I came across a post by famed Dutch researcher Auke Hoekstra (@AukeHoekstra on Twitter) pointing to a newly published scientific paper proving that a 100% renewable energy grid by 2050 or before is entirely feasible.
I've known intuitively that this has been possible for some time, but to have it shown in peer reviewed science is something else entirely. So, I invited Auke, as one of the co-authors of the paper to come on the podcast to explain how this can happen.
We had an excellent discussion talking about renewables becoming cheaper, scaling utility scale storage economically, and the resources required for this to become a reality.
This was a truly fascinating episode of the podcast and I learned loads as always, and I hope you do too.
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Were basically predicting that the yearly solar additions wouldn't grow that fast, more or less horizontal even. And then you look at reality. Year on year on year there's on average, over the last 30 years about an average of 50% growth and it's, it's very seldom it gets below 30%. So that's an incredibly fast exponential growth with lots of extra power coming online every yearTom Raftery:
Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you are in the world. This is the climate 21 podcast. The number one podcast, showcasing best practices in climate emission reductions. And I'm your host, Tom Raftery. Don't forget to click follow on this podcast in your podcast app of choice, to be sure you don't miss any episodes. Hi everyone. Welcome to the climate 21 podcast. My name is Tom Raftery and with me on the show today, I have my special guest Auke. Auke, welcome back to the podcast you've been on before, but for people who might have missed that episode, would you like to introduce yourself?.Auke Hoekstra:
Yeah, I'm basically, uh, research at, uh, Eindhoven University of Technology. And I have two research topics. One, my personal expertise is electric vehicles, electric trucks, and the topic that I'm researching mostly, and I'm leading a large, uh, research group in is how do we transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy? And, and how you do you model that and how do you get, uh, some clear, clear picture of what the future might look like if we chose that route.Tom Raftery:
Perfect. And this is absolutely perfect because the last time we were on this podcast, we talked about electric vehicles. So now we're looking at your other area of research, which is the transition from fossil fuels to fully renewable energy system. And.Auke Hoekstra:
Exactly. You've got me all covered now.Tom Raftery:
And th this, this podcast came about because of a tweet, which you posted back in August. We're now at the start of, well, we're the 8th of September we're recording this. This'll get published mid September, but it was you published about a new study that came out, which says it actually is possible to get to a hundred percent renewables by 2050. Now there've been several studies over the years, which have said this. So let's start off by explaining why this new study that you're involved in is different.Auke Hoekstra:
Yeah. So basically what we saw in the academic literature is that many people modeled, how to get to a hundred percent renewable future. And by the way, I'm not saying it can only be done with a hundred percent renewables and that, I mean, without fossil fuels and without nuclear. I'm just saying it can also be done that way. And many people think that's good news. I think it's good news, but it doesn't tell you that's the only way. But anyway, there's a lot of studies that came out over the year, sort of yeah. Seeing this through and, and, and, and showing that could be done for different areas and for the whole world. And it never got that much attention and it was always a little bit. Yeah, ignoring everybody's sort of new serious people sort of knew that. Of course. Yeah, that's nice. But it, it cannot really be true or something. And now what we saw is that there were so many hundreds of studies that we thought if we just summarize all these studies, then it sort of maybe comes into the public consciousness more or less that, whoa, this is not some fringe crazies who, who are trying strange theories anymore. This is now mainstream. And what also helped by the way, um, that just before this study was published, we had, of course, a new IPCC report, a AR six work group three. And in that work group three, one, the lead author also has 31 studies mentioned at least. So also that sort of, yeah, very dependable body of knowledge is now acknowledging, maybe not saying yes, this is the way forward. The, the, the, they're hedging, their bets, so to speak, but they're saying, yeah, this is now more or less mainstream.Tom Raftery:
Fantastic. Fantastic. But I mean, anytime someone says that it's possible to have a grid that's a hundred percent renewable. You always get people standing up and saying, yeah, but what about those weeks in winter when the wind isn't blowing, you need to have storage for weeks and weeks and weeks just in case the wind doesn't blow.Auke Hoekstra:
