Green and Nanotech

I agree for the most part with Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) in his article "Green and Smart." Developing energy sources other than fossil fuels is a good idea, whether or not Global Warming is a threat. I think he undersells the potential of nuclear though, and oversells solar. Also, what is the reason for Instapundit's endless fascination with nanotechnology? I'll be more excited about nanotech when it actually exists. Ok, perhaps that's a bit harsh, but nanotech is mostly hype at this point. Even Wikipedia agrees.

1 comments:

Ann said...

Steven Den Beste ran the numbers a few years ago (http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/07/Carbonemissions.shtml) on the absolute maximum amount of energy you can get from terrestrial solar harvesting.

He looked at a simple fact: the amount of solar energy that hits a square meter in Albuquerque.

Assuming 100% efficiency (ha ha ha--a scientific impossibility) of the solar harvester, it would take an area of 89 square miles of solar panels to supply California with enough energy to merely replace its use of gasoline (based on 1998 data)--he did not calculate our current electrical or other energy usage. Assuming gas amounts to about half of our energy consumption, and assuming a 33% energy efficiency, you'd have to cover an area approximately 21 miles by 25 miles with solar panels to make up for California's energy needs.

525 sq miles, just for sunny California.

You can do all the nanotech and science experiments you want, but in the end, you can't make the sun send more energy down to the earth.