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  •  Sure I make money off stuff (1+ / 0-)
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    I am a graduate student. I take home $1,700 per month. My rent is $764/month.

    The basic energy equation goes like this (chemical engineers, rejoice!):

    net = production - consumption + accumulation

    Current production is mostly based off of coal, gas, and fission. Very little of it is solar, wind, etc. The Department of Energy has figures for this that I wish I can snap my fingers and dig up for you.

    The difference between solar/wind/hydro and coal/gas/fission is that once you make your solar/wind/hydro, you get electricity generated as long as you have sun, wind and a flowing river. The efficiency of these things being even just half of the efficiency of carbon-fuel based plants makes it worth while. It will "make up" for the resources it consumed for its production. IT just takes time.

    Solar and wind have the additional benefit of not being as  constrained by geography.

    We will always have consumption of some sort so the production term needs to have greater fractions of alternative sources of electricity. The number one thing that will dominate production hopefully within my lifetime is fusion. It does take a tremendous amount of energy to start up but once you get it going, it is just like the sun. However, you get helium as a byproduct instead of carbon dioxide with respect to carbon-fired plants.

    Now on the consumption side.... what you propose is reducing consumption to near zero which is not possible. I prefer light bulbs over candles and I can't get my computer to run off my own blood sugar.

    Engineers and scientists address some some aspect that equation I described. I talked about some of the production stuff.

    Now I'll talk about consumption. You know those old light bulbs that had a tungsten filament inside? They're maybe 1% efficient... producing maybe 10-15 lumens per watt. Fluorescent lights produce more like 50+ lumens per watt. Right there, you can achieve similar lighting conditions with less watts. LED's can achieve even greater lumens per watt.

    The same progress can be found in all kinds of electronic devices. Today, all of the computing power we have on the market today consumes less electricity for the same or even greater amounts of computing power relative to the old stuff from the 80's and 90's.

    The laptops today can survive off of a battery pack for 7 hours or so. My old one will do 3 hours if I keep the screen dim.

    TO address the landfill issue, there are people looking into cradle to cradle product life maps. The old paradigm was cradle to grave. There's an example of a cloth being made where the waste in the production was very treatable water (no harsh chemicals needed) and its product "grave" was use as strawberry mulch.

    Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

    by Future Gazer on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:21:23 AM PST

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