Thursday, January 19, 2006
Limiting factors: 2nd level factors that no one thinks of
The advent of evacuated glass tube technology in Solar thermal installations got me thinking on the factors that motivated this change from copper. The real reasons for this are actually quite simple. The cost of copper. Copper has become so expensive that companies are looking at any options that can replace it. This got me thinking of how vital copper is and how our entire electrical infrastructure is completely dependant on this element. It appears that most of the industrial processes as well as installations will come to a standstill without copper.
The scientific americal has the following to say
Copper is used in everything from automobiles to ordnance. Copper allows electricity to be generated, transported and conducted to the various outlets in a modern home. Copper is also relatively scarce compared to other metals like iron or aluminum that make up a good portion of the earth itself. So copper serves as an excellent metallic bellwether for potential future resource scarcity, according to a group of researchers who compiled data on its extraction, use, recycling and discard to estimate whether there is enough copper available to make a developed standard of living available to all the world's people. The short answer is: no.
Read the rest here.