Windmills and Economics


The Dilbert Blog – September 12, 2007

So now Dilbert is getting into the global warming discussion! Actually, Scott Adams, the creative force behind Dilbert has commented on global warming before on his blog as well as mentioning it in the famous strip.

His blog entry on this subject actually makes a lot of sense though and I commend him on writing this. I found the entry because he comments on the “burning saltwater” story that I also commented on. His point is that it will take energy to create hydrogen from saltwater and that energy may be created by windmills. While he doesn’t go into details as to the economics of this effort, it at least deserves thought.

In my opinion, the problem is that windmills cannot generate enough energy in a small enough place to be competitive. We will likely need another source of energy to separate the hydrogen.  Maybe nuclear?

Now all we need is a desert where it gets windy at night, so we can put a windmill on top of a stirling engine and share infrastructure.

The two criticisms I am hearing in the comments to this post are:

1. Windmills and Stirling engines aren’t the big answer because you’d need to store their energy for the times when they don’t produce.

2. Burning seawater by exposing it to radio waves is nothing but a potentially more efficient way to use electricity to create hydrogen.

Hydrogen can be stored. Problem in #1 is solved.

It is always enjoyable to read Scott Adams. Click through to read the rest of his entry and while you are at it, read a few more of his posts.

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