And, and that's the, the, of course there's a lot of people also really, are fans of the alternative, uh, like, carbon caption storage with fossil fuels and nuclear. Who, who say we really, really want to be indispensable. So a lot of the, the, the, the pushback, I think also comes from, from that direction. When, when people say, well, you are welcome, but not indispensable. It's sort of weakened your argument a little bit, but, all these people who say, what about we need four weeks of storage, a recent study also came out and said, four weeks of lithium ion battery storage. Wow. You needed a lot of, lot of, uh, uh, resources for that. But I, if you look at those studies, they do it a little bit more cleverly. So. Let's talk about that. Let's talk about how do you get the, the electricity and, and all the energy going on. If you just have wind and solar, and it's a couple of dark weeks in winter. Well, the first thing you do is in the summer, you store some extra. So in the summer you store some extra heat. We call that sector coupling.Tom Raftery:
By the way you can also store some, some heat in the middle of a very hot summer day to, to use that night, for example. So, so basically when you have excess, solar, sometimes wind, you can also store this heat. You call that sector coupling and. Since a lot of energy is actually used for heat. It's often quite cheap energy in a way it's low temperature, heat storage is sort of ubiquitous and kind of cheap, but it's still very important here because we need lots of it and you can create it with the wind and solar. And then the next thing you do. Is, um, you add some seasonal storage as we often call it. And the, and the heat storage is, is an example of that, but a better example, even a more advanced example is P two X. For power to gas or power to anything. So the P stands for power and the, to the, the number two stands for, for, uh, to, to, into something else. And then the X is basically, we can, we can do lots of things that we can turn power into, but what you hear a lot about, for example, is green hydrogen doing hydrogen's most sort of famous example of P two X. Now, if you in the summer, Take some excess solar or excess winds and, uh, turn that into, um, uh, uh, uh, hydrogen then all of a sudden you don't need those batteries anymore in winter or whatever. You can just use these access or heat mix, uh, makes you use a lot less energy. And then the hydrogen makes you turn on the, the lights a different way. Then, of course we have all kind of things in margins, like hydro power that we can use for that. So if we use hydro power, mainly as a battery, so to speak, we still use the same amount of it. We just time it a little differently. So to, to compliment solar and wind and which one I'm forgetting, of course biofuels. So biofuels in our model are also welcomeTom Raftery:
and, uh, biofuels basically in our muscle models, we say, be careful because you need lots of, uh, area for that. So it competes with nature and food, but some of it, if you don't need too much of it is fine. And actually what we are talking about now, If only 5% of something of, uh, the entire energy need, maybe 10%, but probably 5% is available in some form of storage we can manage if we do it intelligently. So that's sort of the solution. And a lot of people still don't get that we have a whole suite, so to speak of, uh, storage solutions. That can add to the wind and solar to balance this whole system out. Of course on a daily basis, we just talked about, uh, weeks in winter, right. But one of the biggest problems actually in the short term is that you get high peaks in wind and solar that electricity grid can't manage. And for that you need short term storage. So, for example, batteries, batteries are ideal for short term storage, super efficient. If you pump them full and empty them out, again, just don't try to do batteries for more than a couple of days because you're wasting resources. It's not needed for something that you only use twice a year or something, but if you use something every day, batteries are perfect. And those can be home batteries like, like, uh, the Tesla power every know, or, or, or probably some, some cheap alternatives getting to market now. Our studies showed, if you do it with a neighborhood, it's probably a little bit more efficient and you can use it in, in more ways. So I would say to everybody, look, if you can do it in a neighborhood neighborhood way, neighborhood storage is something instead of personal storage, but still, but cars. Now we get back to my other hobby. cars and cars are actually, they have immense batteries. If you look at it compared to what we need for daily storage needs. If we can charge them up at the moments we have excess solar and wind or even better. And I think this is really future. Now that car batteries are becoming so long lasting even better if we can use them to sort of put power back into the grid at the moments when we need it and to suck it up. So to speak from solar and winds at the moments when those are in excess. That is basically a perfect means for daily storage. So yes, it's a lot of inventing in a way it's a lot of, complex modeling. So these models are also only come Ave. Basically, these kind of things could only be made. It's very interesting to see that the first people who came up with this idea is in 1970s,Tom Raftery:
