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Science and Technology links (June 26th 2021)

One thought on “Science and Technology links (June 26th 2021)”

  1. Thomas+Müller+Graf says:

    Solar panels: The article uses the common “dark patterns”:

    Emotional terms such as “Dark Side” right in the title. (btw most new solar panels are “bifacial”, so they actually have two dark sides). Then “massive caveat” and “large amounts of annual waste”, “alarming” and so on. Why is this waste alarming, and why is other waste not alarming? Are solar panels particularly dangerous? If yes, how is that compared to nuclear plants that are decommissioned, and spent nuclear fuel? Brine for fossil fuel?
    Usage of absolute numbers like “78 million tonnes by the year 2050” without putting that into a relation of any kind. How is this compared to other things like fossil fuel, nuclear, and so on? Building are also teared down and new ones are build, what about that?
    “discarded panels would outweigh new units sold by 2.56 times” – so more panels are discarded than new ones are added. Why would that be the case? Will solar panels not be competitive in the future so people will tear them down (not replace most of them)? Does it mean older panels are somehow heavier? That might actually be true (older panels typically have an aluminium frame, newer ones don’t have that). But aluminium is easy to recycle; and 2.56 times is a lot. For a technology that really just begun taking off, I have a hard time believing that it’s already in decline. I would be more worried about old (gasoline) cars…
    “who will bear the cleanup costs” If some government didn’t think about cost of some waste then that’s a problem of course. What about cleanup cost of oil spills, and leaky / decommissioned pipelines?
    “The same problem is looming for other renewable-energy technologies.” To only renewable-energy have a “looming problem”? What would that be?
    “wind turbine blades will end up in U.S. landfills” Why is it a problem exactly? Are turbine blades dangerous? How much is it compared to waste?
    “According to prevailing estimates, only five percent of electric-vehicle batteries are currently recycled” That’s probably because it’s not economic to do so. That’s normal. Why is it a problem? It will change once it makes sense.

    That all reminds me of the Nirvana fallacy.