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XKCD inspired energy consumption visualization

This was a great illustration (thanks XKCD) / graphic to put radiation doses in perspective.

Here’s a couple of experiments in doing something similar for energy:
xkcd-energy-1pc-blocks

and
xkcd-energy-100W-blocks

[...]

Speaking at Green:Net 2011 – slides.

GreenNetTitle

Spoke this morning at the Green:net conference (GigaOm) in San Francisco.  Experimented with some new visuals on how to present the comprehensive view of energy consumption for an individual and data on city (San Francisco) energy use.  Tried to give a different talk about what Energy Literacy would actually mean for various people.

http://event.gigaom.com/greennet/schedule/

Slides are here (thanks slideshare):

Green net-2011-show

View more presentations from energyliteracy.

[...]

nationmaster.com energy database

http://www.nationmaster.com/cat/ene-energy

This site seems to have good statistics, good basic graphing functionality, and listed sources, quite comprehensive.

I was surprised that China produced almost 1/2 of the world’s coal in 2005:

http://www.nationmaster.com/red/pie-T/ene_coa_pro-energy-coal-production

[...]

United Nations Energy Statistics Database

The Energy Statistics Database contains comprehensive energy statistics on the production, trade, conversion and final consumption of primary and secondary; conventional and non-conventional; and new and renewable sources of energy. The Energy Statistics dataset, covering the period from 1990 on, is available at UNdata. For data prior to 1990, please refer to http://unstats.un.org/unsd/energy/edbase.htm.

[...]

Green But Still Feeling Guilty – from the NYT

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/garden/30guilt.html?pagewanted=4&_r=1&hp

I used cloth (with diaper service) for 6 months with my kid.  We switched to compostable.  Diaper’s are still a tough question…

[...]

Presentation from Global Gridwise Forum.

tomorrowGRIDwise

This is the link to the presentation at the Global Gridwise Forum in Washington DC, 9/23/2010  -  GRIDwise.pdf

I was asked to discuss where we need to go in terms of a real smart grid by 2030 to hit the types of energy security and environmental goals one could imagine wanting to hit.

[...]

Investing in an empire of illusion (from getrealist.com)

Someone pointed me at this end of year article at get realist.  Quite sobering.  The general conclusion is that government, or cap-and-trade, or international agreements are not on track to succeed in the face of climate change, and that individuals need to take more personal responsibility in making change.  I agree.  As a friend of mine said “we are all trying to learn how to live the life we need everyone else to live”.  We need many innovations, some technical, most social.  We need to expand the people working on solving these problems to a group that includes everyone.  Every small business owner, every individual.

http://www.getreallist.com/investing-in-an-empire-of-illusion.html

[...]

Heirloom Design (from Good Magazine)

lego-diagram-2

Good magazine asked me to write something about Heirloom Products.  I must have said the words too many times publicly.  If you want to read the article at a fancy website with nice pictures and good design layout go here:

http://www.good.is/post/built-to-last/

Or, here are the words:

As an inventor, Saul Griffith has spent a lot of time thinking about how to make useful things. Griffith developed innovative designs for low-cost prescription glasses and energy-producing kites, founded the DIY website Instructables, and created a comprehensive carbon calculator called WattzOn. He was also awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2007. Recently, onstage at high-profile conferences such as TED and PopTech, Griffith has been arguing that we need to stop buying things and then throwing them away so quickly. In short, we need more “heirloom design.”

GOOD: What do you mean by “heirloom design?”

SAUL GRIFFITH: An object with “heirloom design” is something that will not only last [...]

Design Predictions for 2010 (from Inhabitat)

Inhabitat asked me to give my design predictions for 2010.

Here’s the link:

http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/01/04/green-design-predictions-for-2010/3/

Here’s my words, and yes, I was fairly depressed by Copenhagen result, and it might have tainted my writings:

Green Design 2010:

Given that no binding agreement was reached in Copenhagen, there will likely be no national or international pressure to do real green-house reductions, and hence it is very likely that 2010 green design will be an undertaking of those trying to greenwash their companies. Very likely we’ll see many people misusuing terminology and physical units to overmarket products that aren’t really going to cut the mustard. Remember that a climate friendly world means a reduction in carbon of 80%, that means 5 X less carbon that we produce today, by 2050 or probably even earlier. Given that, we’ll see lots of designs begging you to buy this or that thing because it’s twice as good, or 25% better than [...]

Peak Cars?

