Hokum And Progressive “Engineering”

ThunderF00t has posted some videos about the “Waterseer,” a device that purports to provide drinking water in arid regions. Actually it’s just more of the typical “Green Tech” Hokum where the goal is to separate fools from their money and waste time and energy on fundamentally flawed ideas.

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There Is No Idea So Bad That It Will Not Attract Avid Believers


This time it’s solar roadways. Like just about any hokum that you stick “solar” or “green” in front of the  whatever and people just line up to hand out the cash.  I’ve seen this for forty years now, since I was fifteen and I’ve never understood it.  I suppose it’s the idea that you get something for “free.” The problem, as I figured out very quickly with a quick little bit of math after my dad and I went to an early green house show back in the 1970’s the costs of a typical solar installation are not covered by the electricity generated.

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Green Tech Hokum

Stories like this get to me. Here is yet another much ballyhooed “technology” that supposedly extracts CO2 from the air and turns it into other stuff. Even a cursory glance at the website  and you can see that’s it’s all fluff and no substance.


Looking at the details, if you know what to look for, you see stuff missing.  If these people were really making pellets from the air, as they claim, there should be a lot more hardware.  It’s telling that the company’s website does not include a process diagram.


I mean, to make the quantities of plastic pellets we see in the videos, the amount of air flow required require something much bigger than that little dryer tube.  As Thunderf00t says, you are going to need a LOT of air. Remember that CO2 is at best .04% of the atmosphere that you are pumping through your process.  So to get any measurable amount of C02 you are going to need to pump a LOT of air.

Which means big things like this, though this one is pretty small.

Doing large scale gas compression requires big machines.  I know exactly how large because I used to work on them. Here are some examples.

Types of Gas Compressors


I’m reminded of this.  Back in the early 1990’s Molten Metal Technology involved Al Gore and my cousin’s in laws and a bunch of  very foolish people from MIT. They were very smart people, absolutely  enthralled with the potential of melting toxics into molten steel.  The fact that to anybody who knew anything about steelmaking this was purely ridiculous escaped them.  .

Steel making  is by and large making a huge effort to remove and control impurities, not dumping them into the furnace.  It took me ten seconds of hearing about what was involved to figure out that it was more than likely a scam.  Time and bunch of lost money proved me right.

So when you see stuff that looks too good to be true, it probably is. Right now removing CO2 from the atmosphere to “solve” the global warming crisis that is not happening seems to be the way that the technical scammers are working with crooked government to find ways to extract money from your pocket.


I suppose that the problem is that to most people technology is all magic and they can’t  tell what’s real and what’s not.  Frankly, it’s not easy to separate the Carbon and Oxygen in CO2.  It take a lot of energy to separate CO2 because the molecule  has two double bonds.  So in order to get the CO2 out of the atmosphere in the first place take a lot of energy, getting the carbon separated from the oxygen take energy and making monomers takes yet more energy.  Which will do wonders for cooling the planet. Of course as they say you could use noncarbon sources of energy. Those sources though are already on the back side of the efficiency and capacity curves and trying to use them is already creating energy poverty issues.  In the end, the best way to Carbon is to plant trees.


How A Smear Grows


The Nation has yet another attack on Exxon for “environmental crimes” due to the appearance of that fifty odd year old Humble Oil report. I’ve posted about this before. Here’s the Nation’s post.


On April 13, ExxonMobil filed suit to block a subpoena issued by the attorney general of the US Virgin Islands. Following revelations from the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News, the subpoena charged that the company may have violated the territory’s anti-racketeering law. It questioned whether Exxon told investors, including the territory’s pension fund, one thing about climate change (that it wasn’t a danger) while its own scientists were privately telling its management the opposite….

What’s more, by enabling increased global warming, Exxon’s alleged lying has damaged many people around the world. Crucially, the victims include investors and business owners. The poor suffer first and worst from climate change, but they rarely file—much less win—lawsuits against polluters. But when people of means are damaged, they don’t hesitate to sue for compensation…

Exxon’s exposure on this front is immense. If the allegations are true, the oil giant has in effect transferred massive amounts of risk and loss onto the rest of the market and virtually every business enterprise in it. By confusing the debate, Exxon helped delay government action against climate change. The company made buckets of money, but the resulting higher temperatures and extreme weather events have cost investors, governments, businesses, and ordinary people many billions, with much larger costs ahead. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has warned that as climate change intensifies, “parties who have suffered loss or damage [may] seek compensation from those they hold responsible….”

Nor is the right’s cheerleading without its complications for Exxon. The right conflates the First Amendment argument with its cuckoo belief that climate change is a hoax, but Exxon has a different goal: to protect its public image. Exxon needs to be perceived as a good corporate citizen, and in 2016 a good corporate citizen doesn’t deny climate change.


Note that last sentence.  “in 2016 a good corporate citizen doesn’t deny climate change.  As an engineer who’s worked on scientific instruments and somebody who’s been around science at all sort of level for a long time this is appalling on a bunch of levels. First, who are the Nation to decide what a good citizen is, corporate or otherwise.  Second, in a free society, it isn’t the citizen’s role to affirm or deny anything.  It’s the government that’s required to make it’s case.  Which you don’t do with nuisance lawsuits and legal extortion threats.  Third, when presenting science you need to base what you say based on what you know, not what you believe.

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