Continuation of my series "And if the energies were men". In the great open space of energies, I draw you the portrait of three other office colleagues. This week we get acquainted with...
The biofuel or the crook
It is a fuel produced from biomass. Period. Having said that, we can put whatever we want in it from the moment the biomass finds its origins in the plant, animal, bacterial, fungi ... In fact, biofuels are essentially wood and alcohols and oils from the processing of agricultural products usually intended for human consumption (beet, rapeseed ...).
So on paper it is as attractive as a prospectus from Mrs. Flanchu, clairvoyant astrologer for 25 generations. Afterwards, there is no reason to doubt: coal is black, it's mining, it sucks. Here we're talking about beets, and since everyone hates beet in vinaigrette and we shouldn't spoil the food, said mami, I might as well put it in the tank of my brand new leased A-series. Except that :
1 liter of biofuel emits more CO2 than 1 liter of coal (twice as much for fuel made from rapeseed, three times as much for palm oil! )
Biofuels don't grow underground, so to produce them you have to... deforest or divert existing land. The result is fewer forests capturing CO2, and less land to grow "real" food, in a situation of growing global food insecurity.
In the end, alongside biofuels, Madoff and Rocancourt are trainees.
2. Natural gas or the com
Then he too holds a layer of it. When oil and coal start to see the wind turning for them, let's bet on innovation by choosing something that is in the same family as oil, but since the family name is not the same everyone will see it as nothing but forest fire.
Do you know what the main natural gas is?
CO2? not too nice. Methane ? Exactly, well done. So methane, if we had to define it from a societal point of view, is a gas that has a greenhouse effect power about 25 times greater than that of CO2, it is a gas in astronomical quantities in the frozen soils of the poles (15 man-years of greenhouse gas emissions would be on the verge of being released because of the thawing of the permafrost). In terms of pests, methane if it was an animal it would be a tiger mosquito crossed with Jair Bolsonaro.
I'll pass you the couplet of the quantities of energy it takes to extract the gas from the rocks, to transport it, to transform it... So the energy return rate of natural gas (roughly the energy we get divided by the energy spent to get it) is just disgusting.
3. Nuclear fusion or the gifted
So I took the liberty of doing 2 parts on nuclear, because.
The nuclear power that we consume, for example in France when we connect our fan to the mains, comes from fission. To make it simple:
Fission = I break a heavy atom into two lighter atoms.
Fusion = I "fuse" two atoms into one.
Fusion is the way stars produce energy (a bit of free poetry is a gift). If nuclear fission is the first of the class (previous article), fusion is the gifted one. The top of the class was able to become first in the class because he spends his evenings revising the end of month mid-term exams. The gifted one doesn't study, he doesn't even go to the mid-term exams, he is above them. He has High Potential. And that's saying a lot for the fusion, for three essential reasons:
Nuclear fusion releases colossal energy, not to mention the energy of Lance Armstrong loaded like a Mexican mule on a 12% slope. Fusion releases ten times more energy than fission!
The availability of nuclear fuel on earth (deuterium tritium) is very important.
The product of fusion is not or only slightly radioactive, and the induced waste is much more harmless than in the first of the fission class .
Ok ok, but where is the gifted one now? In the 1950s we said "fusion is for 30 years from now", we are in 2020 and "fusion is for 30 years from now"... so in 2050?
I'll be back next week for the rest of the presentations....