could just, yeah, but they could just do it on the, on the back of a napkin. So to speak was very rough. The computers simply weren't there. To try out these complex scenarios. And I think we see this sort of kicking off in the two thousands and then still very, very marginally. And it's only since I would say 2010, 2014, that this whole idea has gained so much momentum and that most studies has in poly published. So we are sitting on something that most of, of our consciousness has not absorbed yet. This is very cutting edge in that way, because it takes years and years for cultural consciousness, for our common consciousness to sort of absorb this idea. It's only the last eight or six report, for example, that sort of largely incorporates that. And it also said by the way, first report also said solar and winds are going to be the workhorses of, uh, of the new energy system. That's something that we're very clear about. The last one was still, oh my God. Oh my God. Where are going? Get the energy. Oh, we have to do BES, for example, you know, uh, um, lots of biofuels, two times the size of India maybe, and then burn it and store it on the ground because what else can we do? But we have to do something. And now we're saying, Hey, solar, wind my God. That's cheap. It's really cheap. Wow. It's reallyTom Raftery:
And getting cheap.Auke Hoekstra:
and exactly all the time. And whoa, there there's even lots of people now who say we can manage most of the peaks in the dips we get with solar and wind. Whoa, this is fantastic news. At least that's how I read AR six. They're still very, of course conservative and very worried, but there was loads of solutions in the last one. Whereas there was just more or less blind panic, and we have to do something in the last one. The way I read it.Tom Raftery:
Right. And when you say power to heat. How is that done? Is it, I mean, are we doing it in hot water, in molten salt in something else like bricks or something like that using radiative heat or how are we storing it in heat?Auke Hoekstra:
Good question. to be quite honest at the moment, usually in water, hot water, we have some phase change materials that, that look to be, even more, uh, let's say space, efficient than water, but actually heating up water takes a lot of energy. Water is a very good way to store, heat differences, better than oil, better than lots of other materials. So actually it's not that bad. So I'm not really an expert in all the advanced technologies, phase change materials, et cetera, that are out there. Some neighbors of mine, uh, at the university make them. So I know a little bit of them, but lo largely we see, basically very big tons of water. And actually the advantage here is what, what we. Uh, much, much too little is to use big heat, uh, basically big buckets of, of water because the larger you make heat storage, the more efficient it becomes basically, when you look at a bucket, the, the price is more or less the surface area, that, that the thing that puts the water keeps the water in place. So speak. That's also the part you have to insulate. And when the bucket gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, the surface area increases to the third. But yeah, to the second power basically, and the content to the third power. So the bigger it becomes,Tom Raftery:
the moreAuke Hoekstra:
cheaper it becomes and also the longer it stays hot so that's also something for neighborhood storage is perfect. And then how do we heat it? First we use some sort of, heat pumps. So the best things basically to have heat pumps that can go, can be used to heat your house or heat your neighborhood in winter, but it can also be used, same heat pumps to heat, basically your heat storage in summer. And it basically means that for every kilowatt hour of solar you, uh, you, you put in, for example, you get three or four. Kilo, what hours of heat in, in a heat system, it's a very heat pumps are very efficient, but if solar is really going through a roof, for example, and wind is also blowing and you're like, oh my God, where do I put all this energy? And your heat pumps would be ridiculously oversized to basically. Put all that away then still it's better not to curtail because simply using that power as heat is, uh, when you use, uh, resistance wire? Uh,Tom Raftery:
like a, just like a kettle, the same way the kettle heats waterAuke Hoekstra:
