Net-Zero grid, net-zero buildings, net-zero housing, net-zero climate goals. We hear these phrases all over the place nowadays. They are meant to be the gold standard for environmental conscientiousness and progressive planning. And they are. That's the problem. A net outcome is a term most often used in economic considerations where all inputs and outputs... Continue Reading →
Energy: Growth or Static? How EROI determines our future.
Sorry it's been so long since the last article. life has gotten interesting in the ancient Chinese curse kind of way, but I'm back and hopefully regularly. I hate economics. It's a byzantine mess of contradicting methods and rules that gives em a massive headache whenever I try and plumb its depths. Is it worth... Continue Reading →
The Alberta Oil Life: Ubiquity and the Road to Zero Carbon
Medical implants, food packaging, cellphones, athletic apparel, dress shoes, paper, screws, nails, water bottles, car tires, video games, beach umbrellas, sandpaper, headphones, cancer drugs, recreational drugs, painkillers, colostomy bags, hospital beds, regular beds, fishing lines, boats, cosplay costumes, comic books, coloured inks, paint, shopping carts, musical instruments, concert hall chairs, pens, stress balls, tennis balls,... Continue Reading →
Heat, Energy, and Climate: The Three Amigos
I'm going to start off by saying that I don't care if anyone reading this article believes in man-made climate change or thinks it's a scam. I'm not here to champion anything, I just feel there is a lot of misunderstanding of the topic because everyone discusses it 3 or 4 levels above the fundamental... Continue Reading →
A Stranger in a Strange Conference #EDU2019
Energy Disrupters Unite 2019. A smaller conference in an important city in an important province in a country that I love, even with it's problems. Here I spent 2 days listening to some of the most driven, and insightful people I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Their talks wandered over and through... Continue Reading →
A Nuclear Nerd Presents to the Edmonton Energy Transition Leadership Network
Foreward: So I didn't post on friday last week because I was busy writing a presentation. It was not in fact this presentation that is below, it was an entirely different one that I determined was crap and scrapped late friday night. Thus forcing me to build this new one from scratch 4 days before... Continue Reading →
Nuclear Energy: When Free Markets Aren’t.
Also known as "if renewables are so cheap, why is my energy bill so high?" Here in Alberta we've been hearing for a long time about how cheap renewables are. Solar projects coming online at under 5 cents per kWh. Wind bids at 2 cents per kWh! So why does my electricity bill still say... Continue Reading →
Nuclear energy, problem solving, and the time on the clock.
I'm going to start this article off with a bit of a personal touch. I had a mentor a few years back and he gave me some very good advice that has shaped a lot of the outlook I have on what is going on in the world. One of his favourite lines is "The... Continue Reading →
Nuclear and Garbage Pt 1: The scale of the issue
To those who read this site and use Freedom Units, 1 cubic meter is about 35 cubic feet. Also the unit MTHM means METRIC Tonne of Heavy Metal, not Million Tonnes of Heavy Metal which was a mistake I made for about 2 hours before I realized I was being stupid. Not my proudest moment.... Continue Reading →
Fuel: Energy and growth without sacrifice?
We all know what fuel is. Almost literally to the point that none of us actually knows what fuel is. Like the colour red, or microwaves, or bread (my condolences to people with Celiac disease). It's such a pervasive part of our lives that we barely even question it anymore. But that's a problem as... Continue Reading →
Okay so I believe you now. What can I do?
This is where the fun stuff really happens. And by fun I mean tedious, and by happens I mean crawls along at the snails pace of provincial bureaucracy and politics. Unfortunately however, there is only one way of pushing along the progress of promoting nuclear energy into mainstream acceptance and that is by pestering every... Continue Reading →
Spotlight: Terrestrial Energy Inc.
SMRs are a rapidly expanding field of interest in the modern nuclear industry, seeking to provide all the benefits of current nuclear energy, while dramatically reducing costs and construction times and taking advantage of modern factory construction logistics. There are dozens of companies that are active in this field such as Westinghouse, GE-Hitachi, TerraPower, NuScale,... Continue Reading →
Indirect Income: Load Following, Potholes, and the Elderly
Dear Mom, please ignore the next paragraph. Just move on to the third one and pretend that that is the real beginning of this post. Fuck potholes and all their horrible children. Avatars of the impermanence of mans creations and active forces of entropy that love to do nothing more than wreck tires, throw steering... Continue Reading →
Australian Questions, Canadian Answers, Commonwealth Camaraderie.
Australia, I just want you to know before I get started that I love you and I don't mean to hurt you. You're surrounded by friends here and we just want what is best for you and all the rest of us. This is an intervention against your pointless fear. These questions were taken and... Continue Reading →
Nuclear Waste Pt. 1: Fear is the mind-killer
I'm sure you've seen images like this before. Something to make you feel unsafe or scared. Bright colours, visible warning signs, all things that point to those drums being filled with things that are horribly dangerous, and likely to leak out at any moment and poison the surrounding area à la The Simpsons. The reality is... actual... Continue Reading →
Back of the nuclear napkin: Cost efficiency.
People don't seem to believe me when I say that Nuclear would be one of the cheapest ways to switch over to zero-carbon energy. So welcome to another rough and ready math attempt. We'll take 3 different scenarios: nuclear, solar PV and off-shore wind as these seem to be the most common grid-scale applications of... Continue Reading →
Reasons for Nuclear: The KISS principle
I have always been a man of seemingly conflicting interests. I'm an engineer and scientist in my core, I appreciate the ability to be productive and useful in logical and quantifiable ways. But I have also been vigorously involved in the Arts and know that unquantifiable efforts can be productive in their own right. Every... Continue Reading →
Energy and Civilization Series: Porcupines and Environmental Stewardship
It feels like the last few articles have been kinda curmudgeonly so it's time to shift the outlook and focus on aspirational things today. Namely that everyone's favourite oil and gas whipping boy, Tailings ponds, can be cleaned up much faster than current estimates by application of nuclear power and the helping hand of a... Continue Reading →
Costs of Nuclear: Lies, Greed, and Misery
Now I can stand a lot of things that people don't understand about nuclear. Radiation can be complicated, physics goes over a lot of peoples heads. But money is something that Everyone has to interact with every day of their lives once they stop living off their parents. So today I want to try to... Continue Reading →
Nuclear and CO2: The Long Game
Short post today, I'm getting ready for a presentation this upcoming Tuesday at Edmonton NerdNite So fingers crossed for me! Today I want to talk about something that most people seem to forget about when they are talking about climate models and CO2 reduction and emission targets. We don't win if we hit those targets... Continue Reading →
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