Sir David MacKay, author of Sustainable Energy – without the hot air died of cancer on 14th April 2016. Mark Lynas interviewed Sir David on April 3rd and has provided a very fitting tribute. The video, is twenty-three minutes long and there is a lot to like.
David was an occasional commenter on Energy Matters. Here’s a selection of his more recent comments:
Great article! I love the exploration of detailed cases.
Great graphs! I think I spotted a typo “mimumum” in one of them. Perhaps fix this when adding Portugal and Spain to this magnum opus 🙂 Thanks
Great post! You could extend it into a third country by looking at the German Energiewende (which means “Energy banana”); I recall that the Energy banana depends very heavily on synthetic methane. I don’t know if they have detailed where they would get the required carbon atoms from.
In the German transport sector there seem to be two camps: VW Audi assert that they will make zero-carbon cars powered by synthetic methane; and BMW assert that they will make zero-carbon cars powered by fossil-free hydrogen.
Since a hydrogen store is likely to be more efficient (having fewer chemical steps) than a methane store, it might be a good idea to look further at the question of how much hydrogen can be stored. Perhaps multiple TWh of hydrogen _can_ be stored in salt caverns? (I don’t know why CAT asserted that only ‘small’ amounts could be stored thus.)
Helpful post, thanks! I am delighted to see (in Figure 1) that Audi are now promoting an honest zero-carbon way of making liquid fuels. About 2 years ago when I heard them talking about this, they were calling it “climate neutral” but were I think sourcing the CO2 from a fossil-fuel-burning power station, which in my view meant it couldn’t at all be called zero-carbon. So well done Audi for having integrity and having a go at air-fuel synthesis. Yes, of course it requires lots of energy to inefficiently make liquid fuel [in fact your calculations indicate a remarkably high efficiency!], but this is exactly the sort of option that is required on the table if one seriously wants genuine climate change action, not just fake green fluff.
Comments will be strictly moderated. And we’re not interested in sentiment but science.