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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

BLUE REVOLUTION FOR GERMANY

A couple of months ago, my Huffington Post article on


galvanized various discussions on how best to proceed, and was clarified at a seminar held on the University of Hawaii campus for the Tokyo University of Science.  This August event was followed by a major September workshop at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, organized as a partnership between Okinawa and Hawaii, to work together on developing ocean thermal energy technology (OTEC), the renewable energy power source for the Blue Revolution.  That photo above is of Aquapolis, the showcase exhibit designed by Kiyonori Kikutake for the 1975 Okinawa Ocean Expo.  Nothing close to this ocean grazing prototype (save for those moored oil drilling platforms, and the BP disaster in the Gulf Mexico is a good example) has since been built for more than a third of a century.

I was thus inspired to also analyze the future of Germany, which is arguably, with China, one of the two most successful economies today. Yet, Germany might already be experiencing a decline, and is in particular long-term jeopardy because of energy. Chancellor Angela Merkel (yes, that's her to the left) announced earlier this summer that the country will terminate nuclear power production in a decade. Compared to the U.S. at 20 percent, nukes provide 30 percent of the electricity in that country. But, like Japan, they only have a meager renewable energy potential. Their winds are so-so, sunlight below average and biomass hardly worthy. What can they do?




Let's first look at our global energy consumption (refer to right column), where fossil fuels account for 82%, nuclear 5% and renewables 13%. However, only 0.7 percent come from solar, wind and geothermal. How fast do you think we will be able to increase that 0.7 percent? Many decades for sure. Does this worry you a bit more about global warming, now that conventional nuclear power plants are off the table?

Germany's energy use is very close to the above. Any utility, incidentally, dreads the thought of feeding any more than 15 percent of intermittent renewable electricity to their grid. From where will, then, come the 85% baseload? Well, 26 new coal powerplants (above right is one now operating--note the stack gasses) are in various stages of construction. Think Germany will meet its future carbon emission goals? Big deal, as neither the USA, nor China and India, appears to care. But electricity is the easy part, only representing about a third of energy usage.



The big difficulty will be in transportation fuels. Peak Oil is coming and, while Germany, more specifically, the regime of Hitler during the second world war, was creative about producing synthetic liquid fuels from coal, first there is not enough renewable biomass to satisfy this pathway for the country, and, worse, the production cost will remain very high, with a profit-selling range of $136/barrel to $168/barrel for a long time to come. Aviation fuel is yet another concern that has not yet been seriously considered.

So is Germany screwed? Nope. There is the open ocean free for the utilization: industrial grazing platforms harvesting the riches of the sea, and, even, someday, floating cities. The following is the European VISIONS effort for the maritime industry:

I have provided several lectures throughout Europe on "Colonization of the Open Ocean." When the world was carved up by sea explorers in the past, the sociological traumas became tragedies. The Blue Revolution promises a range of renewable energy products, green materials and exciting new habitats, developing the ocean in harmony with the marine environment. And, again, you don't need to pay for the space, it is free for the utilization. While the high seas will draw a new cast of preservationists, there are no pirates, and there will be no conquering nation syndrome. Interestingly enough, maritime leaders from Germany showed the most interest in the Blue Revolution when I gave my talks.




German shipyards have been in a funk since World War II, has recently floundered, but shows huge potential. The opportunity to build grazing plantships can provide a new future for that industry, leading the way to harvesting the riches of the seas, bringing back home biofuels, hydrogen, maricultured seafood and more, instead of spices, gold and tobacco returned by the Spanish, Portuguese and English.

Yes, there will be detractors, but there is every reason to believe that our oceans can become the next frontier for sustainable resources. Let us, though, be wiser this time and plan with the assistance of progressive environmental organizations and financing partners.


Japan has made an initial move with Shimizu's Green Float City in the Sky above (note that the tallest building in the world today is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, but this ocean tower is projected to be 500 feet taller--as another aside, the USA has only one building in the top ten, #8, the former Sears Tower in Chicago), but Germany can also take on a leadership role for the European Community. I will go so far as to say that this marine pathway is Germany's best, and maybe, only, hope for a progressive future. The organizers of the Pacific International Ocean Station welcome the participation of Europe in our effort to develop a more promising economic opportunity than the soon to be abandoned International Space Station.


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The Dow Jones Industrials looked good for most of the day, up 150, then precipitously declined over the final hour, still ending +8 to 11,409, with the higher volume occurring towards the end, not a good sign for tomorrow. World markets, though, mostly increased. Gold jumped $22/toz to $1805, with WTI oil at $87/barrel (Brent $110/barrel).
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Typhoon Roke, at 150MPH, is now a Category 4 storm. In anticipation, a million people could be evacuated. However, Roke (no Japanese meaning, just the name of a Chamorro man from Guam) will weaken before making landfall between Shizuoka and Yokohama, then swiftly move over Tokyo and Fukushima. All projections show the eye directly over Fukushima on Wednesday night. By then the winds will drop way below hurricane force. There will be, however, a whole lot of rain.


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