Monday, July 23, 2007

The debate as to whether there is global warming due to human influence is over. The hard evidence that warming is taking place in the last few years not correlating to the sun’s activity as it had in the past but correlating to increased fossil fuel burning e.g. as in China and India as an example, is proof enough for any business. That is the reason why business is insuring itself as much as possible and taking onboard all possible actions to ameliorate the problem and keep in business. Risk management is not scare tactics and is normal rational behavior. One of the ways to do it is to embrace renewable energy power production but to date this has not resulted in a concerted effort in that direction simply because government and big business has been fossilized in a previous century and has the belief that coal and nuclear will be and will have to be used as major sources to provide jobs and wealth. And the belief there has not been a breakthrough and probably will not be for quite some time that renewables will displace coal and nuclear as major sources of power is as result of that fossilization. It is not a question of whether there is a breakthrough in technology that will displace fossil fuel and nuclear as major sources. It is because of a lack of awareness that renewables can do it and in fact we are at the crossroads of that happening now.

There has been a breakthrough in renewable energy base power production! I refer to solar thermal power using a cheap flat mirror system and storage by the disassociation of ammonia in an endothermic reactor then stored at ambient temperature and used at any later time even during wintertime the sun's energy is not lost being chemically locked up. Then reapplied to an exothermic reactor heat is produced at about 500 degrees to provide steam for power generation. This closed loop system enables 24/7 base power production for industry and it also is able to provide medium or peak power on demand. Not only that the storage system is easy to do and cheap and is based on mature technology and enables the sun’s energy to be stored any length of time without loss so that the energy can be extracted in the wintertime if necessary or any time in the future! No other storage system can do this and it is a real breakthrough. A gigawatt plant is right now being built in America financed by venture capitalist Vinod Khosla who says that solar thermal power is poised for explosive growth because of it’s low costs together with Australian scientist Dr David Mills who had to leave Australia because of our government’s unfavorable policies. We could have had this happening in Australia if our government had been receptive. There is certainly no need to have nuclear power here! And in Europe a TRANS-CSP report commissioned by the German government calculates that solar thermal power is likely to become one of the cheapest sources of power including the cost of transmission. Not producing any carbon and it does not have safety issues it’s easy to see why. This is the power that needs to be, and can be sent to third world counties and the rest of Europe via High Voltage Direct Current Transmission lines from solar thermal plants in North African deserts or the Middle East with only 3% loss in transmission. In fact the whole world could use this as a major power source as there are many deserts around. The potential for it to power the world cleanly and safely and reduce greenhouse gasses at the same time is a real bonus. And it is being done now. Lets get on with it and continue! A general understanding and awareness of solar thermal power (CSP) can be seen on and and understanding of the storage system in schematic form can be seen at

Sunday, July 1, 2007

There has been an unbelievable lack of action on the renewable energy front from Labor, the Greens and the environmental movement in Australia. It’s action that should be at least as strong as John Howard’s push for nuclear power in Australia. The labor Party although endorsing uranium mining has not shown what they would do as an alternative to nuclear power apparently relying on “clean” coal technology as the major energy source and the Greens voice is snuffed out. Little drive from any of these groups has been shown publicly as to what would be a clear major alternative source of power. And John Howard’s government relies on lack of public knowledge and understanding about renewable power and indeed also hides the real truth about it in bolstering their nuclear and fossil fuel policies. Of course why would they want to do otherwise? And why would they want to announce a breakthrough in renewable energy production that enables base load power with grunt for industry when that announcement would challenge the nuclear and fossil fuel industries? Keep it quiet, throw in confusion and doubt and withdraw funding is their renewable energy policy. Much of this is as a result of fossilized ideas from another century backed up by big business and industry that nuclear and fossil fuel power will be the major sources and will have to be in order for jobs growth and prosperity to occur and that renewables is not capable of it and therefore will have an insignificant effect. Indeed the opposite will be true. There has been a big breakthrough in the renewable energy field that does enable it to provide base load power with grunt for industry and in doing so will provide future growth jobs and prosperity. Using mature proven technology and well understood science and applying it to solar thermal power have brought this about. I refer to the use of cheap simple flat mirrors system in the collection area of concentrated solar thermal power sites and the disassociation of ammonia for the storage of the sun’s energy which turns out to be a simple and cheap thing to do and first demonstrated in May 2002. This closed loop storage system locking up chemically the sun’s energy is efficient and does not loose energy over any period of time either by storage or use and enables 24/7 base power production with grunt for industry or readily medium or peak power on demand in a stand-alone situation not relying on any back up from fossil fuel! This means also that the sun’s energy can be stored for use in the wintertime or for any extended period of time. No other concentrated solar thermal power storage system is able to do this. An explanation of this system is shown on the ANU website and has been developed by Australian scientist Dr David Mills who had to leave Australia due to our government’s unfavorable political policies and join forces in USA with venture capitalist and founder of Sun Microsystems Vinod Khosla in order to build a gigawatt solar thermal power station based on these technologies. And they intend to do this within one year! Renewable energy does not produce CO2 and therefore does not have that burden and the energy is freely delivered. These facts together with the cheap flat mirrors and the ammonia storage system will enable economies of scale plummeting prices to cheaper than nuclear or fossil fuel power. This is when the crunch will come for these industries. Any venture capitalist putting money in the renewable energy industry will be on a sure winner. Based on these technologies a collection area 50kmx50km if it’s in one block but could be in smaller blocks in Australia is enough to provide all of Australia’s energy needs including the production of hydrogen, which is part of the process for motor vehicles. In fact there are plans to provide the whole world’s major power from CSP and using high voltage direct current transmission lines that have only 3% loss.