Roland DürreTuesday August 21st, 2012
IF blog is now in the middle of its Summer Slump . I am staying near the beach for two weeks, seeing to duerre.de. And I add a few “catch phrase articles” to the “keywords”. Here is one of yesterday on “Biomass Fuel”:
As I see it, biomass fuel is the worst solution if we want to continue indulging in our current individual and otherwise mobile habits in the future. I fail to understand how anybody could introduce a law forcing everybody to add some biomass fuel to the normal fuel.
In 2009, Stefan Lauer, one of the Lufthansa managing directors, gave a presentation at TUM. From him, I heard that, just in order to produce enough biomass fuel for running all his airplanes, you would need an area as big as Europe. At the time, he talked rapeseed. Consequently, the vision was a completely yellow Europe.
Decades ago, we started talking about renewable raw materials and environment-friendly behaviour in connection with biomass fuel. And I got quite dizzy when I first heard about it.
A few years later, when the subsidies and regulations started coming in FRG, the EU and both Americas, promoting biomass fuel and demanding 5 to 10 %, my dizziness got worse.
And now we in Germany grow more corn than anything else. In former times, corn – because of its detrimental effect on the soil – had no chance against reasonable crop rotation. And we imported palm oil from countries where people went hungry. Mind you, all this happened in order to fulfill the bio-quota for fuel!?
Can this actually be true? Here is what happens: we are sealing soil at a terrific speed. And on the remaining meadows, we grow energy plants such as corn. These plants can produce extremely much biological mass in the shortest possible time. Or else, we cut down the rain forest and grow “energy plants” on soil that is not suitable for it. This is depletion, instead of nurturing our soil.
Mind you, it all happens just so we can satisfy our thirst for fuel. We even ignore the fact that the energy used up for producing biomass fuel is quite a significant part of what we “produce” in energy.
And simultaneously, the general world-wide food situation gets more and more critical due to climate change and other developments caused by us humans? Can this really be true?
Mind you, individual traffic is one of the sectors where you could economize considerably. Instead of adding 10 % biomass fuel, you could save huge quantities by simple means. A drastic speed limit would already give us some per cents. Incidentally, it would also save quite a few lives and protect human bodies from physical damage. Our general driving habits, too, would become a little more rational.
In addition, you could save a lot if you de-emotionalized cars, building reasonable models that need less fuel.
The waste of fuel in individualized traffic might also be reduced by intelligent systems for driving and transportation alliances. You could make car drivers use public transportation, bikes or energy-saving e-scooters.
But this is all too difficult for politicians. Which is why they bend their knees to the lobbyists and demand the irrational biomass fuel system.
Currently, an about face seems to be under way. During the last few weeks, I heard and read more and more and quite reasonably worded criticism against biomass fuel. It might easily happen that this lunacy is soon a thing of the past.
I wrote this article in 2012. In my opinion, the topic biomass fuel might well be obsolete in a few years.
(Translated by EG)
Roland DürreWednesday May 9th, 2012
The climate development will be even more detrimental than we had expected. It also said so in yesterday’s Zeit (online) and Süddeutsche. That seems plausible to me, because it is exactly what I and many people around me notice.
Here is a citation:
This is the first time in human history that we approach a state of affairs where our own striving after growth and prosperity will collide with our planet’s capacity.
Regardless, what I hear both from the powerful and those who criticize them (!) is that the call for growth gets louder and louder. They even revert to calling for growth with borrowed money. For me, growth means more noise, more consumption, more waste, more air pollution, more mania …
Mind you, asking for more growth is perfectly in order – if we were to agree on a new “growth formula”:
Growth is if the emission of carbon dioxide and the use of raw materials decline!
From my – now already quite long – life, I remember various criteria for economic development:
When I was young, it was the number of register tons transported by rail. In the simplified version, this read: the more coal we transported (and used up), the better the economy was doing. Of course, seen from today’s perspective, this seems nonsense.
Later, the number of houses and flats built became the indicator. Well, it made sense, didn’t it? Building houses is not just economically relevant, there are also the subsequent investments, such as for furniture and much more. But that, too, no longer works.
Around the turn of the millennium, the media was what the evaluation of the economy was based on. The more money the editors and TV stations received, the better their predictions about the economic growth. But woe if the stream of money spent on adverts dwindled. It was seen as an unquestioned sign for the economic situation going down the drains.