Peak Cars, or Just a Car Sales Trough? New vehicles vs. scrappage 1991-2009 http://bit.ly/6YKD79

Although with BYD and TATA doing their thing, this is probably only a local, (US) effect.

[...]

Social Barriers to reducing embodied energy consumption

This Onion article wonderfully represents the sociological challenge to an heirloom product culture where we make things that last longer, such that we don’t use the extra energy every time we re-make them (or their replacements).

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/new_device_desirable_old_device

[...]

Bicycles. Like comfort food in the time of accords.

While some people claim victory in Copenhagen with an “accord” (as far as i can tell an agreement to agree about something we might agree upon at some time in the future) I’m pretty saddened by the Copenhagen result.  At times like these I turn to comfort foods.  In this case a beautiful photo series on a chinese bicycle factory.  Bicycles are still the highest technology in low emission vehicles.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cargocycling/911579868/in/set-72157601030739985/

[...]

Lovely solar mapping project at NREL.

http://openpv.nrel.gov/

They are seeking more data on PV solar installations for this map.  It’s fascinating to see the progression over time of installations, and I was startled at just how active California is compared to the rest of the nation.

578.5 MW to date !  only another 500GW to do !

State
Installed Capacity (MW)

CA
422.828

NJ
62.43

CO
17.363

CT
14.904

AZ
8.252

MA
7.502

MD
1.229

NM
0.753

HI
0.324

MN
0.274

MO
0.003

[...]

Making art of renewable energy.

tezuka_turbine_3

I love this, and couldn’t resist posting it.  The future could be beautiful.

http://www.pinktentacle.com/2009/10/tezuka-wind-turbine/

[...]

Open letter to Dr Levitt (super-freakonomics)

This is really quite lovely.  Congratulations to Raymond T. Pierrehumbert for using reason, good logic, and real numbers to refute some of the insanity around regarding climate issues.  A lovely example of numbers in defense of sanity.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/an-open-letter-to-steve-levitt/

I think the solar power area numbers he uses might be a little optimistic, but only by a factor of 2 or so, and not that it would drastically change the conclusion of the article.

[...]

Give us this day our daily energy.

backpacker2

We fill our cars with gas regularly, but don’t even see the liquid go into the tank.  If we were to imagine that we had to fill a backpack with the fuels required for a day of our lives, what would we be filling our energy back-pack with each day?

Each day the average american sets out with:

OIL = 10.81    L/Person/day
COAL = 9.54    kg/person/day
NATURAL GAS = 5.88    m^3/person/day

Which roughly converted to those other units is around 22 Pints of oil per day (one per hour!), 22 pounds of coal (another per hour) and 180 cubic feet of natural gas.

I used the annual consumption of coal and natural gas, and the daily consumption of oil, and converted it to the daily average by dividing it out by the population of the US.

The data is here: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tEXpAv8VzEvgO5lNqze0JNw&output=html

[...]

Obama, at MIT, on Energy.

The president’s speech:

http://amps-web.mit.edu/public/amps/webcast/2009/obama-2009oct23/ondemand.html

And even better, my friend Alex Slocum’s post visit interview:

http://cleanskies.com/videos/mit-demonstrates-offshore-renewable-energy-systems

[...]

Choosing fun and beauty over high energy. Motivating positive behavioural change.

I like the general concept of motivating behavioural changes for the low energy option by using fun, beauty, or good design.  The larger message here is that personal changes for climate change really need to be better, either more beautiful, more fun, or more healthy, than the other choices.

[...]

My view on zero-point energy.

aliencartoon002

This cartoon pretty much sums it up.  Let’s plan on the stuff we know works, and invest in the research we know might lead somewhere.  Not hold out for alien finger’s crossed we don’t understand it technology.

[...]

Question from Steve Kirsch – Nuclear power plants.

capacity_factor,_us_nuclear_power_generation_fleet

“you want 3 TW of new nuclear.

that’s a 2.3GW plant every week for 25 years…
you have 1X 3GW plant a week for 25 years which would overshoot your goal.
am i missing something?”

First, and to be clear, I don’t “want” 3TW.  In doing the numbers on what would be required to stay under 450ppm of CO2 it looks like you need to create 11.5-12TW of clean power as well as keeping demand at current levels (16TW).  I tried to agnostically apportion that 11.5 TW across known working technologies, solar PV, solar thermal, wind, geothermal, nuclear, and biofuels.  It’s a thought experiment, and I would be happy with any solution for climate change, hence more or less of any one of these is fine with me as long as it all adds up.  And yes, 450 isn’t necessarily a ‘safe’ target, so I’d be happy for that to be lower, [...]

