Beyond Oil

The Energy Movie You Need to See

So, you want to see us move beyond oil. You dream of electric cars whooshing quietly down the road, with no tailpipe to foul the local air. Alas, the question lingers in the back of the mind: “Where are you going to get the electricity to power your beautiful Tesla sedan?” In many parts of the country, the answer is coal.

Coal is not exactly the clean fuel of the future!

Solar might work in the sunnier parts of this country and the world. The technology is getting better. Some companies are producing solar panels that convert 40-50% of the incoming light into electricity!

At least solar is great if you charge your electric car while the sun is shining. If you charge your car at night, then you are using batteries to charge batteries a rather expensive and inefficient arrangement. Or you are back to running your car on coal.

So, until utility scale batteries are cheap and efficient, we need something other than solar, even where sunlight is plentiful, if we are to replace oil with solar energy. And we also need a carbon free energy source for the cold and dark parts of the planet we wish to truly STOP global warming.

The movie below may hold the solution:


Yes, this movie is about a form of nuclear energy (Ew!). But it appears to be a cleaner form of nuclear energy. No plutonium to store for hundreds of thousands of years. It may even be safer. The scientists at Oak Ridge turned off their experimental reactor on the weekends! Too bad they cannot simply turn off the damaged reactors at Fukushima.

Then again, maybe even thorium based nuclear reactors are unsuitable for the more barbarous and/or unstable regions of the planet. Fortunately, most of those regions have plenty of sunlight. And for those sunny regions which cannot afford solar energy, it might behoove us to subsidize exports of solar panels to said regions. Subsidized solar exports are a powerful tool to fight international terrorism. Tell your defense-minded Republican friends.