Industrial Revolutions

Everything about our current affluent comfortable lifestyle has been derived from the industrial revolution.

We live like kings and travel like angels.

Our meals our sourced from far corners of the globe. We travel at speeds that were unimaginable only a few short decades ago when the horse was the fastest means of transport.

We will not dwell in the various causes of “The Industrial Revolution” but everyone agrees that its growth, magnitude and pervasiveness is principally due to coal. So maybe it is more correct to say that it has been the ‘Fossil Fuel’ revolution. Energy and the English Industrial Revolution

As the old adage goes “The stone age did not come to an end due to a shortage of stones”. So it is also hoped that we will progress from fossil fuel before we exhaust fossil fuel.

It is important that we build are renewable energy infrastructure before we phase out Fossil Fuel. It is significant that there are not any 'breeder' solar panel factories, a solar panel factory powered by solar panels currently isn't feasible, not even in Australia.

But it is progression not regression that we seek.

In the 1760s that Watt began developing a vastly improved steam engine. As the eighteenth century closed, engineers stopped pouring their energies into windmills, and they turned to steam. James Watt was the Quixote who really slew the windmill.

The subsistence (often slave supported) cultures of past civilizations would put most climate strikers into an immediate grave. If we had listened to Luddites we would still be living in hovels wondering if we have enough food for the winter.

We have a window of opportunity to develop improvements on a fossil fueled society while still able to use fossil fuels.

The windfarms, solarfarms, pumped storage reservoirs etc can only be created and installed by virtue of cheap convenient energy from coal and oil.

The problem is that coal (and we assume oil) is effectively a harvest of concentrated solar energy accrued over vast lengths of time. Whereas solar power is a real time collection of solar energy, wind represents several days of solar energy and hydro could be described as seasonal accumulations. Most Biomass represents the accumulation of energy through spring and summer.

Wood biomass however may represent 25 years of solar energy accumulation so thus has a greater similarity to coal as regards to energy feasibility.

Usable biomass energy accumulation from the sun is approximately equivalent to 1J per square meter per second 24/7/365

(10KW per hectare)

Thus 1 hectare of NZ radiata pine harvested at 25years should contain 0.007884PJ (7884GJ)

Thus an annual harvest of 120,000hectares of 25 year old pines would contain New Zealand’s current annual energy consumption.

So a national energy forest of 3.12 million hectares could support this harvest rotation, 12% of New Zealand’s land area.

Auckland Electric busses would need a forest of 3300Hectares?

From an economic point of view harvesting land once every 25 years is far preferable to maintaining solar panels for 25 years.