Too Much Energy Will Kill You LO24115

From: Folke Günther (
Date: 03/06/00

I was asked to add this discussion to the LO-list. Here it is:

> From: "S. M." <>
> I have read every article on as of Feb 28.
> I am STILL left with one 'simple' question:
> Leaving aside all the political/ideological/cultural barriers,
> just for purposes of discussion, I want to know:
> With all the international good will and pulling together, etc.
> possible, is
> it or is it not possible that alternative source currently in
> prototype or
> better form (nuclear, hydrogen/fuel cell, methanol, solar, etc.) could
> make
> up for most/all fossil deficit by the time petro-peak hits ? Or not ?

Moderator's Simple answer: NO. It's too late even if Mary Poppins were
running the planet. Global oil production is expected to "peak" in about
five years but it takes "many decades" to change patterns of energy use.

Actually, there is also a theorethical limit: Suppose all persons in the
worl will get at small black box with a wall socket in it. By that, they
will have an unlimited source for energy. Would all the problems be solved
then? No, actually, it is here when the REAL problems begin. Because,
what you really get out of the box is not energy, but exergy, i.e., energy
with a certain amount of quality. Energy is not possible to consume, nor
produce. (1:st law of thermodynamics). So, when you use energy, you
actually degrade its content of exergy (quality, capacity to do work).
When the energy is empty of exergy, you have to get rid of it, in order to
absorb new. Self-organising system (living systems, economic sytems and
the like) tend to change towards a state that consume a maximum amount of
exergy, (see
The 'empty' energy can only be eliminated by the water cycle

(see Murota, T. and A. Tsuchida, 1985. Fundamentals of the Entropy Theory
of the Water Cycle, Ecocycle, and Human Ecology Presented at the
Conference on man's Coevolution with the Biosphere in the Age of Advanced
Technologies, York Univ. Toronto, Canada, Jan 21-2 Murota, T., 1987
Environmental Economics of the Water Planet Earth. In: Pillet, G. and T.
Murota (eds.). Environmental Economics, The Analysis of a Major Interface)

That is, you must not only look at the energy SOURCE, you also have to
look at the energy SINK. And the sink is adapted to the amount of energy
received fron the sun. Even today, we have a net production of 'empty
energy' thet exceeds the export capacity of the planet by about 3% (my
calculation) With the 'black box with a wall socket', you will probably
exceed the export capacity largely. Such a state will mean that dSi >> dSe
in Prigogines formula, which will mean that the self-organising capacity
of the planet will decrease and go negative. This will mean that the
living system will slowly turn into a non-living.

So, too much energy will kill you.


Folke Günther +46 (0)46/ 14 14 29 el. +46 (0)46/222 36 98.
Kollegievägen 19, 224 73 Lund, Sweden

Life is what happens when you think nothing does

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