Mind you, I never quite understood it. On the contrary. To me, this concept sounded stupid. Because if the demand is truly booming, then I can easily economize on the advertising, can’t I? Only if the market is truly saturated (like mostly in Middle Europe), I have to invest a lot in advertising. And then you will have a hard time with growth. At least that is what you would think.
In the future, you will have to measure the economic development of an economy by how well it does when it comes to minimize its need for fossil energies and other raw materials. The result, however, will have to be modified according to what you save by exporting dirty industries to third countries. Of course, the motto “we emit less carbon dioxide because the industrial work that causes pollution is transferred to other countries” is not globally goal-oriented.
Sustainable energy and a closed circle for re-cycling raw materials will also stimulate a truly high-quality, but different growth.
Because in many areas, doing without the seemingly “cheap fossil energy” and the excessive use of raw material will have to be replaced by human intelligence and labour. And, as we all know, both is rather expensive with a tendency towards being over-priced where we live.
Mind you, this is not because people earn too much, but because the much-praised right to property is a little neglected when it comes to your income from labour. Where income gained through non-self-employed labour (that, too, is property!) is concerned, the fiscal authorities are more than a little liberal, taking away rather a handful. This happens regardless of the right to material and intellectual property today being rooted in our society as never before. In fact, more often than not it seems to have mutated to become a “human right to protection of acquired possession”.
Well, the unlimited right to intellectual and ”real“ property is also one of those paradigms that might be worth thinking about, just like the “growth” dogma. Otherwise it might easily happen that the social evolution breaks out with full power.
And when all is over, all that is left for the next and following generations is to lament about a merciless ecological (world-wide) dictatorship in a completely destroyed environment.
(Translated by EG)
In my book the most important things I have are myBREATHING, myWATER, myFOOD, mySILENCE and, last not least, myLIFE, which, ideally should not be threatened by environmental catastrophes. Besides, what is also important in my life are myFAMILY and myCHILDREN. Meaning that my children and grandchildren should not find themselves in the middle of unnecessary climate catastrophes.
Roland DürreFriday April 13th, 2012
First 2012 IF Forum – Living (and Surviving) Sustainably – April, 17
Heidi Schiller – energy entrepreneur in Africa will present.
Black – White – Multi-Coloured (Schwarz – weiß – bunt.)
Some impulses for looking upon this one world of ours a little differently.
Or course, we will, again, broadcast live into the internet!
The broadcast will start shortly after 6 p.m.
You can see the video stream of the presentation at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/IF-Forum (link). If you want to test if the video stream can be loaded with your browser, call the aforementioned Websitee.
In addition to the broadcast, we will make a video recording and publish it at youtube (channel: rolandduerre).
I already look forward to a huge internet audience!
(Translated by EG)
And there are always a few vacancies for cherished friends
Werner LorbeerTuesday February 28th, 2012
In 1992, when I first stood in front of the four Spannbüllhof windmills, I never stopped being amazed. It was a windy summer, the daughter had come down with whooping cough and I experienced the coast with its healing and windy powers.
Being a physicist, I automatically analyzed the function and energy output of the mills and my surprise knew no end when I realized what a business potential these four windmills, each producing 0.5 Megawatt, had. In a single year, they earned 60% of what they had cost.
If you want to do the calculations, here are the facts: Per installed megawatt, the energy output is around 2 to 2.5 gigahertz each year. (This is an important number for many Bavarian investors who currently want to make places with little wind happy through their investment capital. Keep in mind: there will be a time when you no longer get subsidies and then the cost will count. With grumpy greetings from the depleted objects in Eastern Germany to the nationally enthusiastic investor).
On the second day, my question, of course, was about the network and the energy storage – and even in 1992, two things were obvious:
- The conversion technology was not able to cope with the sudden “going-off-the-wind” of the windmill chains if there was too much wind;
- In Schleswig-Holstein, there is no water storage for taking up extra energy;
- And neither the windmill farmers nor any of the subsidy politicians could have cared less, because with subsidies, you never know why you get them, anyway.
Now, what a shock, in 2012, the energy is to be used – neither the subsidy granters nor the windmill park investors ever believed such a thing might happen!
After all, life was a lot easier when you got the premium even if the windmills were turned off because of too much energy flowing through the networks if there was too much wind.
Yes, it is true: they got a premium for switching off if the network got strained. We really learned a lot from the GDR. Today (Feb., 27th, 2012) our parliament rescues the “Euro” and tomorrow “the entire world”. At the same time, the production of carbon fibre composite for the BMW e-Mini is transferred to Lake Moses, USA, because the energy costs too much in this country.
Is there a way out of the dilemma.
Yes, there is!
