[FoRK] Global Guerrillas

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Sat Nov 6 09:15:56 PST 2004

On Fri, Nov 05, 2004 at 10:10:36PM -0500, Gavin Thomas Nicol wrote:

> I dunno... I haven't seen how this could be practical yet... or more 
> practical than manufacturing fuel from carbon-based waste. I am more 
> than willing to be convinced!

We've been through this before.

Conversion to a renewable-resource society is expensive. You have to start in
niches, which are cost-effective, or nearly so, and have strong synergies. A
lot of this is political: cutting subsidies on fossils, and transferring them
to renewables. (It really helps to not be dumb about it, and to not subsidize 
braindead, stillborn shit).

Hydro power is most cost-effective, and is also rather developed. There's
considerable growth in hydro microturbines, though. Anything remote from the
grid is a potential niche. After hydro, aeolean and thermo/PVA solar are the
most likely condidates.

Insulation, architectural solutions and economical household devices have the
highest ROI. Here you can wield the regulation stick with nigh-impunity. (You
could, in theory. Sorry. I forgot, for a moment).

Simultaneously to that coupled electical/thermal usage in small installations
is good. Methane is preferred, but higher alcanes work, too. It can mean ICEs, 
microturbines but of course also direct-methane, direct-methanol and
reformed-fuel hydrogen fuel cells. Direct-methanol is a strong niche for
mobile and wearable devices. Should scale to vehicular, and once it's there,
for domestic.

Photovoltaics is already cost-effective in most off-grid situations, but
needs subsidy (when feeding surplus juice into the grid) otherwise. Surplus
storage as hydrogen in pressurized vessels from electrolysis definitely needs
support. Ditto organic and polymer photocells, and generally direct-fuel high-temp
cells and direct-fuel low-temp catalysts and proton membranes. I'm not sure
photolysis is yet worthwhile, but it better be (a small) part of a program, too.

However, all of this is moot as the US has now four more years of ShrubCo, and
Senate is rife with Conservatives. (Conservatives should conserve, no?). Not
that you think you'd fare dramatically better with Kerry, but, in a few
issues which matter, and also overall, slightly to visibly better, yes.

In closing, I think you're fucked. Blame one half of the population (certainly not
the smarter half), and try for whatever damage control is at your personal

This also applies to us here outside of the fallout cloud. If idiots rule,
you have to go to smaller to personal level with strategies.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
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