Holistic approach takes an overview of the upcoming changes in the energy industry, considering all the elements that contribute to the common good.

For maximum environmental benefit we analyze an ultimate renewable energy scenario, where all sources of energy are led back to SPV, Solar PV, assuming 10 billion people on earth.

To go with the SPV power source as the primary source of power, we look at in a holistic way how best to store end deliver energy.

Batteries, hydrogen and renewable fuels are compared in transportation, residential and industrial applications.

The role of a renewable hydrocarbon RHC is advanced as the best replacement route for fossil fuels.

The social issues, job creation and capital formation functions are delineated to complete the holistic approach to energy.


This article is part of a series outlining an energy transformation in the 21 st century, where the world economy is moving from a fossil fuel based energy supply to a clean renewable SPV based energy. In the first article—Trends in the Cost of Energy—the cost evolution of the different energy sources are compared, with the conclusion that by 2020, SPV will be the lowest cost energy generation everywhere in the globe.

In the second article—The Battle for the Sun—the growth forecast of this industry is quantified and the implications of central versus distributed electricity generation is recognised. In this essay, the holistic nature of energy is used to examine the many different consequences for our lives.

Holistic approach to the grand energy transformation from the age of fossil fuels to the age of renewables considers and optimizes all the interdependent elements for the common good. In the process, the environment will be protected, the efficiency of SPV generation and photosynthesis will be maximised and the sharing of the societal benefits in job creation, in wealth creation and the use of the suns energy will be equally secured for all.

A case can be made that in our lifetime this energy transformation from fossil fuels primarily to SPV generation will be the largest job creator. At the end of 2013, the SPV industry has employed 1 million workers in direct jobs world wide, while it installed 30GW of SPV generation. In the same period the combined job creation in the IT industry (Google + yahoo + facebook + twitter + apple + microsoft +Linkedin) a group of IT companies, added 287,000 jobs. To complete the transformation during this century, the industry will grow several hundred folds, creating several 100 million jobs in the process. The change is large enough, so that a structural reorganization of our economy could take place parallel with this change, optimizing job creation and the distribution of the resulting wealth.

I wish to emphasize in the beginning, that this article is from one compassionate observer to all of you compassionate investors, a call for action in times of turmoil, times of danger and times of opportunity. Several parts of this essay are and will be the subject of more scholarly examinations. But the issues at the intersection of technology and compassionate investment are worthy of your attention.


As the first step, let us examine, whether available SPV energy generation can support the 10 billion population expected by the end of the 21st century? We also assume that the 10 billion people will all have access to the same amount of energy, what the average person uses in in the US today. This energy is approximately 100,000 kWh/ year/person. This energy includes all personal, commercial, industrial energy use, whether it is in the form of electricity, or fossil fuel. tid=44&pid=45&aid=2&cid=regions&syid=2007&eyid=2011&unit=QBTU.

As we assume that the primary energy source is going to be terrestrial SPV, we also have to look at how this is going to effect, if any, the food supply. The food energy a person burns is estimated to be 100W. This energy also comes from the sun via photosynthesis, as vegetables, grain, animal meat. Interestingly humans burn about the same amount of energy to maintain life, as used for all other energy, or 100,000kWh/year/person. So the energy plus food will require 200,000 kWh/year/person. However the food creation via photosynthesis is much less efficient than SPV and requires much greater land use. The existing biodiversity of animals, vegetation, foodstuff for animals, and all water use, will not be disturbed as long as the land required for human habitation and use, will be a small part of the global land surface, Let us calculate the required land surface for energy generation.

As shown, energy consumption is expected to be (10 billion, 10(10) persons x 1×10(5) kWh/year/person) = 1 x 10(15) kWh /year. The result of the assumption that everyone will have the same energy consumption as people in the US have today (100,000kWh/year/person direct energy consumption (electricity + fossil fuels). This energy consumption will require an area of 1 x 10(13) square meters, since each square meter on the average will generate 200kWh/year, (assuming 25% PV efficiency, 50% area coverage and 1600 hours of average insolation). The usable surface of the earth is 1.5 x 10(8) square km, = 1.5 x 10(14)square meter. This land area can generate 3 x 10(16) watts SPV electricity (making the same assumptions for the SPV performance as above) Within the accuracy of this estimate, it is safe to conclude that less than 1% of the earth land area is needed to provide all the energy from the sun for the earth with 10 billion population and with all the existing biodiversity.


The conclusion of the previous section is that SPV energy as a source of life on earth is three orders of magnitude away from being the limiting factor to the further increase of human population. This is the same three orders of magnitude, as the present day concentration of CO2 in the O2 of the atmosphere.

The existing energy sources, both for electricity and for transportation have been centrally owned and controlled by large corporations. The distributed nature of sunshine, lends itself for a decentralized generation and organization such as represented by microgrids.

