Alternative Energy

After recently some 8300 people were reminding the Finnish government that it would be high time to do somethng about the climate, the next question might be WHAT to do.

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish guest speaker at the demonstration, is not the only one to claim that the technology for the job is already known, but my impression is that our politicians (who mostly seem to have a background in law, political science and similar) have difficulties with understanding that. – I still remember how, in connection with Cecilia Malmström’s first public appearance in Helsinki, I suggested to a lady who turned out to be Finland’s minister of finance that the government should invite ideas from the public how to tackle, e.g., the climate problem, upon which she answered with the question whether that were not the job of the industry. I replied that about this method there were the problem that any enterprise will just push ideas by which it hopes to make money, at the same blackpainting any competing idea (even if it should in fact be better). But the discussion was of course not continued …

If the situation is seemingly that our politicians are in fact satisfied with not having any clear idea about technology, letting themselves just be manipulated by business, at most considering how they can provide some source of income to such groups of society from whom they expect votes (and favouring according technical suggestions), one should perhaps expect from at least the media that they could feed some technical knowledge to the public and even the politicians, but unluckily also the media tend to report only about ideas into which somebody seems already willing to invest larger amounts of money. – I still think with horror what nice, big articles were written about the idea of investing some 15000 mio into that tunnel to Tallinn …

Luckily there was at least very short time ago (in Hbl of Fredag 2.11., p.13) a mentioning of a study by Wärtsilä which arrived at the conclusion that ”Vindkraft är billigare än kärnkraft” (which, considering Finland’s near endless coastline – with the according wind conditions -, sounds rather convincing). And this idea can even be developed further:
(a) in order to avoid the hindrance by all those land owners who fear for the market value of their land in case that there should anywhere be some windmill visible, it might be an idea to develop floating wind power – which can be placed out of sight, can be produced fast and economical by assembly line, and be installed very simply by tugboat (there is already a Norwegian model on the market, but that needs more water depth than there is available over most of the Baltic Sea);
(b) in order to tackle the problem that the wind tends to blow not so reliably, one should research more about possibilities to store surplus energy, for which there would be already the possibilities to either send the energy by cable to Sweden (where the conditions for pumped storage are much better than in Finland), or store it in the form of compressed air in caverns in the solid Finnish granit ground (a solution which might anyway be good for short-time storage), or store it in the form of hydrogen which can be produced by using the surplus energy for electrodrolysis (research and development to be done to make the method more efficient). – Especially about the latter possibility there was rather recently a message on Facebook that in my closer home region in Northern Germany there is now a train in traffic (in shape similar to what in Helsinki is known as ”sähköjuna”) which runs on hydrogen by means of fuel cells. – If one wants a clearer idea, one should take a map of the Northern Lower Saxony area between the river mouths of Elbe and Weser: the train goes between Cuxhaven (on the mouth of the Elbe) and Bremerhaven (on the mouth of the Weser), and from there towards the east to Bremervörde (where a big tank of liquid hydrogen provides the fuel for the train). – Thus and altogether, can we perhaps agree (and could also our politicians agree) that the problem of storing surpluses in the irregular flow of alternative energy is at least very close to a solution (so that certain often-presented objections to alternative energy can be dropped).

3 kommentarer på “Alternative Energy

  1. It would be commercially viable to build one’s own or one’s housing co. low-noice windmill + solar system, and be on pure green energy, but that is not allowed by authorities in city suburbs … earth heat one can build, though…and that should be supported by gov. …. but industry consumes most of the energy, e.g. paper industry…so paperless society would be needed … no fancied by big co’s of course !

  2. I think even with windmill plus solar on one’s own roof there might easily still be a storage problem. In USA there have been proposals to use the batteries of people’s cars for this purpose in local networks (but the necessary number of cars and the complication of the system does not appeal to me). I also think that we shall need big industry also in the future (not only for paper), but one could try (and the paper industry seems to be doing it already to quite some extent), e.g., to use the industiry’s waste heat etc. in a good way. – In this context I always think of the fact that coal which is burned in Germany is usually used to a bit less than 40 per cent (because the waste heat is not used) while coal burned in Helsinki is used to about 90 per cent (as the waste heat is used to heat the living quarters in central Helsinki). One should think more about possibilities to get still some use from the waste of some industry … . And once one has a good idea (or even a working system to be used for demonstrating it), one should also make some effort to spread it .

    • Home energy storage is already available from e.g. Tesla – but expensive. Best option in Finland is earth heat, which can convert to air heat in old electrically heated buildings also. The rest e.g led-lighting, PCs, TV could be produced by solar/wind.
      Sauna remains an unsolvable issue…with light preheating and short heating from battery could work. That kind of ’kiuas’ are available. We have one.

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