Re: photochemical advance

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Dec 10 2001 - 12:23:42 MST wrote:
> On 2001.12.09, Mike Lorrey <> wrote:
> > Photosynthesis is, at best, 3% efficient (compared to 35% for
> > photovoltaics). Since we've already previously examined, analysed, and
> > roundly dismissed photosynthesis as a viable energy alternative for
> > technological civilization, anything less efficient should be similarly
> > dismissed. The opportunity cost of filling up the landscape with solar
> > collectors other than those naturally evolved is simply a stupid idea,
> > as stupid as powering automobiles with maple syrup.
> I don't remember this dismissal. Drexler proposes having the roadways
> also be solar collectors. Is this "simply a stupid idea"?

As I recall, his proposals were dependent upon a far higher efficiency
than those being discussed (.88-8%). As Spike as previously
demonstrated, if we used the entirety of our arable land to produce
methanol (rather than food to feed ourselves), this would supply at best
30% of our energy needs (while we starve). Thus, solar collectors in
this efficiency range, as the foundation of an energy infrastructure,
are indeed a 'stupid idea'. Even at the 30% efficiencies of the best man
made solar panels, this would require that 10% of our arable land be
occupied by solar collectors, something which I am positive would
trigger an enormous Luddite/NIMBY backlash so as to make the Inquisition
seem like mere cliquishness.

Earth based solar collection infrastructure is a stupid idea.

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