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How to accelerate the global energy transition
- Jan 30, 2023 2:10 pm GMT
I got the idea a few days ago when I read the article by RWE CEO Markus Krebber, in which I found an interesting sentence: "The sun is one of the strongest energy sources available to us" After I then found out in the course of reading which project it was, I looked at all the sites planned for this project in the Global Solar Atlas and thought to myself, OK. it's up to RWE, after all, how this company handles shareholders' money.
Since I recently learned of a tweet from Elon Musk's entourage about the impending shortage of copper production, this thought ran through my mind for several days. With that in mind, I looked at several sources and reports where I could read up on what the problem really is. In summary, it can be seen like this: Without sufficient quantities of copper, a rapid energy transition will not be possible. Demand already exceeds supply, which is why prices for this metal are rising rapidly.
Copper is known to be an excellent conductor of electricity, and since the entire decarbonization will be based on electricity, ways and means must be found to produce this metal in larger quantities.
The tweet mentioned at the beginning of this article suggested installing more renewable energy and then using the electricity generated to strengthen copper mines as well as recovery facilities. These proposals would lead to the snake biting its own tail, because that would again gobble up enormous quantities of this metal, which could then lead to a price explosion.
My idea is quite different: to make power generation as efficient as possible without this metal in order to flood the copper mines with electricity. It sounds a little crazy at first glance, but it's possible. The Atacama Desert in Chile has the best solar radiation in the world, and it's also where most of the copper mines are located that still get their energy from burning coal. However, if highly efficient solar power plants were installed there, concentrating solar radiation by a factor of 1000 and generating heat at the same time, the energy supply for copper production there could change in the blink of an eye, because solar energy is abundant in this area.
I have prepared a presentation on this that anyone can view. https://sway.office.com/kFNIJh69GR4K1vkP
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