My vision of a better future

Do I have your attention now? - The overwhelming response to my last blog on the topic of R8 answers me this question with yes.


Do I have your attention now? - The overwhelming response to my last blog on the topic of R8 answers this question for me with yes.

I hoped that the topic of my blog post on electromobility, climate protection and renewable energy supply in Germany would attract interest. After all, the economy needs an independent mouthpiece to counter the mainstream of the green lobby.

You don't have to agree with me. I certainly don't want a discussion in which we beat each other over the head with our entrenched arguments and stick even more strongly to our already formed opinions.
But perhaps one or two of my thoughts will give you food for thought.

I have promised to show my view and my estimation, in particular also to the vehicle drive of the future, in further blog contributions. I also don't want to bother you with countless source references, but try to present things in a simple and comprehensible way.

One of my mentors once said to me:

"If you want to solve a problem, just make it 10x as big and try to find solutions for it."

When I evaluate things, I like to look at them in terms of some basic laws that I have chosen to base them on.

The Pareto principle

Every engineer should be familiar with the Pareto principle, which says that I get 80% of my result with 20% of the effort. Conversely, it also says that I have to put in 80% effort for only 20% of the result.
As a lazy person, I focus on the 20% and don't bother with the ineffective 80%.
However, the Pareto Principle also states that I have to put in a huge amount of effort to get the last percent out of something.

Let's look at the limits of internal combustion engines. They have been gradually lowered further and further in a linear fashion, but at some point this effort only costs money and hardly brings anything.
At this limit to the economic, the industry starts to cheat instead of denouncing the practice of politics. In this way, it makes itself vulnerable to attack by the media and warning associations such as Deutsche Umwelthilfe, which are not choosy in their choice of means and behave far more professionally from a purely marketing point of view.

And the politicians? They try to please everyone so that they can be re-elected. This then culminates in Germany wanting to pay 1-2 trillion euros for a perceived 0.001 °C temperature reduction by 2050 in the case of so-called man-made climate change.

I wonder if someone hasn't grasped the Pareto principle.

New products and what makes them stand out

New products that succeed on the market are characterized by the fact that they are better, faster, lighter and cheaper.

This has something to do with power density. We simply expect something better to be able to do more and cost less.
A Tesla, for example, drives a 900 kg battery and is hyped to no end. At 90 km/h in the right lane, hoping to still arrive, which is no better. By the way, catastrophic gap dimensions and whistling noises either. We are used to better things from German cars.

Sun, wind and batteries have a much lower energy density than diesel and nuclear power. And anyone who doesn't believe that should take a look at Wikipedia.



This is one reason why entire stretches of landscape are plastered with wind turbines. Environmental protection looks different in my eyes.

Population growth and energy

The "Club of Rome" claims that the earth can only support a certain number of people, otherwise the earth will collapse.

I believe that at any time in human history there were as many people as the technologies available at that time were able to support. So it is a question of usable technology (stone, bronze, steel, ...) how many people can live on earth.
I explicitly include the reuse of raw materials.

From the view of the thermodynamics we have with the earth a system that is supplied by the sun with energy and radiates energy. However, we do not have a raw material problem, because no material is lost (apart from a few satellites), it is only transformed. If we have enough energy, current and also future materials can be recycled or even synthetically composed.

The question of how many people the earth can support is therefore ultimately a question of the energy available to each individual.

If we make energy more expensive and scarce through what I see as nonsensical measures such as the CO2 tax, the phase-out of nuclear power and the phase-out of fossil fuels, and if we turn to globally non-functioning concepts such as e-mobility and renewable energy generation, we must also be clear about the consequences.
Because this policy does not work globally, or only if the population decreases drastically.

Other countries will not follow this path. Are we really willing to give up our technological lead, our jobs and our prosperity so easily?

Use of existing technologies

A technology that is developed will be used if it can eliminate actual emergency conditions.
We see this with nuclear power, coal power, the internal combustion engine, etc.
While Germany, the leading country in nuclear power and conventional power plant construction, has withdrawn or plans to withdraw out of fear, over 100 new nuclear power plants and 1,400 new coal-fired power plants are being planned or are already under construction worldwide.

Will this make the world a better and safer place if we leave our unique know-how to others?

Do we seriously think the world will follow us on our suicidal path?

Does anyone in the third world, whose survival depends on the roadworthiness of his old diesel, care if he blows dirty exhaust fumes into the air? If, on the other hand, we help them to lead a life worth living, we are credible and have a greater impact - also on the environment. Especially if we are successful with our business model.

We can help engines become even better and more powerful until new and better technologies (e-fuels, fuel cells) are available that also work and are affordable. An electric drive also offers advantages, but batteries are no good as energy storage.

There are still technical problems with the fuel cell, but these can be solved. The physical limitation of chemical storage with the battery is given. Here we are talking about small improvements, but not by a factor of 10.

The energy density of a battery will remain far below that of hydrogen and conventional fuels in the future.

My vision of a better future

Let's ask ourselves the question: How can we feed 100 billion people? How do we protect the environment from pollution at the same time?
From the point of view of energy density alone, energy supply can and must move in the direction of hydrogen technology and nuclear fusion.

The way to achieve this is via processes with higher energy density mobile (e-fuels) with better and more powerful combustion engines and fuel cells, stationary via clean fossil power plants (gas, coal) and modern nuclear power plants. The (small) battery as intermediate storage also has its place here.

The business model of politics was and is security in exchange for freedom.
However, this does not require imagined or exaggerated dangers like the climate catastrophe, which are created via the media, in order to restrict freedom even further via bans and taxes, but sensible specifications. By no means does everything have to be regulated and prescribed.

If there is climate change, it should be investigated in an open-ended manner by suitably independent experts what the causes are and what sensible measures we should take in accordance with the Pareto principle.

Based on the technologies that are currently working, we should ask ourselves the questions of how we can

  • Supply 100 billion people with sufficient energy.
  • Provide enough water and food everywhere in the world.
  • Move more people and goods from A to B in less time.
  • protect and preserve our unique planet at the same time.

Where do we want to go as a country, where do we want to go as humanity? How can we, together with the Russians, the Chinese and the Americans, make the world a better place?

We should take everyone along with us and, in addition to the green-bellied toad and the sparrow that is supposedly threatened with extinction, not forget the human being.

If we ask ourselves these questions, we will have workable answers, even if it may only be 12 billion people.

Of course, we also have the other option: How can we reduce the earth's population by a factor of 10? I do not believe that this is the better way and that this is really desired by the majority.

Your Stefan Merkle