090 GGP 0113

GGP JAN 2013

REFLECTOR How very little, since things were made, until the solar system comes to an end. energy requirements for the whole world can be Things have altered in building trade. Npower which enjoys the distinction of plucked from a 400km x 400km patch of the supplying electricity to my office, circulated an northern Sahara Desert although, in reality, the Your glazing is new and your plumbing's information sheet in early December 2012, plan is for a large number of solar collection strange, stating that its fuel sources from 1 April 2011-31 sites in desert locations around the planet. But otherwise I perceive no change. March 2012 were : Unfortunately Siemens and Bosch announced its departures from the DESERTEC consortium in Kipling's observations were accurate. In reality Natural gas 55% 2012 but it has to be said that both firms are the technology of construction did not advance Coal 29% from an earlier time and many are willing to very much between the Romans’ departure from Renewables 12% replace them. Britain in 410AD and the first steel window Nuclear 2% Solar systems are not ‘pie in the sky’ frames introduced by Crittal in the 1800s. Other 2% technology. In mid December 2012, town Glass had gradually become more affordable, planners at Eastleigh, near Southampton, so was increasingly used but in some people’s Most people now accept that 84% of these approved a proposal from Solar Century estimation, steel frames were a retrograde fuels, i.e. gas and coal, are simply too valuable to Holdings (which has already handled eight UK step and some still think so. Then, in the burn and that current natural gas reserves will be solar park contracts) to develop a solar park on period between 1940 and 1960, we underwent a used up by 2060. The 2% nuclear input is plain 40 acres, representing about 402m x 402m of quiet revolution in thinking and by the early dangerous. The list of fuel sources for electricity land area, at Chalcroft Farm, comprising 26,000 1970s, had begun to associate fuel use with production should look more like this: PV panels that will produce 6.3MW per year. This is sufficient to supply electricity to 1,800 (about 3%) of Southampton's 60,000 homes. Extrapolating those figures, if another 33 plots of 402m x 402m were allocated in the countryside around the city, that would crack it. Once up and running, there will be no fossil fuels consumed, or carbon emitted. The irony of Southampton’s Fawley Refinery becoming powered by solar energy should bring a grim smile or two. A possible fly in the ointment is that the new technology will require the use of various kinds of Unobtanium. The PV panels currently developed, mostly use a Cadmium Telluride film which need the minerals Tellurium (Te) of which only 800 metric tonnes is currently estimated to be available within the earth – and Cadmium (Cd), more readily available but highly toxic. There are The red squares are the actual (if geographically theoretical) land areas needed to collect sufficient other potential difficulties that the doomsday energy for: enthusiasts will delight in scaring us with but it a. the whole world. all really depends on whether scientists and b. for the 25 states of the EU. engineers see these issues as insoluble problems, c. just Germany. or interesting challenges. building technology. Renewables 99% The electronics industry has, in my Air bricks that had been built into the external Other 1% personal experience, gone from glowing leaves of cavity walls in the 1920s and 1930s glass valves to microscopic, solid state miracles were infilled, or replaced with solid ones and the What will constitute ‘other’ is anyone's guess; in little more than a human generation. wall cavities were filled with ‘shredded rock’ to for all we know, it could be the spirit they extract So, I am willing to wager that we'll be seeing insulate them. Double glazing, formerly used from alcohol free beer. perfectly good PV panels constructed from only in oddball situations by ‘mad’ people, There is going to be an awful lot of sunshine modified forms of silicon and aluminium, became normal. this year with more in 2014 and for another respectively the most abundant mineral and A brilliant economist called Ernst Freidrich 5 billion years. NASA points out that because of metal on the planet by the time these products Schumacher (1911-1977) was chief economic something called rectilinear prorogation (which reach their third generation. adviser to the UK National Coal Board between sounds rude but isn’t) our planet receives only Indeed, PV panels already use 1950-1970 and argued that coal, not petroleum, 0.01% of the radiation fired into space by the silicon. And who knows – fourth generation should be used to supply the energy needs of the sun. One hundredth of 1% is all we get. Even so, panels could be woven from carbon and world’s population. He viewed oil as a finite our planet's surface receives sufficient energy in airborne gases by 3D laser printers powered, of resource, fearing its depletion and eventually one day to meet all of the population's power course, by solar energy. prohibitive price and observed that ‘the richest needs for a whole year. As you know, the world didn't come to an end and cheapest reserves are located in some of the So, there's really no need to dig up, or drill on 20 December 2012, when the Mayan calendar world's most unstable countries’. into, the remains of the world's decomposed ran out of numbers. Or, more accurately, when Looking to the future, he wrote: ‘Any forests for oil, coal, or shale deposits. Compared one of its ‘long counts’ ended. A new one, intelligent fool can make things bigger, more with what the sun has to offer, these earthly 13.0.0.0, began on 21 December 2012 – that’s all complex and more violent. It takes a touch of resources represent less than a tiny bogey in the that happened, it was just hype and puff and genius and a lot of courage, to move in the sniffing department of a 100 tonne dinosaur. people making money out of it. opposite direction.’ You may have heard of the DESERTEC The next long count, 14.0.0.0, begins on 26 Schumacher’s ideas were appropriate for the Foundation and its Munich registered March 2407. And the world won’t end then postwar economic environment he found commercial arm, Dii GmbH, a consortium eager either. So here’s a New Year’s resolution that himself in. If he’d lived another 20 years, they to see that 100% of the world’s solar energy might do some good. As E.F. Schumacher might well have evolved beyond coal to needs are met by 2050, by harnessing the sun’s suggests, let’s try simpler and smaller and see ‘renewable’ resources that would not deplete energy. As an illustration it calculates that the what we can do to not change the world. 90 January 2013 Glass & Glazing Products


GGP JAN 2013
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