The advantages of the micro-grid distributed power are:

> The lowest cost SPV electricity generation is by user owned microgrids, by eliminating two unnecessary middle man, the utilities and the third party lease owners. The savings can be 50%. > The energy supply is not as vulnerable to terrorism, cyber attacks and the elements as the electricity from the central grid is.

> The efficiency of the SPV generation within the micro-grid is about 25% higher than through the grid interactive system and shutting the central grid down, does not shut the SPV down

> Finally tying the SPV generation to large central utilities and third party lease financing companies, we further aggravate the wealth distribution by flowing rent payments from the taxpayers, ratepayers and Main street to the suppliers of capital.

The wealth distribution effect stems from the nature of our political/economic system. This is also the characteristics of large centrally controlled services such as the utilities and the fossil fuel industry. In the US we have installed so far 10 GW of SPV, almost all utility interactive. The owners are either the utilities or third party financiers. The last example is the lease financed residential installations. The average cost of the installed system over the past 10 years was about $6 per watt. Of the $6 per watt, $2 per watt was subsidized by taxpayers (or ratepayers), amounting $20 billion. This $20 billion migrate to the suppliers of capital. As the industry grows in the next decades by 1000 fold, this wealth transfer could run into $trillions.

All the details of financial analysis for a cost effective SPV micro-grid and other estimates can be seen on


With more than 100 GW SPV installed worldwide, the rate of growth of further renewable energy development is definitely limited by a lack of suitable energy storage. To be able to penetrate all the applications now filled by fossil fuels, storage has to be found for at least four different applications; i) satisfy the daily load curve of electricity supply,

ii) solve the issue of seasonal variations of the need for electricity,
ii) find a renewable energy produced fuel for transportation; and
iv) find an efficient solution for delivering heat and satisfy the seasonal variation of the load curve.

Three different technologies for renewable energy storage are examined using the chemical energy storage mechanisms within atomic and molecular interactions. We have the further constraints that the storage has to be compatible with clean renewable energy generation. The storage mechanisms are listed in Table 1). This is not a complete list of viable energy storage schemes. Hydrogen stored in solids, Boron hydride compounds and various metallic solids such as Al and Si are all useable sources for renewable energy storage. In my view,the three most viable schemes presently are listed here.

On the Table (1) below we are listing three different renewable, reversible processes that are under consideration:

A ) The energy stored in batteries,
B ) Hydrogen gas stored in high pressure tanks; and
C ) The energy stored in hydrocarbons or any other oxidizable atoms or compounds and released by oxidizing (burning) the storing materials.

Whatever will end up as the choice of the the storage medium for transportation, can be used also to solve the storage requirements for the seasonal load variation in the stationary application. The holistic approach to energy assumes that whatever storage medium will be selected, it will be created with renewable clean energy, such as SPV.


Equations 1A and 1B represent the working of the batteries.. In 1A oxygen is moved from the Nickel (Ni) to the Iron (Fe), with the help of a charging field E in an electrolitic solution. This NiFe battery with proven 30,000 cycles+, is a good candidate for stationary application, to solve the daily load curve variation of microgrid battery storage.

In equation (1B), Li ion is moved from one FePO4 electrode to the other.

Because of its high energy density, Li batteries are employed both in transportation and in some stationary applications.. The Li based batteries are limited by the number of cycles (1000 cycles) they can perform without degradation. There are also serous stability issues. Among the batteries today, really only the Li based batteries can be considered as energy storage for EV.

The second storage scheme, as shown on Equation (2), employs Hydrogen in the Gas form. It is the electrolysis process to generate H(2) by electrolysis of water, using SPV electricity. In this essay we do not consider hydrogen generated from fossil fuels, since the cost of electrolytic H(2) generation is already cost competitive.


 Most of the car companies have started to offer some form of non polluting electric vehicles, EV’s. There is the pure EV, running on batteries as used by Tesla. There is the “Plug in Hybrid” PHV, such as the Prius and several companies offer Fuel Cell based vehicles, FCV, running on hydrogen fuel, as compressed hydrogen.

There is a lot of technology and investor interest in EVs today. Just in Seeking Alpha there are several articles on Tesla each day, with hundreds of comments following each article. The two primary proponents of battery powered EVs are Elon Musk of Tesla and Hans-Jakob Nausser of VW. They are both certain that batteries are the right technology and they just dismiss FCV competitors, such as Toyota.

Our analysis finds FCV fueled by compressed hydrogen and a fuel cell, a compelling intermediate solution until a liquid RHC based fuel becomes available.

Here are the simple calculations for the Tesla battery EV and the Toyota Mirai FCV; In the case of Tesla the battery pack is amortized over its life of 570 cycles or 120,000 miles. For the Toyota Mirai, the cost of the hydrogen pressure tank plus the fuel cell are amortized over the same 120,000 miles.