exactly. exactly. Costs absolutely nothing. It's it's it's ridiculously cheap, especially for bigger installations. At least it gives you, uh, it doesn't give you this three times multiplication factor on the heating, but it gives you a very good way to basically dump your excess solar and wind in the form of heat. So this is one of the main things I would say. Um, uh, so what you first do of course is insulation, et cetera. So the, the, the, the, the simple efficiency gain, so to. In all these systems, that plan for a hundred percent renewable system, they say, we tried that first, but lots of old houses, there's lots of places you don't get to right away, because actually, making the whole, build environment more sustainable takes a lot of hands, takes a lot of time. So actually it goes slower than electrifying everything, for example. So in the meantime you have all these other solutions and, and, and power to heat is one of the most. Important one also has a bridge technology to, uh, get us there when we have access solar or wind and don't have all the other efficiency measures, et cetera in place.Tom Raftery:
And it sounds amazingly low tech. I mean,Auke Hoekstra:
got an immersion heater in the room here beside me that we use to heat our water when it's not sunny because we've, we've panels on the roof to heat the water. So just, just using the heat from the sun heats, most of the water, we've a 300 liter tank on the roof. That's, that's heated up by those panels. And then we've a, an, an, an immersion heater in, in there for 80 liters that pulls. You know, it pulls off the solar panels cause we've photovoltaic panels as well, pulls off those. And then if there's no sun, it'll pull off the grid. But our provider, our electricity provider is a hundred percent renewable. So our water system is as about as low carbon as you can get.Auke Hoekstra:
Nice. Nice to be quite honest. What you're doing is more efficient than what I'm doing. I'm using all solar panels. My whole roof is solar panels. I, I just build it in such a way that leaks, if you take it, the solar panels, right. It's, it's simply solar panels. And at the moment, that is a very price. Yeah. From a price point perspective, an interesting way to set it up, lots of solar panels, but what you are doing is more efficient per square meter. If you, if you use a vacuum tubes or whatever you have on your, on your roof to capture the, the heat directly. That is per square meter more efficient. So there's also the, the, the interesting thing to see if you dive into it on the one hand, it's super complex. I can understand people saying how can this ever work? And, and, and, and some people say, I, I like a coal power fire power plant, and we'll just stick the CO2 underground because I understand this more coal, less coal means more, more energy, less energy, and nuclear is basically the same. So it's conceptually, uh, a much easier system. What we are, what we are proposing is much more complexTom Raftery:
Sure. Yeah.Auke Hoekstra:
But on the other hand, the nice thing of such complex systems is that there's tons of ways to achieve your goal. There's so many different storage technologies, so many different solar, energy production, uh, technologies, different solar cells, different ways to use heat to, to solar, into heat, and then electricity or whatever. So actually it's a whole suite of possible solutions and what those studies show that we have collected more or less, and that we, uh, tried to present and put into a, to, to in window. So to speak, to say, look, look it's there. So we don't have done anything new other than. Just present all the research in a, we hope very convincing way. And one of the things we show is there's so many different ways to do thisTom Raftery:
Mm. MmAuke Hoekstra:
worry. We'll get there.Tom Raftery:
And what about people who say. All these batteries for cars and for storage, for grids and all that are gonna require far more resources than we have on the entire planet.Auke Hoekstra:
Yeah, that's that's now basically the argument I'm mostly confronted with. I think the, the, most of humanity is still in the, in the face uh, um, how do we do that in winter with no solar wind, but, but yeah, the hardcore resistance right now comes from resources and, yeah. What you basically see there is that the stupid things to do it ways to do it and the smart ways to do it. And if you do it in stupid way, you require weeks and weeks and weeks of batteries worldwide for God knows what, how, how many energy, needs. And of course you want, uh, if you do it stupidly those batteries to, to use all the resources that we now use for our first generation battery in cars. And then you say. Oh my God. If we needed enough car batteries to power the world for four weeks, we would have a problem. And it's true. It's true. There's, there's basically ways to, to, to go around. Even that, for example, lithium has always mentioned, and, uh, there's a professor who works with, uh, four weeks of lithium batteries, uh, for, for the world. So to speak for all storage in the world. And he says, well, lithium will become a big problem. And he's right. If you do it his way, which you shouldn't, if you do it my way, so to speak, or the other authors in this study, you need about 10 times less. And then, lithium is fine. But even if you need it 10 times more lithium there's 5,000 times more lithium in the ocean, then we know how to find at currently at land. That's also something, by the way, E lithium a resource have always been about a hundred years in the future. And this always more or less how much it's been. So right now we're also. I'm not sure at the moment to be quite honest, because I look into this one year ago. So, but basically when we go looking for it, we find more that's, that's basically the story here because it's loads of, of lithium in, in, in, in, but we know not enough to find the core to, to make like, 10 billion cars or something, or, or, or maybe 3 billion cars and lots of, uh, loss station. There is not really a problem there. And there's 5,000 times more in the ocean. Resources, what you always see when you look critically is, that production ramp up is sometimes a serious problemTom Raftery:
