Energy Calculations
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Our Memory Like Dust - Energy Calculations
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Simon Adaro sets out to produce 500 GW of electricity from a series of solar farms in the Sahara desert.
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There are currently a number of attempts to produce such energy and David Mackay, in his seminal work 'Without the hot air', calculates that it would take a 600km x 600km farm to produce the entire energy requirement of 5.2TW for 1 billion people (@125KWh/day/person).
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Mackay based his calculations on both theoretical limits and the technology at the time of his writing (2008).
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Obviously, being a work of science fiction, I may take a few liberties, but I cannot escape physics.
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Since I am fairly sure that some readers may wish to check my calculations, the work on the next page is a rough guide to how I went about it.
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I made a few assumptions at odds to those made by David Mackay. Firstly, I expect that net energy consumption per capita will decline as our devices become more energy efficient (to about 100KWh/day). Secondly, I'm assuming that technical breakthroughs in solar harvesting will permit my solar devices to achieve efficiencies much closer to the theoretical limits.
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While 'Our Memory Like Dust' is a work of fiction, it is sufficiently close to our time (pub. 2017) that it can easily be swamped by circumstances and new technical breakthroughs. If you can accept the limitations of the author, then hopefully this won't date too quickly and will remain an epic read.
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Gavin Chait, February 2017
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