Re: photochemical advance

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Dec 11 2001 - 14:16:59 MST

Spike Jones wrote:
> > On Mon, 10 Dec 2001, Mike Lorrey wrote: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).
> >
> > "Robert J. Bradbury" wrote: Huh? I hate to be a killjoy here (potential puns
> > abound) but I've
> > got a partially finished paper (that both Spike and Hal have seen
> > calculations related to) that suggests a small fraction of the State
> > of Texas can eliminate our dependence on foreign oil.
> My calc was for growing corn and converting to ethanol, which
> is not the best way to produce energy. We get wrapped up in
> the efficiency of photosynthesis without taking into account that
> plants have metabolism, and devour much of the starch they
> produce. If we produce energy Bradbury style, with photo
> cells, we need not live in an enormous corn field.

Ah, ok, but what energy is used by the nanoscale replicators to
replicate? They will metabolize a chunk of the energy as well, just as
the corn plants do.

Now, putting on my devil's luddite hat again, we also need to evaluate
exactly what sort of system we think is appropriate for a given
environment. As the greenies say, there is no place on earth that is not
inhabited by life. What habitats do we decide are appropriate to subsume
with a nanobuilt solar energy field? If we are to value wild habitat as
most important (as a growing percentage of the people do), then we are
left with that land which we've already de-naturated: agricultural land
and developed areas. Most homeowners also want to live someplace that
looks as 'natural' as possible, so human living areas are of higher
value left alone than doing so to previously farmed areas.

My personal preference is that there are only some places on earth which
can justify them being covered by solar power systems: the great
deserts: Sahara, Gobi, Kalahari, and the Outback. What is so great is
that there is already lots of silicon there to work with.

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