because we need it now sometimes, or at least we need it. For example, in three or four years, and building a new mind can easily take usually seven years. Although if you really want to pay double price, I'm pretty sure a mine can be arranged more quickly for you. In many cases, but usually now it takes like seven or even 10 years to open new mind. And then we are looking at, oh my God, are we going to ramp up in time? So that is a, very serious, thing we have to look at, uh, also globally, where do we get our resources, by the way, one thing I, I want to mention here is that lots of people go, yeah, but we have to destroy all of nature. To mine, all these resources. And, uh, yeah, if you put a picture of a, of a mine next to it, it never looks nice. Mine never looks nice. Uh, uh, uh, green pastures always look better. And then you say, look, agriculture biofuels. That's nice. But those minds look at those minds. They're really ugly, but I, uh, uh, read a nature article recently who said that basically what they didn't tell you? They said, oh my, well, there were lots of problems, but if you, um, uh, looked at how much area actually is sort of contaminated is, is sort of taken away from nature by mines. If I remember correctly, 0.05% of the whole land surface, and we use about 50% for agriculture. So really if you care about the bees and the birds, birds, um, give some, some, some, some nature back and don't worry about the 0.05%. That's maybe becoming in the future. If we have this short ramp up phase zero points. 1% or something of land surface in mining. It it's really a drop in the bucket. Of course we shouldn't do it in range, forest, cetera. We just should do it sustainably. So it's very good. There's a lots of focus on it. And of course, child labor, et cetera, are break problems. Can I mention there by the way that a child labor has been a problem in cobalts for ages, and only now that we make cries out of them, people are worried about it, which I think is a good thing, but.Tom Raftery:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.Auke Hoekstra:
Let's not be too hypocritical about it.Tom Raftery:
So another question. Digging into that one. Just a little bit, that 0.05% of land that's used currently for mines. How much of that is mining for fossil fuels?Auke Hoekstra:
Yeah, actually most of it is coalTom Raftery:
so if we shut down that zero and convert that 0.05. Away from fossil fuels and into lithium, we might actually not need to go to 0.1. We might be able to go even below 0.05, but we should actually be shutting down the, the coal and the oil and the gas because they're hugely contaminating as well. Uh, even more so considering the, the, the use of their products.Auke Hoekstra:
Exactly. Exactly. It's it's basically as simple as that.Tom Raftery:
Nice. So.Auke Hoekstra:
Yes. I just looked it up and it was 0.05%.Tom Raftery:
Okay. Good. Good, good, good.Auke Hoekstra:
and indeed, there's been some follow ups on that study that actually show a little bit more, uh, lithium mines. Um, and then the, the difference between, uh, let's say the new materials. And the old materials coal mainly become a little bit less uneven, but still indeed it looks like, we're actually going to, to, if we could close all the coal mines first where we, we could use less area, but also there, because it's so little, the question becomes, um, how can we do it in a sustainable way? Where can we do it in such a way that, that the impact on nature is, is minimal and there's yeah, it's really crude. How we mind stuff at the moment. So there's lots of, uh, of improvements to, to be had you, you hear, I'm always an optimism, always looking at what can be improved. Am I, am I sure that we are going to get to a hundred percent renewable in 2050? Am I sure that all this mining is going to clean up? Am I sure that we come are closing all those coal? No, no, no. Not at all. Actually I sometimes get a little bit exasperated when I see what we're doing wrong. I mean, also look at Europe right now. Right. We knew we were, going to take a lot of gas and, uh, uh, we should build that down quicker. We knew, we knew that, that it was, uh, for the climate, but also for international relations, et cetera, a better idea to, to, to, to get more solar and wind quick. But we were just lazy and now, and now we have that, but, but I do say that, um, I think most people don't understand yet how much the war in, uh, Russian reservation of Ukraine has sort of solidified this movement towards renewables, including even, and I'm not against nuclear. Let me say that for the record again. I think it's. I think it's slow to build. And I think there's, there's some, some stuff you need to watch out for like proliferation cetera, but it's much better than call in my opinion and, and keeping a nuclear a little bit longer. I I'm a fan of that.Tom Raftery:
