Re: photochemical advance

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Dec 10 2001 - 10:36:14 MST

Dossy 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.
> Why should we be looking to create energy sources that are
> more efficient? Wouldn't it be smarter to try and create
> energy consumers that are more efficient?
> Maybe I really am the misguided one ...

You need to consider that all stages in the energy cycle contribute to
the systemic efficiency. Having highly efficient consumers is worthless
when the producers are so inefficient. Current energy consumption
technologies range in efficiency from 14-99% while energy production
technologies are generally 40-90% efficient. If you give up the current
technology at that efficiency to one that is only 1-8% efficient, you
are automatically contracting your energy supply by a whole order of
magnitude. What does this mean in real life? Switching to this
photochemical technology for our worldwide energy production needs would
require that we first exterminate 90% of the human race. Even if we were
able to boost consumption efficiencies all up into the 90%+ level, you
are still condemning 1/4 to 1/2 the human race to death.

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