Re: Think Long Term...
From: Brian Bartholomew (bbstat.ufl.edu)
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2007 10:48:33 -0700 (PDT)
Human technological growth has proceeded slightly faster than
exponential for all of human history.  Technology can increase the
carrying capacity of the environment.  That is why the predictions of
Malthus, the Club of Rome, Ehrlich, etc. have not come true.

> An annual human energy use of 30 billion barrels of oil is a lot of
> energy.  Run the numbers in BTU or kilowatt equivalents, and compare
> to whatever renewable you like, I suspect you will find that there
> is no practical long-term approach that is going to allow humanity
> to continue to use energy at the current level.

        30 billion barrels of oil/year = 30 billion * 1.70 MWh  /year =
        (51 000 000 000 000 000 Wh/year).

        (51 000 000 000 000 000 Wh/year) / (365*6 = 2190 solar hours/year) =
        23287671232876 Watts.

        23287671232876 Watts / (kilowatt / square meter) =
        23287671232 square meters = 8991 square miles =

                        a square 95 miles on a side

        1500 square feet = 139.35 square meters.

        23287671232 square meters / 139.35 houses =

                         167 million home rooftops

I'm sure a farm 95 miles on a side looked daunting too when all you
had were mules, but look at Kansas today.  And yet people claim that
this problem will remain unsolved *forever*?

> Absent some energy miracle

Bussard has received funding for the next prototype of his nearly
pollution-free fusion reactor.  We might well see reactors the size of
garages that power neighborhoods in the next 15 years.

                                                        Brian

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