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David Pollard

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  • In the UK it is presently possible to obtain a payback of 41.3 p/kWh on PV up to 4 kW per household, index linked (inflation proofed) for the next 25 years! The cost is being covered by an increase in tarrifs for other users of electricity. And thi…
  • According to Wikpedia there had been plans in the UK for another pumped hydro plant like Dinorwig to be built near Exmoor, but when the nuclear expansion stopped this was shelved. It's surprising that with the huge funding of wind farms this hasn't …
  • It did look surprising. But Wikipedia says variations in salinity give densities typically between 1.02 and 1.03, so over a depth of up to 10 km this amounts to 100 metres of water. Equally surprising - well it was to me - is that the osmotic press…
  • Getting the numbers on the table and the basic science is, as I've said, absolutely fine. One example of where I don't agree with David MacKay is his suggestion that storage of wind energy can be easily coupled with electric cars, the batteries of …
  • Now you site data centres near cheap electricity! The Register has details of a survey which found almost half of the UK's data centre operators believe the UK's Carbon Reduction Commitment efficiency scheme tax could drive UK data centre inves…
  • Cows apparently produce 37% of anthropogenic methane. And feeding them oregano can reduce the amount greatly.
  • Soil science seems to be a vital area. It's quite complex, which may be one of the reasons why it has been rather neglected. I've put a placeholder on the Earth science page.
  • From an earlier post, We'll ultimately have to assess the reliability and biases of organizations and people who provide data and plans...
  • Nuclear does seem to be a necessary stepping-stone for the next century or three. Widespread use of small-scale biochar production (low transport costs) from food/garden/local-agricultural waste to make syngas + fuel + fertiliser (K, P) using micro…
  • Writing as a geriatric, I was interested to note the use of Fourier transforms to evaluate the effect of changes in springtime temperatures on grape harvests. I wonder if anything similar has been done with the aim of mitigating the effects of clima…
  • If memory serves, the red-herring paradox here came from a PR team promoting solar energy. They claimed that, once primed, the use of PV to manufacture PV had zero carbon cost, and implied that solar was the only technology able to achieve this. Th…
  • So let me see if I have got this right. If we build clean power sources faster, we will be producing more CO2 than we are saving. Hence we will reduce the excess of CO2 in the atmosphere faster if we build clean energy sources more slowly?
  • What's the main problem? Clearly there is a need for energy and this, together with agricultural surplus, is key to almost every process that supports civilisation. But we also have to contend with our human nature. It is understandable that humans …
  • What's needed, I fear, is something more than a buzzword for carbon legacy. Used to mean different things by different people a new buzzword might just make the debate even more tangled and confusing than it is at present. Whatever terms are used, …
  • Before adding a link I tried out a couple of the OU modules. Oh dear.
  • Should there perhaps be an 'Open Learning Sources' page listing sites like this, a 'where can I go to learn more' page? For example, I came across the OU's Environment, Development and International Studies modules the other evening.
  • To be fair to Sovacool, his paper does provide some explanation as to why the estimates on which the 66 g/kWh headline figure is based vary between 2.82-22 and 10-200. The main differences are in 'frontend' costs: mining, milling, conversion, enric…
  • Yes, I think so. It looks to me as though the 4 g/kWh contribution to carbon cost of nuclear from a war that he includes in his maximum of 70 g/kWh is just another way to get the total to be "slightly above" what it would be if it weren't included, …
  • Jacobson's figures for the lifecycle carbon cost of nuclear energy come from industry estimates at the lower end, of 9 g/kWh, and at the upper end 66 g/kWh, a "number slightly above the average" from lifetime reviews of old power stations, to which …
  • how people get usable gas from the process of making biochar I'm still stuck on the problem of how to store it for the winter. Heat pumps are still winning, but unfortunately are only available to the middle classes and up.
  • It's interesting to note one of the comments on p1 of scenarios. Douglas Wise writes about the recently launched UK energy calculator which the UK government presented recently: The Report contains a great deal of useful and interesting informa…
  • David T, The research in the PLoS paper seemed to me to be well done because, using top-notch analytic equipment, the authors came to a specific conclusion: "These findings implicate co-infection by IIV and Nosema with honey bee colony decline, gi…
  • A fine research paper was published in PLoS ONE a few days ago. I've put a link on the page. Oops. I note you already have this reference.
  • Apologies. I've put brief details on the page. Load balancing - into which both the virtual storage methods that I mention fit - is quite tricky. It looks to me as though the impact of the variability of wind energy may be being seriously underesti…
  • Er, a list of 'useful online reference books'? My musings on mineral carbon capture have been mainly about how to make building products from it such as bricks and cements. EcoTec seems to be on the right track. If serpentine/olivine is to be used…
  • I've been thinking about it, off and on, for a decade or three.
  • Isn't there quite a bit of variation between different crops? I'm not much in favour of biofuels myself, because of the pressure that they put on food production, and on biodiversity when land used is taken from 'nature'. But if land that is more or…
  • There's a company in New Zealand which has pioneered biochar production using microwaves. This seems to me to allow a neat way of using intermittent wind energy. The exothermic process, using an input of wind energy would produces syngas and biofuel…
  • Matching wind energy to industrial processes that can be conducted intermittently seems like a good idea; certainly if their capital cost is low in comparison with the cost of energy storage or the carbon cost of load balancing (presumably mostly ga…
  • I've added a couple of virtual storage methods, load shedding and energy dumping. Active load management, where consumers allow their demand to be partly modulated by the supplier, seems likely to be used increasingly; especially as more electricity…