Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Guest Lecture

Here's my take on the guest lecture on Tuesday. Overall, I felt it was informative and gave a new take on the energy problem. Although it seemed that not every topic was covered completely, I think his specialty, or at least the focus of the lecture, was the nuclear aspect and its effect on the C02. Regarding that subject, I felt it was a good talk with new ideas, however feasible one believed it to be. But, I feel that at least the effort is being made to put forth new ideas because that's likely the only way any change for the better can be made. Doing what we're doing now isn't going to improve conditions for the future, so naturally, new ideas might seem a bit vague or impractical, but change has to start with something new, right?

But on the other topics, I agree completely, he didn't seem to touch on the transportation issue at all. And that seems to be a huge issue when it comes to oil and energy. There's always the talk about reducing CO2 emissions from coal, but that's during the processing in the factories. What about getting to the factory? We just can't look at the end of the assembly line and worry about the end. The energy industry just has so many small, but not insignificant, parts to it that every issue needs to be addressed for successful change.

Also, I did notice that many questions from the class were not addressed properly by Dr. Makhijani. And to be fair, maybe it was in the interest of time that the answers seemed rushed. Who knows, maybe he'll read these posts and can come back for another lecture addressing all our concerns...

1 comment:

Stephanie Freeman said...

I agree with most of the comments I've read on the guest speaker. I had a bit of a problem with the way he handled the audience’s questions. I would have appreciated more thorough answers to most of them. His being unresponsive seems to reduce his credibility, especially in a room half full of engineers who always appreciate facts and data.

My main issue with his overall approach to energy was his goal of nuclear-free. I understand that there are security risks associated with nuclear energy, obviously there are strong protective measures that are needed. But to me, what he proposes doesn’t seem feasible. To go completely off of nuclear power for electricity I think is a bit ludicrous.

In an ideal world, of course nuclear power is not preferred; wind and solar are much better energy sources in terms of safety and everything else. But in the real world, we’re not going to be able to sustain the electricity needed without a constant, non-intermittent power source. In my opinion, nuclear is a better option over coal for the constancy we need in the grid.

I just think that anyone who advocates a total removal of nuclear power within 50 years is not asking to be taken seriously. He definitely understood the need to diversify our energy sources and that is a very valid argument. I just wish he would consider the benefits of nuclear power before dismissing it outright.