But now that you see that if Russia, uh, walks into a territory and, and there's a, a nuclear power plant in there, everybody gets really worried, really worried.Tom Raftery:
Believe me, if there were lots of solar panels and windmills around there, nobody would be worried. So I think this really solidifies the momentum. I mean, I mean, I'm not, I'm not saying nice. There is a war, right.Tom Raftery:
A hundred percent the opposite. But I do think this sort of exposes that the kind of look at how a predictable look at how, uh, I said trustworthy. These old source of energy are, and this new stuff, you cannot, you cannot trust it. That people are going to say, well, trust we, but yeah, we need a lot of gas and it wasn't there. I, I, that's not my definition of, of, of, of an issue. Sure. You can depend on. And this, this, this nuclear thingy seems to be a lot of times that that something can happen or the, the planet gets hot and you don't have the, the, the water to cool it. You can call it dependable. I call it a little bit worrisome. So if some nerd says I have enough storage and I have a complex solution, but believe me, we are going to get you through the winter weeks with solar and wind. All of a sudden, I'm now going to look a little bit more closely into that if you don't mind. So I really think this helps basically to, uh, to, to lower the temperature in 2100, a little.Tom Raftery:
Nice. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So you, you tweeted yesterday about solar and the fact that the deployment of solar has exceeded your expectations.Auke Hoekstra:
can you, can you talk a little bit about that for anyone who didn't see the tweet thread and is unaware of how much solar has been deployed?Auke Hoekstra:
Yeah. So one of the reasons I got a little bit famous in this very, very small, um, uh, energy, uh, nerd TWI, uh, circle on Twitter was that I show that if you looked at the yearly deployment of, uh, solar, that the international energy agency. But I only use them as a proxy because they're the most famous, uh, predictor of, uh, of, of energy systems. But basically everybody else was more or less predicting the same the day where if you look in, uh, more closely were basically predicting that the yearly solar additions wouldn't grow that fast, more or less horizontal even. And then you look at reality year on year on year. There's on average, over the last 30 years about. Actually an average of 50% growth and it's, it's very seldom. It gets below 30%. So that's an incredibly fast exponential growth with lots of extra power coming online every year. And now I just, I, I don't update that graph every year anymore because it, I find it's boring. but now I read that Bloomberg new energy finance had sort of, uh, made an inventory of, uh, the amount of poly Silicon. There was sort of planned worldwide in 2025 and there they reached the magic number of one terror wa of poly Silicon. If you put all this poly Silicon that's, let's now planned to be produced in 2025.Tom Raftery:
And, and I have to be make a little caveat here. Not all planned, uh, capacity will come online. On the other hand, there's a lot of capacity that we don't know yet. Um, that is. Welcome online so often. Um, uh, let's say you lose 30% of what you now have in your bucket. You think? Uh, oh, but there's also 30% that you didn't know existed. That's all of a sudden coming into your bucket. So actually I think we might very well have one terawatt, and that's immense amount of poly Silicon in 2025. And then maybe it will take until 2027, uh, 20, 26, 27 until become solar panels because that usually reacts a little bit, but this is an amount of solar energy. Even my graph was like, yeah, you really have to extend this exponential from 2022 to 2025 to match what the industry is doing right now. And at that trajectory, Solar is blowing everything outta the water. I'm not saying that if we just stayed at one terawatt a year in 2027, for example, 25, we would be there in 2040, 2050. But I am saying if this, exponential growth is some sort of logistics curve, if it is an S curve, that's going somewhere, then it's going somewhere at amazing speed. This is like 2030. We get 60% of our energy from solar or something. So it'll probably flatten out because even in my mind it can be that simple, but, but it's, it's crazy. And. You know, the same thing we see with batteries, which are, uh, battery factory, uh, uh, are, are coming online, like crazy. And everybody's worried about China because actually they're getting their ducks in a row very nicely, but nothing keeps us from, uh, from doing the same there's enough, uh, resources worldwide. And we should open some mines, yes. We already talked about that. Um, the same amazing things are happening in, uh, in wind energy because it's a very quiet. Very, yeah, a