'Peak Oil' far, far away


the wind & tides plus quite possibly, nuclear or even oil!
Electricity can be generated from almost any fuel you can imagine.


Forget about the electricity for a moment, where is the cobalt for the batteries coming from?


This source is not exactly a hotbed of right wing thinking. It usually tracks the Guardian pretty close on most subjects.

The money quote…

Over the years I have discovered that the subjects of EV’s and “renewable energy” is one subject were otherwise informed and intelligent people spout complete and total shite. Classic cargo cult thinking.

Both are a perfect solution to very specific and very small niche market problems. Basically their use about 30/50 years ago. Wider use at huge economic cost are little more than a mass delusion engaged in by people who it seems have little real idea of the engineering, physics or even the basic science involved. Let alone the economics. And why? Ultimately it seems the Green Cargo Cult is almost totally about assuaging the guilt of affluent middle class folk over their mostly pointless conspicuous consumption. In my experience the working classes rarely fall for the greenie delusional beliefs. But some have found it a very lucrative business opportunity. Which is fine by me. Separating the affluent middle classes from the easily earned money is a noble activity. As long as I as a taxpayer do not have to subsidize these affluent middle class virtue signalling conspicuous consumption. Which is where currently 2/3’rds of my electric bill and almost half of my natural gas bill goes every month. To directly subsidize the conspicuous consumption of the affluent middle classes.

So what is a more fitting symbol of utterly pointless and ultimately counterproductive conspicuous consumption by the (very) affluent middle classes than a Tesla S. Mandated by rich arrogant pricks. Made by rich arrogant pricks. Driven by rich arrogant pricks.


^^^ Brilliant! I picture you mashing the keyboard with hands covered in peanut butter and cat hair.

(wowsers. doomed by a shortage of cobalt? i wonder if technology can possibly find an answer…)


thejournal.ie/readme/eamon-r … 4-Jul2017/



Whats your opinion on people who drive a second hand Nissan Leaf, this time next year the gen 1 Leaf will be cheap to buy and with its low running costs makes it amazing value

The biggest selling EV is the Nissan Leaf, I know one Leaf diver pretty well, he’s far from arrogant, but he would like to be rich

From an add on Donedeal for a €7K Leaf

Thats today, the amount of cobalt needed for each car drops every year

Also the next gen batteries may not use any cobalt

Peak Cobalt, far, far away


Don’t you claim to drive a BMW 7 Series?


A quick google of cobalt, produced this
globalenergymetals.com/coba … lt-supply/

The biggest risk appears to be in the fact that it is coming from politically unstable countries.


No it doesn’t. It used to be middle of the road when Dubya was Pres. It went rabidly right when Obama got the gig.


For me the key takeaway is:

Looking through googles for cobalt deposits, it seems that African cobalt is cheap, pricing out mines in more stable regions.
mapsofworld.com/minerals/wo … ucers.html
Bear in mind also that Cobalt appears to be a byproduct of copper and nickel mining, so it’s not actively mined for itself. If it was particularly valuable on it’s own, I’d say it’d be more widely mined.


This appears to be true of many of the “rare Earth metals”, they’re everywhere but just more accessible in certain countries.


I presume you mean the big yellow ball in the sky and not the newspaper. :smiley:
I pointed out a page or two back that places at the latitude of the British Isles don’t get enough sunlight to power the EV equivalents of their current car fleets. Happy to stand corrected if I got it wrong.

Ireland is not planning to countenance nuclear or oil-based generation. Britain is taking about 15 years to build Hinkley Point C, from granting of the nuclear site license to first electricity. The currently projected construction cost is £20 billion, and the lifetime cost is twice that. I pointed out a page or two back that it would take five Hinkley Points to power one third of an electrified UK car fleet.
(Or an infinite number of Carnsore Points :angry: )

Forget about tides. Tidal energy relying on hydraulic gradient needs a large tidal range and there are very few suitable sites. Afaik there is only one planned to be developed in Britain and none in Ireland. Possible sites for turbines using tidal flow are somewhat more common, but SEAI estimated that the total available resource would be only a couple of percent of electricity usage in 2010, or a few percent in future if new technology allows slower flow rates to be utilised economically.

Wind suffers from all the intermittency, land use, and other environmental problems that have been well-discussed elsewhere.

Let’s face it: Europe is struggling to keep up with increasing electricity demand just for existing uses while meeting carbon reduction obligations. EV use is on top of all that. And just to reiterate: all the data for energy consumption, efficiency, and so on, are just a Google away. Five minutes with a spreadsheet would allow something – anything! – a bit more substantial than handwaving about sun, tides and wind. There’s really no excuse for numerate people not doing their homework. It’s in everyone’s interest to get a handle on the scale of the problem, plus I’d love to be proved wrong.


In many parts of the world energy will come from the sun.

But Ireland will be a wind power collosus.
Floating wind farms in the Atlantic will provide enormous amounts of power cheaply. This technology already exists.

Race to Build Offshore Wind Farms That Float on Sea Gathers Pace - Bloomberg


That reference tells me that by the end of the decade the total worldwide offshore wind will be about half of UK generating capacity. Therefore, according to accepted capacity factors, it could supply about a quarter of UK demand. Floating offshore wind is much less than 1% of that again by 2020. Currently there are no utility customers for floating wind, as it is implausibly expensive according to an MIT review from last year. The race to roll out prototypes in the UK is due to the fact that subsidies are available only until next year. After that, floating offshore wind will be dead unless the economics dramatically improve.