It will be a plea for “power to gas“
(Translated by EG)
Chris WoodWednesday October 12th, 2011
I read an article that suggested that cars in future will be fuelled with hydrogen. So I have written up my doubts about this. I am no expert, but some of my arguments may be useful for other non-experts.
My younger daughter recently bought a (used) car driven by natural gas, proud to be doing something for the climate. She was surprised when I told her this fuel is little better than diesel, if at all. Hydrocarbons have similar calorific value per gram, and the weight is largely carbon. And diesel motors are rather efficient.
Chris WoodTuesday September 27th, 2011
On 10/9/2011, from 9:30 till 18:00, I attended a Burger Conference in the Deutsches Museum (Munich), on the subject of Energy Technologies for the Future. It was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and organised by Bonn University. (This is a strange ministry; according to the Constitution, education is entirely a matter for the Provinces)! Each “Burger” received in advance a well written 4 page summary on the subject. The only dubious aspect was the implied assumption that the German decision to quickly abandon nuclear power was a rational decision in view of events in Japan (Fukushima).
Werner LorbeerSunday August 14th, 2011
Mars is far away. The nearest planet is always right underneath!
It is the most noble task of solar technology to make this planet of ours arable!
Lake Chad is the remainder of a huge lake that measured 50 metres in debth and had the dimensions of a continental sea. Today, it is dominated by the Sahara and famine keeps returning periodically at its borders, caused by irritations in agriculture due to water shortage.
Roland DürreWednesday May 18th, 2011
On Tuesday, May, 10th, Günther came for a visit. He is an old friend of mine. We played soccer together for many decades. He wants to talk with me about a few new business ideas. Some of his ideas are courageous, but they are the same as mine. One of them is to clean the oceans from waste.
Once in a while, my family calls me cranky. I am sure they are right. But then, who of is is not sometimes a little cranky?
My crankiness, however, is somewhat special. I refuse to eat yoghurt or drink buttermilk if these very tasty things have come out of plastic containers.
Besides, it is hard for some of my family to sympathize with me buying a soap box. I went back to cleaning my body at the public swimming pools with soap, instead of using shampoo or any of all those other colourful and extremely expensive toiletry articles. They all come in plastic containers or sprays and fill metres of shelves in our drugstores.
Now I got some support.
Werner LorbeerSaturday April 16th, 2011
The one hundred billion Euros that have been promised to all owners of photovoltaic modules since 2001 alone would now come in handy for promoting a fast exit from nuclear energy. After all, the whole nice money spent on photovoltaic in the not really sun-bathed Germany does no more than help produce one per cent of the entire electric energy needed in the country. Before the “energy summit” with the state prime ministers, however, our Federal Chancellor is already pressed towards lavishing more money on political energy concepts: in particular for the renovation of old flats, but also for subsidizing cogeneration of heat and power, wind parks on the ocean, underground cables, new gas power stations and, of course, more photovoltaic. If there have been billions of Euros available for saving banks, they all say, there should also be enough money for a change in energy politics. Well, it is a little late in the day if now the SPD start realizing that each Euro can only be spent once. And that you cannot get them all from “the rich” (Translation).
You would like to renovate your house? Older than 60? We offer 0.75 % above than the market! But why don’t you install some photovoltaic modules on your roof? We will not hesitate to finance it with a special loan.
The scenario reminds me of the booming property sales market in Eastern Germany.
Klaus HnilicaThursday April 7th, 2011
Carl and Gerlinde (VIII)
When Carl returned from work in a rather good mood, Gerlinde surprised him with delicious, crispy Schnitzel and here legendary potato salad!
Nobody can make it as well as she. It must be a secret recipe handed down from her mother – may she rest in peace! Anyway, besides a good pinch of sugar, the marinade also contained mustard and nutmeg. And the onions had been boiled for a short time in real beef broth, before they had been mixed among the still warm, freshly cut potatoes…. that much Carl knew! But no more! But he certainly did not mind not knowing more, since he preferred focussing on the consumption of this delicacy…
When he asked her what happy event this festive dinner was supposed to be in celebration of tonight, Gerlinde strangely never answered. Instead, she got busy laying the table. Using spring napkins, fresh primroses and new red wine glasses!
His second question was also ignored. She busied herself washing up the pan and pot…
When he asked for the third time, taking her into his arms among laughter and nibbling at her deliciously potato-salady lips, she blushed purple, turned her head away and quickly escaped from his embrace. …
Now Carl was really curious. He was not going to remain ignorant on this one!