revolution on the background, wind power. The only thing that happens is these blades are getting longer and longer and longer, and the prices are getting lower and lower and lower, but this is actually game changing, all the way, including we're getting better and better at floating wind, for example, which, which opens up all kinds of newer, uh, applications. Then we have this seasonal storage thing that I have to admit at the moment is still pretty expensive. We, we know how to do it on a megawatt scale, but not really on a, on a, on a gig what scale, but that is getting cheaper and cheaper and cheaper, fast. So getting a lot of hydrogen from, for sample offshore, wind would already solve almost all problems. If we, if, if that was the way to go. So this, if you look at this field, like I do, there's so many breakthroughs happening every year that it's breathtaking.Tom Raftery:
And again, another argument that's often thrown out there. What do, what do we do with all these batteries when they come to end of life?Auke Hoekstra:
Well at the moment, the only problem is how do we produce enough batteries? Because almost no batteries, larger batteries are already even close to, uh, end of life, ask yourself how many electric vehicles were sold in 2001. That's how much, how much, uh, you have to sort of recycle now. Well, it's, it's a trickle, so first we have to ramp up, but then in the laboratory we can already recycle about 95% of the material. And actually we can probably get a little bit higher than that still. so the, the big problem recycling is, is getting the, I would say capitalist system ready to embrace it, to make sure that throwing away stuff. Is gonna cost a little bit more than recycling it, but it's not, it's not that hard actually. And in the end, if we need enough resources, it will become cheaper because basically recycling is a little bit more complex than throwing stuff away. And what we see over the whole, the whole range of solutions is that complex solutions are basically winning out in the end. If, if it's resource use versus complexity, Complexity takes time, but it wins out in the end because it's simply if, once you understand how it works, it's cheaper.Tom Raftery:
Okay. Auke, we're coming towards the end of the podcast now, is there any question that I haven't asked that you wish I had, or any aspect of this we haven't touched on that you think it's important for people to be aware?Auke Hoekstra:
No, actually I think we covered everything quite nicely and uh, I just hope that people take away from this podcast two messages. One is it's not going to be easy people who tell you that they're right, because this is one of the biggest, transitions that humanity has ever known. If you, if you look at, in, in terms of material flows, in terms of money flows, that it, it, by far the biggest transition that we've ever done as humanity. We are going to be the generation that completely transitions all of humanity from burning stuff, which we all know would, would end quite quickly into, very sustainable solutions or we don't survive. It's as simple as that, but on the other hand, I hope to, for them to take, uh, uh, apart from that more or less heroic story, whether we want it or not that we have in front of us, uh, I want them to get hope from this story, basically, because there's so many ways we can solve this and we, we can, even if we want to, have the stupid capitalist system, what we do it now in place and, and not upgrade it to, for example, looking at smarter things than, gross national product, because I think that's still, uh, not the best way to measure progress in, in a country. So. We don't have to change that fundamentally, as a society. So, so it's not like this is some, crazy scheme and we need to transform everything in the world in order to achieve this. No, we just have to get our duck in a row in terms of energy. It's eminently doable, our paper, I think shows that nobody doubts that. Maybe it's gonna be 10% more expensive than we do at the moment. Maybe it's going to be more or less expensive. We think so, but nevertheless, it can be done. And, uh, yeah, I hope people take heart.Tom Raftery:
Superb. Superb. Great. Auke that's been really interesting if people want to know more about yourself or any of the things we discussed in the podcast today, where would you have me direct them?Auke Hoekstra:
The easiest way is certainly Twitter. My name at Auke Hoekstra. I'm not sure how you spell it in English actually,Tom Raftery:
It's okay. I'll I I'll have a link in the show notes to, to your Twitter handle and anything else you want me to put in there?Auke Hoekstra:
that's great.Tom Raftery:
Perfect. Auke. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.Auke Hoekstra:
You're very welcome.Tom Raftery:
Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about Climate 21, feel free to drop me an email to Tom Raftery at outlook.com, or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you like the show, please, don't forget to click follow on it in your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show Thanks. Catch you all next time.