Science of Sustenance – Green Batteries

Go Lean Commentary

Monkey see, monkey do …

CU Blog - Science of Sustenance - Green Batteries - Photo 0This is the expression; but this is science too: zoology, anthropology, animal husbandry. Monkeys are amazing creatures. They are in the same species as humans – primates. Monkeys are social creatures that live in family groups. Like many other animal species,  they adhere to an Alpha-Herd social order. Despite the fact that monkeys are generally considered to be intelligent, they tend to mimic the actions of their leaders more so than creating their own destinies. It is true, monkeys see, monkeys do.

If only the highest order of primates, us humans, worked the same way, then it would be easy to reform and transform society. To the contrary, the observation is that humans follow a different process:

Monkey see, monkey feel, monkey do. Sorry, make that “humans see, humans feel, humans do”.

As free moral agents, the human experience is that there must be a motivation to do something, like “change”, that we see others doing.

This point is developed more fully in the book Go Lean…Caribbean. It narrates the experience of smoking cessation. The book relates (Page 20):

Change is not easy …

Just ask anyone attempting to quit smoking. Not only are there physiological challenges, but psychological ones as well, to the extent that it can be stated with no uncertainty that “change begins in the head”. In psycho-therapy the approach to forge change for an individual is defined as “starting in the head (thoughts, visions), penetrating the heart (feelings, motivations) and then finally manifesting in the hands (actions).

There are a lot of things that Caribbean people and communities must change; there is the need to reform and transform. We must first develop the right attitudes and motivations for fostering our changes. We must penetrate the heart. The people of the Caribbean must change their feelings about elements of our society – elements that are in place and elements missing. The Go Lean book refers to this as “community ethos”, defined as:

the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period.”

The Caribbean is in desperate straits. We have many societal dysfunctions and defects. We have challenges fulfilling even our basic needs. This is the focus of this commentary; it is 1 of 4 in a series on the modern advances in science for delivering basic needs. No one doubts that the inventory of basic needs include “food, clothing and shelter”. But modernity has forced us to add another entry: “energy”. In fact, the availability and affordability of energy can impact the deliveries of these order basic needs. The full series for our consideration will therefore follow this pattern:

  1.     Science of Sustenance: Energy
  2.     Science of Sustenance: Food
  3.     Science of Sustenance: Clothing
  4.     Science of Sustenance: Shelter

It is possible to deliver all basic needs without science. But for our modern world, the advances of science make a positive impact on daily life. In fact, one Anthropology study has concluded that the greatest scientific accomplishment for 20th Century society had been the invention, deployment and advances of the washing machine. Wow, remember the process to clean clothes before modern laundry equipment; it took all day. Women of the house had to be fulltime homemakers to satisfy this family need. This fact depicts the gravity of science in sustaining our modern life. Let’s consider all of the basic needs from this perspective.

Discussions about energy must consider a discussion on batteries. Battery = Stored Energy …

… despite all the scientific definitions, that is all it means, plain and simple. According to one source:

Batteries come in many shapes and sizes, from miniature cells used to power hearing aids and wristwatches to small, thin cells used in smartphones, to large lead acid batteries used in cars and trucks, and at the largest extreme, huge battery banks the size of rooms that provide standby or emergency power for telephone exchanges and computer data centers.

According to a 2005 estimate, the worldwide battery industry generates US$48 billion in sales each year,[5] with 6% annual growth. – Wikipedia.

Batteries traditionally store energy for later use. When we need it, we absolutely need it. Imagine a flashlight, when we “click” it on, we expect it to work. We spend a lot of money to ensure this functionality – according to the foregoing reference, $48 Billion/year.

But while batteries entail a lot of complicated chemicals – alkaline, lead-acid, lithium-ion, etc. – the underlying principle is to store the kinetic energy for future generation of electricity. There is a new recognition in this equation. The fact is that power grids create more power than they need at certain times; this creates the need for batteries; see here:

That’s the first reason we need batteries on the electrical grid: to even out the supply-and-demand, to time-shift the availability of power from nighttime to daytime.

But reason number two is even more important to our future: Power-plant batteries would eliminate the biggest problem with solar power and wind power, which is that they are both intermittent. “Clouds come over on a sunny day and, all of a sudden, it’s gone,” said Hopkins. “Wind stops blowing, all of a sudden, it’s gone. You need a way to store it.”

See full story in the VIDEO here:

Many experts in electricity are truly JUICED these days. They’re pursuing the “Search For The Super Battery” — the title of this Wednesday night’s [(February 1, 2017)] episode of “Nova” on PBS, hosted by our own David Pogue of Yahoo Tech.  Here is a preview:

VIDEO Making a better battery

The science is progressing …

… green options are emerging; (green refers to natural, non-chemical solutions). According to the foregoing, green options  for storing energy include:

  • Gravity
  • Melting Ice
  • Magnetic Levitation

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We need to consider these options in the Caribbean. In our region, energy costs are among the highest in the world. The book Go Lean… Caribbean relates (Page 100) how the Caribbean has among the most expensive energy costs in the world, despite having abundant alternative energy natural resources (solar, wind, tidal, geo-thermal). The Caribbean eco-system focuses on imported petroleum to provide energy options and as a result retail electricity rates in the Caribbean average US$0.35/kWh, when instead it could be down to US$0.088/kWh. A previous blog-commentary identified the societal defect that drives the regional governance for energy generation: rent-seeking. The local authorities depend on the fuel tax revenues to finance government operations. But alas, change is coming! The momentum for this change is big and getting bigger.

