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Windmills of your mind


The announced Irish moratorium on wind power (NCE last week) brings home the essential issue of matching instantaneous electricity demand to supply.

Is not the solution to produce hydrocarbon fuels using electricity from windmills? This could be used to generate hydrogen with electrolyses, carbon dioxide (from partial liquefaction of air) and combining them in the well established Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process.

From research on the Internet I estimate that a realistic cost to produce a gallon of LPG/Diesel would be in the order of 80p/litre. This is more expensive than fossil fuel but offers complete sustainability and a net zero contribution to the atmospheric carbon dioxide load.

Talk of pumped storage is naturally attractive to us civil engineers, but in this instance the higher energy densities available in hydrocarbon fuels must be more attractive as the infrastructure for distributed consumption is available today.

Can I suggest that the membership prevail on Council to mount a concerted approach to government and industry (supported by the chemical and electrical engineers) to promote such or similar schemes?

John Albinson (M),

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