Contemplating my daily shower, during my daily shower.

shower

I love a hot shower in the morning. While it’s not a human right just yet, occasionally it feels like one.  So how much energy does it take to have a hot shower?

The simple version looks like this:

First we establish the conversion units…

liters_in_gallon=3.78541178

H2O_heat_capacity=4.18   (J/g/K)

seconds_in_day = 60*60*24

density_water = 1 (g/cm^3)

Now assume 2 gallons per minute of shower from my low flow shower head and assume 5 minute hot showers at 40 degrees celsius (about 100F).

showers_per_day =1

gallons_per_minute =2

minutes_per_shower =5

liters_per_shower = liters_in_gallon * gallons_per_minute * minutes_per_shower

grams_per_shower = liters_per_shower * 1000 * density_water

shower_Temperature=40

ambient_Temperature=8

shower_heat_Joules=showers_per_day *(grams_per_shower * H2O_heat_capacity *(shower_Temperature-ambient_Temperature))

daily_shower_Watts = shower_heat_Joules/seconds_in_day

shower_heat_Joules = 5063400
daily_shower_Watts = 58.6038
Which is of course just the energy or power that my water heater consumes.  The above estimate is probably low because I assumed 100% efficient water heater, and no losses in the piping.  One might call each of those 10% losses (or 90% efficiencies) which would make it around 70 watts.  If [...]

The measurements of energy and power.

Energy is measured in Joules (J)
Power is measured in Watts (W).
1 Watt = 1 Joule / second

If you would like to quantitatively understand the relationship between your lifestyle, global energy use, and climate change, you need to establish the language with which you can translate between these things.
There are many different ways we use energy, many different ways we produce energy, and many different consequences environmentally.
Power and energy are being measured around us all of the time. You get your electricity bill in kilowatt hours (kWh), your gas bill in Therms or British Thermal Units (BTUs), your car’s performance is measured in horsepower, and your lightbulbs are rated in watts. To compare these things you need a common set of units.
The first problem with comparing these things is that some of them (BTUs and kWh) are measures of energy consumed, and some of them (horsepower and watts) are measures of [...]

Primer: energy and power.

If you would like to quantitatively understand the relationship between your lifestyle, global energy use, and climate change, you need to establish the language with which you can translate between these things.
There are many different ways we use energy, many different ways we produce energy, and many different consequences environmentally.
Power and energy are being measured around us all of the time. You get your electricity bill in kilowatt hours (kWh), your gas bill in Therms or British Thermal Units (BTUs), your car’s performance is measured in horsepower, and your lightbulbs are rated in watts. To compare these things you need a common set of units.
The first problem with comparing these things is that some of them (BTUs and kWh) are measures of energy consumed, and some of them (horsepower and watts) are measures of power. To understand the rest of this book, you need an intuition for the difference between [...]

7 steps to understanding climate change and you.

1. Your energy consumption is a result of your lifestyle choices.

2. Global energy consumption is the result of everyone’s choices.

3. Energy can be generated from many sources.

4. Different energy sources have different environmental effects.

5. We are collectively choosing the global climate by choosing how we generate this energy.

6. Our climate choice (PPM) determines how much carbon dioxide we can emit using fossil fuels.

7. Producing enough energy for humanity while solving the climate problem is an enormous engineering challenge, but within the limits of what we can do today.

[...]

Transcript and unanswered questions from O’Reilly Media Energy Literacy Webcast.

I’ve cut and pasted in the chat room chat below from today’s webcast.  Blue is who.  Black is what they asked/said.  Red is answers and pointers from me.

from O’Reilly Media to All Participants:
Hi Everyone, thanks for joining us today. We’ll begin at 10 am PT. There will be silence or faint music until then.
from O’Reilly Media to All Participants:
Hi Everyone—thanks for joining us today. The presentation will begin at 10 am PT. There will be silence or faint music until then.
from Pat Walsh to All Participants:
for the streaming audio: should I be hearing background music of any sort or any other noise at this time?  or is silence correct at this point?
from O’Reilly Media to All Participants:

If you’re a twitter user, we’re using the hashtag #energyliteracy for this webcast
from Pat Walsh to All Participants:
thank you
from Raju Varghese to All Participants:
I can hear faint music. When I increase the volume the [...]

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