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Carbon Reduction Imperative 

 

 

Due to improving living standards in developed and some developing countries (China India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore etc) the worldwide demand for energy for electricity generation has been growing by around 2% pa worldwide.

 

Worldwide electrical energy is predominantly based on the combustion of fossil fuels (carbon and a proportion of hydrogen). The carbon is released as atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The consequent exponential release of CO2is believed to be threatening the climate of the planet. This is compounded by the release of methane and other air, water and land pollution (associated with industrialisation) and the widespread disruption of the natural carbon cycle by tree clearing and broad-acre farming and grazing monocultures and damage to marine ecosystems (as a result of exponential population growth).

 

In response, carbon mitigation strategies are in place throughout the developed world to attempt to contain the growth of atmospheric CO2. To facilitate these strategies, renewable energy technologies are projected to make an increasing contribution to world energy consumption. The stronger these carbon mitigation strategies are; the more competitive low carbon and renewable energy becomes.

 
Although there are various experimental and speculative alternative (low carbon and renewable) electricity solutions, this article focuses on those that presently make a significant contribution, or may do within the next 20 years. For the purposes of this analysis these alternatives are:
 
  •  Hydro
  •  Wind
  •  Solar
  •  Geothermal
  •  Biomass/Biogas (including wood, algae and bio/solar)
  •  Marine (tides, waves, currents)
  •  Nuclear (including fusion)

 

Some of these involve more 'whole of life' carbon production in their manufacture; installation; maintenance; demolition; and recycling than others.  The following analysis is based on the assumption that they actually run, and produce useful electricity, for their estimated lifetime.  If they become ‘white elephants’ their carbon footprint becomes very large indeed.

 

 

Comparative Carbon Footprints

 

 

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Source: UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology - Carbon Footprint of Electricity Generation

 

 

 

 


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Travel

Malaysia

 

 

In February 2011 we travelled to Malaysia.  I was surprised to see modern housing estates in substantial numbers during our first cab ride from the Airport to Kuala Lumpur.  It seemed more reminiscent of the United Arab Emirates than of the poorer Middle East or of other developing countries in SE Asia.  Our hotel was similarly well appointed.

 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Easter

 

 

 

Easter /'eestuh/. noun

  1. an annual Christian festival in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, observed on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or next after 21 March (the vernal equinox)

[Middle English ester, Old English eastre, originally, name of goddess; distantly related to Latin aurora dawn, Greek eos; related to east]

Macquarie Dictionary

 


I'm not very good with anniversaries so Easter might take me by surprise, were it not for the Moon - waxing gibbous last night.  Easter inconveniently moves about with the Moon, unlike Christmas.  And like Christmas, retailers give us plenty of advanced warning. For many weeks the chocolate bilbies have been back in the supermarket - along with the more traditional eggs and rabbits. 

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Opinions and Philosophy

Discovery of the Higgs boson

 

 

Perhaps the most important physics discovery of my lifetime has finally been announced.  I say 'finally' as its existence has been predicted by the 'Standard Model' for a long time and I have already mentioned this possibility/probability in an earlier article on this website (link).

Its confirmation is important to everyone, not just to physicists working in the field of quantum mechanics.  Like the confirmation of the predictions of Einstein's Theory of Relativity we are now confronted with a new model of reality that has moved beyond an esoteric theory to the understanding that this is how the Universe actually is; at least as far as the Standard Model goes.

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