Saturday, August 13, 2005

What's "Renewable"?

A thought that occurred to me while reading this Manila Bulletin story: what is a "renewable" energy source except one that's got a sufficiently large energy reservoir? That is, solar is just harvesting the potential energy of the unfused deuterium nuclei in the sun's core, which will eventually run out. Man-made fusion would just be relying on a smaller pool of deuterium available on the earth's surface. Likewise, oil, coal, and uranium are all just energy resources with smaller but readily available pools. In that light, "renewable" is a canard.