Battlepanda: An energy bleg


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

An energy bleg

I've been leaning rather hard on the excellent John from Dymaxion World lately. He's also been picked up as a guest-blogger with Ezra. As he said in an email "...all of a sudden I feel like the hot girl everyone wants to take to the prom or something." You are that hot girl, John. Metaphorically speaking, of course. With oil prices at $75 a barrel (light sweet crude on the New York Merchantile Exchange, that is) , energy issue is on everybody's minds, and as far as I'm concerned John is the go-to blogger if you want to cut to the chase on energy issues.

Now, one of the owners at the Tapas bar I'm working at is a civil engineer. His solution to the energy problem is one I've not heard before, and I'd like to hear John's take on it, busy though he is with the big move: Giant underwater turbines that are driven by the ocean currents. "If we can build oil rigs, we can build those turbines, and they'll produce much more energy more reliably than wind." Makes a lot of sense on the face of it. Then again, he also thinks that the practical thing to do with Taiwan's garbage problem is a giant underwater garbage trench. Maybe he's one of those guys who just have one idee fixe -- giant underwater everything. He also thinks that we can just burn coal provided we use carbon dioxide removers in conjunction. "It will cost twice as much as the coal itself to remove the carbon dioxide, but it can be done." Ah, but we don't need to go through all that trouble because we're looking massively efficient solar cells being made out of plastic that are coming along, I countered. He didn't believe me. Just flat out said "you can't make solar cells out of plastic. It must be made out of silicon." Sigh. Have you ever wished that you could hyperlink in a real-life conversation?