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How to accelerate the global energy transition

Rich Dzikowski's picture

DESERT SOLAR UG develops innovative and efficient CPV systems especially for desert areas, which offer price and technological advantages over conventional PV. 

  • Member since 2019
  • 11 items added with 7,457 views
  • Jan 30, 2023

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.


Tom Rolfson's picture
Tom Rolfson on Jan 30, 2023

Fascinating to learn about this- the energy supply chain has a lot of moving parts, and this is an example of one of them (I guess technically the copper isn't what's moving...) that will need optimized production if we really want to get where we're going. 

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Feb 1, 2023

The best way we could speed the transition to renewable energy would be to stop subsidizing COAL and OIL and Nuclear. We need the costs to rise to their real levels.

    Elon has said it would take a 100 mile square of Solar to run the entire US. Then only 1 square mile of batteries for storage. He didn't even include all the WEind power we have and the hydro which is 24 /7 . He also din't talk about his virtual battery he formed from thousands of Home Solar Power Wall batteries. We also have V2G Vehicle to GRID in some new Electric Vehicles with more coming. 

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Feb 6, 2023

I would like to hear more about what you do in DESERTSOLAR... If you don't mind, please inbox me on my email - we do solar concentrators - and have a method to get water in the desert - and would like to discuss what we could maybe do together. We are a startup, very early in this - but have done some patenting - and are very well on our way... 

David Svarrer

Rich Dzikowski's picture
Thank Rich for the Post!
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