[FoRK] peak coal

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Tue Oct 27 10:54:14 PDT 2009


On Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 10:23:51AM -0700, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:

> This is not generally true. There are substantial losses in industrial  
> processes where the waste is diluted to levels that cannot be  
> economically recovered. Even for high-value metals like gold this  
> amounts to thousands of tons of permanent loss. The cumulative losses  
> of this type are significant, and essentially entropy in action.
> 
> The thermodynamics is not favorable.  Most metal concentrations in the  
> Earth's crust were created by hydrothermal gradients. A lot of energy  
> was expended in the creation of the metal concentrations we exploit  
> today.

Indeed, see http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3086 for an overview.
(I do not claim that the numbers are authoritative, just that the
qualitative trends are accurate).

Notice that the core bottleneck is energy. Synfuels, dilute
resource enrichment, food production, all need cheap, plentiful
energy.

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