-green algae) often accumulated in formations called Stromatolites, which literally means ‘layered rock’.
It is now believed that life in the form of single celled organisms began 3.5 billion-years ago, some 400 million years earlier than thought. But it seemingly stagnated for a while, taking almost two billion years to evolve into complex life. Two fossils resembling red algae were recently unearthed in India. The fossil was maintained so uniquely that scientists were able to see distinct inner cell structures that give clues about its age.