TIR Lëtzebuerg 2016: the Rifkin report (part 5)


Part 1: ..ENERGY (1/2)
Part 2. ..ENERGY (2/2)
Part 3: ..MOBILITY
Part 5:  ..FOOD
Part 6:  ..INDUSTRY
Part 7:  ..FINANCE
Part 12: My conclusion


The chapter (pages 150 -200) dedicated on FOOD and farming can be resumed like this:

Luxembourg farmers should get their income by installing large solar farms (surface about 129 km2 !!!) and many big 5 MW  wind-turbines (319 turbines), and preferentially grow – for the plastics industry. Ancillary they should/could do some organic farming. The question if Luxembourg’s farmer should be able to nourish at least a part of the population seems not relevant!

5.1. Questionable statistics and reports

As embedded energy is directly proportional to GHG emissions in traditional farming, the report gives this astonishing figure:

energy_food_basketHow curious that pre-prepared meals (which contain usually meat) do have a very low percentage of embedded energy, much lower than that of most of their constituents?

Another telling picture is given by comparing the two reports on wind potential made by Stanford/UC Berkeley and Fraunhofer Institut: the first assumes for on-shore Luxembourg wind-turbines in 2050 a capacity factor of 43%, the second (for 2020) one nearly only half of 23%. The real historic data for Luxembourg give a maximum of approx. 18%, and in most countries the capacity factors for on-shore wind-turbines have not increased remarkably. For instance in Denmark, the country with an exceptional good wind landscape and the highest percentage in wind generated electricity, the capacity factor for onshore turbines is practically constant at 23% since 1995 (link). This fact makes the remark on CF’s of 40 to 50% at page at page 170  exceptionally silly!
Conclusion: do not copy research reports without fact checking, do not rely on flashy reports when the differences in their outcome is 100%.

3.2. Microwave plasma ovens to destroy organic refuse

A plasma oven can be used to destroy particular nasty and toxic material, and this is currently done, but remains expensive. The report suggests a variant to destroy organic refuse. A variant is the microwave generated plasma, also not a new technique (see paper by Argonne National Laboratory from 1995 here).

I do not know how close to commercial application this technology is today, but it is not impossible that it will be a standard gasification technique in 2050.

5.3. E-tractors and machinery

It would have been astonishing if the dada of e-mobility would not have been included in farming machinery. The problem is the same as that for transporting goods: batteries are too heavy to be used for big machinery (and when the report writes at page 181 that batteries could represent a useful ballast, I winch: tractors may need sometimes a ballast, but normally they do not!). Using a thermal bio-gas motor to power an on-board electrical generator which delivers current to the other elements of the machinery could be a valid process (comparable to the diesel-electric rail locomotives).

5.4. Urban agriculture.

It is a bit astonishing that this sexy concept is only rather briefly mentioned, but not discussed extensively as other fashions-of-the-day are. In my opinion, urban agriculture in well controlled closed halls with variable and optimized LED lighting could at last produce a major part of the vegetables needed. This activity also is heavily dependent on computer controlled management, so as said above, I really miss a breathtaking chapter on this technology.

5.5. Forests and woods.

This is a very short sub-chapter, containing a gem like “climate disruption is already happening”: writing such a statement without giving concrete examples is utterly non-sense, and in my opinion again diminishes the seriousness of the FIR paper.


(end of part 5)

3 Responses to “TIR Lëtzebuerg 2016: the Rifkin report (part 5)”

  1. TIR Lëtzebuerg 2016: the Rifkin report (part 6) | meteoLCD Weblog Says:

    […] A weblog on climate, global change and climate measurements « TIR Lëtzebuerg 2016: the Rifkin report (part 5) […]

  2. TIR Lëtzebuerg 2016: the Rifkin report (part 7) | meteoLCD Weblog Says:

    […] back to part 6, part 5, part 4, part 3,  part 2, part […]

  3. TIR Lëtzebuerg 2016: the Rifkin report (part 8) | meteoLCD Weblog Says:

    […] back to part 7, part 6, part 5, part 4, part 3,  part 2, part […]

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