According to Tesla Specs, 60 kWh battery will go 208 miles = 3.5 miles/kWh. Cost of traveling 1 mile = cost of 1kWh/3.5.
The batteries are warranteed for 120,000 miles/208 miles = 570 cycles.
If the cost of the battery is $500/kWh, the cost per cycle= $0.87per kWh amortization.

We have to add the cost of electricity assumed at $0.15/kWh. Total cost per mile = ${0.87+0.15}/3.5 = $0.29/mile.

Mirai has 300 miles range for the 5kg of H(2). To compare to Tesla, we use 120,000 miles warranty. The 5kg H fuel costs estimated by Toyota, $50 or $10/kg. The cost per mile $50/300 = $0.17/mile. We have to amortize the cost of high pressure cylinder + the cost of FC stack over 120,000 miles. We do not have numbers from Toyota, but from NREL the estimate is $2400, or $2400/120,000 miles, = $0.02/mile.

The combined cost with amortization is = $(0.17 + 0.02) = $0.19/mile.

Using Fossil fuels in an ICE (Cadillac SRX) gives 30 miles/gallon and cost $4.0/30 = $0.13/mile. The energy density in 1 kg of petrol is 44MJ per kg, equivalent of 10 kWh of electricity, or if you use it as heat, it is equivalent to 30kWh. Hydrogen and hydrocarbon based energy storage gives more than an order of magnitude improvement in energy stored in a kg of material, compared to anything batteries can provide. This is why fossil fuels ruled for the last century. Ideally if we can find non polluting fossil fuel equivalents, that can be produced using SPV generated electricity, we have the best solution to renewable storage. That is what the next discussion is about.


The fourth column of Table 2, under O(2) RHC, The Renewable HydroCarbons listed is Formic acid, HCOOH. This is the acid the ants produce and it has a vinigary taste. A colleague of mine from RCA Labs, Dr R Williams, about 40 years ago, has patented the electrochemical production of Formic Acid from CO(2) ( They also have demonstrated the conversion and measured the efficiency of production.

Figure 3 is the last five steps of the combustion of hydrocarbons, ending in the CO(2) gas. The Williams patent basically teaches us how to make the first step back up on the hydrocarbon chain from CO(2) ==> HCOOH, using SPV electricity.

It certanly is an existence proof, that hydrocarbons can be produced electrochemically. There have been several publications and patents since that time, related to the subject. I know at least of one commercial effort dedicated to the use of formic acid in the renewable energy cycle (MVTG). If RHC is economical, that should be the fuel of choice for transportation. It could be fuel in an FCV or a non polluting combustion engine. Calculations based upon the Williams demonstration as described in the patent, indicate that using Formic acid as a fuel, produced by SPV generated ectricity, will result in a competitive fuel cost in the vehicle with batteries or foosil fuel, with the added benefits of non polluting, no range limitations and the fuel is dispensable in the existing petrol stations.

Reforming on large industrial scale has been done for some time. The most notable process is the Fischer-Tropsch process, that was the primary source of fuel during the second world war both for the Germans and the Japanese. recent calculations indicate that the F-T produced diesel oil can be competitive with oil at a price of $30pb.

Of course there are an infinite number of variations among the hydrocarbons to be designed for RHC. One example is shown on table 1 equ (3), starts with hexane, a liruid hydrocarbon, is degraded (oxidized spontaneously) to an other liquid hydrocarbon in the chain, formic acid, gives up hydrogen and generates -496 kcal/mole free energy. In the reverse process with the use of catalyst and appropriate solvents and added energy in the form of SPV electricity, the formic acid is reformed back to hexane. In the process we are back to the original hydrocarbons again, without any pollution in the cycle.

The primary thought I want to share with the reader, that with the advent of low cost SPV electricity, the equivalent of electrochemically produced fossil fuels have to be looked at. This RHC is also the ultimate fuel for clean EV industry.


A case is made that the age of extracted fossil fuels can be replaced with clean energy consisting of SPV electricity generation combined with RHC Renewable Hydrocrbon storage. RHC is also the optimum fuel for the EV.
To bring back the SPV leadership to the US we have to launch a national focus to:

> Develop the next generation of SPV technology, to go beyond c-Si technology and reach efficiency above 30%. Multi-junnction thin film devices have this capability. This will bring back the full scale job creation of the vertically integrated SPV industry.

> Develop a chain of user owned microgrid franchises with its own independent storage, hooked into the smart central grid through the battery. This will help to resolve the wealth inequality that weighs on the economy. It will also increase the efficiency of SPV and make the energy supply safer from unwanted interruptions

> Develop suitable energy storage to go with the renewable energy supply. As an interim solution optimize high energy density and long lived batteries, but most importantly develop the electrochemical RHC as the most generic solution to EV transportation and the solution to follow both the daily and seasonal load curves.

A compassionate investor will have many opportunities to invest with this holistic approach to energy and collect a fair benefit.

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