The fundamental mistakes in decarbonisation

Not a lot is basically wrong with our current energy system.
Internal combustion engines are pretty much optimised. Heating is
rather efficient and practical. The distribution systems of fuel and
methane are well established. Pretty much all appliances that can be meaningfully electrified are indeed already electrified.

There’s only one problem: the entire system runs on fossil fuels.
And we realise now that burning fossil fuels is bad for the climate. Moreover, in perspective,fossil fuel reserves won’t last forever.

So a solution had to be found, and in a hurry too. The basic idea is to replace fossil fuel with “renewables”. The idea is that “renewables” are clean, and as a bonus, they are also free.

This is a stupid idea. Let’s see why.

In contrast to fossil fuels, “renewables”, such as sun, wind and hydro, basically produce electricity. Consequently, it seems all appliances have to be electrified.

Unfortunately, electricity is not the best energy source for many appliances, especially when we need high working temperatures, mobility or high specific energy (kWh/kg), and compactness or high energy density (kWh/l).

To make things even worse, electricity from “renewable” sources is intermittent and weather dependent, and therefore unreliable, if not unpredictable.

Consequently, we need to tear down our entire distribution system and replace it with an electric grid including backups,
which completely debunks the idea that renewables are “free”. Natural gas is just as “free” as wind, it’s the exploitation that costs money. Not different from wind or sun.

So, there is not much wrong with our current energy distribution system, nor with most of our appliances, such as heating, cars, and aircraft. We are not facing an appliance problem. Instead, the problem was created when replacing a good (as in: practical) energy source by a bad energy source (as in: unsuited for most appliances).

That is the fundamental mistake in decarbonisation.

So instead of changing all appliances and the entire distribution system, can we not simply replace the new bad energy source (renewables) with a new good one? One that is carbon-free.

Is nuclear the answer?

If nuclear means a classical LWR nuclear power plant, then: no. They are already there, but they are only partially contributing to the carbon-free energy conversion by producing the electricity base load,
as green activists keep pointing out. Their output temperature is way too low to be a good source, and they produce way too much waste.

If nuclear means a high-temperature MSR producing a super-base load of hot steam to efficiently make hydrogen as a
standard industrial energy feed stock to produce synfuels, then: yes.

That is precisely what Brigid is doing.