With such a 75% savings, we need the foregoing process: Monkey see, monkey feel, monkey do.

There is definitely the need to adapt some of the scientific best practices for energy generation and consumption. In a previous blog-commentary, it was confessed that one of the reasons why people flee the Caribbean region, is the discomforts during the summer months; (the Caribbean region has 8 – 10 warm months of the year) …

… hot weather, and the lack of infrastructure to mitigate and remediate the discomfort, is identified as one of the reasons for the brain drain/societal abandonment. (This previous blog-commentary appealed for cooperative refrigeration). If only we can turn on the air-conditioner – if we can afford the energy cost –  there would be the need to keep it running most of the time.

Many people find the current lack of energy options unbearable to live in their Caribbean ancestral homeland and thusly flee the region for North American and European destinations. The numbers are bad! We reported a 70 percent brain drain rate among the tertiary educated populations. (These are the ones who can best afford to leave; but the community can least afford to lose them).

Energy needs are undeniable 24-7-365; all the time. There is the need to deliver energy all of these times.

The delivery or fulfillment of these needs is a great target for lean, agile operations. Efficiency and technocratic executions will save a lot of money for the people and institutions of the Caribbean. But fossil fuels should not be the solution for the Caribbean.

  • First, with so many small islands, we do not have much natural resources.
  • Secondly, and most important, there is the matter of burning fossil fuels (oil, coal, wood pulp) and contributing to global warming and Climate Change.

The Go Lean book posits that the embrace of alternative energy generation sources to be more impactful on the quest to minimize the threats on the environment. Early in the book, the pressing need to be aware of Climate Change is pronounced in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 11), with these words, (the first of many “causes of complaints”):

i. Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

With the innovative offering of Green Batteries, the quest to adapt to more clean/green energy options can be practical and more cost effective. Power generation from the sun or wind (free & renewable sources) is far cheaper that generation based on fossil fuels.

The book Go Lean… Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This roadmap has 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion GDP and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

This Go Lean/CU roadmap details a series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to be early adopters of cutting-edge energy solutions, like Green Battery systems. The following list applies:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Harness the power of the sun/winds Page 46
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 82
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Energy Commission Page 82
Anecdote – “Lean” in Government – Energy Permits Page 93
Anecdote – Caribbean Energy Grid Implementation Page 100
Implementation – Ways to Develop Pipeline Industry Page 107
Implementation – Ways to Improve Energy Usage Page 113
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Public Works Page 175
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Monopolies Page 202

The Go Lean movement (book and blogs) asserts that we should fully embrace Green Energy solutions; its not a want, but a need for the region. This need had been further elaborated upon in these previous blog/commentaries: Electric Cars: ‘Necessity is the Mother of Invention’ Hotter than July – A case for ‘Cooperative Refrigeration’ Tesla unveils super-battery to power homes US Backs Natural Gas (LNG) Distribution Base in Jamaica Ambassadors to Caribbean discuss PetroCaribe-Energy, Security Book Review: ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate’ Lessons: How Best to Welcome the Dreaded American ‘Plutocracy’ Conservative heavyweights have solar industry in their ‘kill’ sights Go ‘Green’ … Caribbean

A focus of the Go Lean book is the economics of the Caribbean region. But the issues presented in this commentary – and the entire 4-part series – relate to Home Economics. Home Economics is an old field of study. At one point, this was a course in school systems for all levels, K through 12 and even in college curricula. The purpose of the formal “Home-Ec” education was to teach best practices in efficiency and effectiveness for  basic needs. Students learned more about food (cooking & nutrition), clothing (sewing & textiles) and housing (decorating, draperies and upholstery). Home-Ec lessons highlighted the technology of the day (before the 1980’s). Go back and re-visit those schools; the disposition will be that all those programs have been replaced with courses in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

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The Green Battery is an example of science guiding the future of the delivery of basic needs, in this case energy needs. Science is improving the delivery of all basic needs, all means of sustenance. There are many mountainous islands in the Caribbean; anyone of them can be a great candidate for the “pumped hydro” solution in the foregoing VIDEO. This will call for installing a dam and two reservoirs. During the periods when energy is abundant – mid day from solar panels – the water can be pumped uphill, then during the “off” times the water would flow downhill, using gravity to spin turbines and generate electricity.

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Also consider that with the Caribbean hot-hot-hot summers, there is no doubt there is a need for air-conditioning. The energy hogging of the air-conditioning process is the compression to make refrigerated air. The approach in the foregoing VIDEO of making ice when energy is abundant – mid day from solar panels – then blowing the air from the “melting ice” is a technocratic solution – the simple science is depicted in these photos above. A solution based on this science – see sample product in photo below – can be deployed anywhere, everywhere.

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These Green Battery deployments would be examples of the lean, agile operations, designed for the CU technocracy.

This and other innovations, once executed, would make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people, business, institutions and governments, to lean-in for the innovations and optimizations of the Go Lean roadmap. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


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