The current UK oil use for light duty vehicles is the power equivalent of about 75 GW. Capacity factor for far offshore wind is likely to be less than 50% (source). That means you need 30,000 giant 5 MW turbines, even assuming no demand peaks of any sort. Currently there are, what, six? And no plans to build any more on a commercial basis.

Nobody’s saying the technology doesn’t exist. But so does the technology to extract gold from seawater and that’s not going to be deployed anytime soon. Remember, we are talking about the prospect of replacing existing car fleets with EVs by mid century. Not some kind of handwavey “some time, at some price, with some conceivable technology”.


Its implausibly expensive now but not 20 years later
Then you’ve got 1000s sq miles of real estate to play with just in the near Atlantic area!
There’s nothing hand wavey about it , by 2050 we will have enormous wind farms all over the Irish sea or both the Irish sea and the Atlantic . 200m or long blades with 10-20 MW per turbine. They already exist. This is 32 years later we are talking about . That’s many lifetimes in energy.

In the meantime there’s tonnes of onshore and near offshore resources to put in play. Look at UK as an example .

There’s a few other factors that will come in such as the ability to store energy generated from wind when its at surplus.


What will make it cheaper? So far I’ve read about a Portuguese design (on paper) that replaces some of the steel with concrete. Mass production could improve things. A reduction of 50% would make it comparable in cost to onshore wind, which is already expensive compared to the alternatives.

How long will it take for that to happen? These floating assemblies are comparable in mass to a small cargo ship. Are we likely to go from “economically infeasible” to tens of thousands of them around the British Isles inside three decades? Who would make them and install them on that scale? It would have to happen orders of magnitude faster than onshore wind adoption has. But you’re saying it might not even begin for twenty years.


The Irish sea seems to have tonnes of real estate waiting to be utilised. They don’t need to be floating there.
As I can see from UKs investments OFF NW England.

It seems efficiency is mainly drive by size.
Bit if you couple that with the rapid Decrease in battery costs you can then capture the full value of the power generated through the turbines life cycle instead of the situation now. Ultimately the Atlantic is to wind as North Africa is to solar.

The UK is a densely populated small island they will need the to absorb More renewable energy resources for that reason, but definitely they have the xpertise to use the North Sea and Irish sea from the existing oil industry.
Companies like statoil have this expertise .

For Ireland on the other hand a few large scale offshore wind farms could power most of the country and very easily all the electric fleet.


So obviously know nothing about the subject then. Just look at cobalt production numbers for starters. And where it comes from. And how. And then the physics and chemistry involved. The chemistry of batteries is exactly what it was Alessandro Volta threw his first wet cell together 250 years ago. Thats one area where the science actually is settled. Because, well, its real science.

As I have had said before I been hearing these magical thinking numbers for decades and the numbers now are are almost exactly the same as they were in the 1970’s and 1980’s. They dont work. And some revolutionary new breakthrough is always “just around the corner”. But never ever seems to arrive. A bit like fusion really.

I got about the same mW/hours out of the lead acid cells in the laptop in 1984 as I get from a li-ion battery in 2017. Only difference is weight (much lower) and cost (much higher). In 1996 the first electric cars got about 100 miles on one charge and actually cost around $50K (but you could not buy them, only lease) and today if I spend $80K I get just over twice the range. Which is still less than what I get from half a tank of gas. So twice the price for twice the range. For reference, in 1995 I bought a used top of the range 7 series BMW with very low miles for $7K. I was just looking at the current equivalent (age / miles) 7 series BMW recently, $9K. A full tank of gas is around $60. A refill takes less than 10 min. And give me almost three time the range of a Tesla.

We do have these wonderful technologies that can provide us with pretty much limitless cheap energy. For both transportation and for electric generation. The miracle energy sources are called petroleum and natural gas. And we have this thing called the internal combustion engine that provides us with a very energy efficient and flexible mode of transportation. Which modern industrial civilization is based on and totally dependent on. And there is this thing called a gas turbine that can generate hundreds of megawatts of electric power on demand. Whenever its needed. At short notice. In a pretty small area of a few hundred sq meters. And when driven by natural gas its is by far the cheapest way of generating electricity. By quite a margin.

You know , Coles2, I’m a hundred per cent certain that if you spent even 15 mins around the typical EV owners in what is by far the largest EV market in the world you would have an even greater contempt for the typical EV driver than I do. Next time you are in the Bay Area why not tootle down to University Av or the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. Where you will find the greatest possible concentration of EV owners in a very small area. In the world. The Tesla HQ is just up the road, off Page Mill. The EV owner will be the ones looking at you with utter contempt because you dont look like them, and all have that overbearing supercilious attitude that can be picked up half a block away.

Remember, I have been watching these people up close for two decades now. My opinion is based on what is by now a very large sample. Whats the total in Ireland. Is it enough to fill a pub yet? To know them is to despise them.


Every other ‘shortage’ has proved to be a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream. Why is Cobalt any different?
technologyreview.com/s/5353 … hs-crisis/

I suspect a pump and dump…


No necessarily a shortage but demand will ramp up by 5-10-50 times soon.
That’s a good story for a given commodity price isn’t it?


For a year or two maybe, until it turns out that not as much cobalt is needed, it can largely be substituted by something cheaper, and new supply comes on (when cobalt becomes work mining for it’s own sake rather than as a by-product). I have no idea about the science of it, but I suspect cobalt is used because it is cheap, not because it is necessary to use cobalt.