National security needs eclectic view

Your nation’s security faces a wide range of threats: tanks, planes, storms, climate change and pandemics. But cast your net even wider. Dr Kelly applies engineering discipline in his scrutiny of UK national disaster policy. With lessons for all nations.

Published by permission. First published in The Critic July/August 2020

Warming not the only threat

The vast sums spent in the UK and globally on climate change mitigation have never been subject to a rigorous cost-benefit analysis. To date they have had no measurable impact on the climate, let alone climate change and have thus been a colossal waste of money. Recent events have shown us that climate change is just one of many challenges facing our world today, so it is sensible to ask for every pound spent on climate change, how much money should be set aside to prepare us for other threats: Carrington events (solar electromagnetic storms), pandemics, global financial collapse, volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis and more? What is the appropriate level of global insurance, and where is the insurance for poorer countries? Continue Reading →

The NZ ambition to replace internal-combustion engines with electric cars

Ever wondered what’s inside the famous Tesla battery? More batteries. Thousands.

— by Dr Michael Kelly,
University of Cambridge, UK.

May, 2020.

Next time you stand for 90 seconds filling your petrol tank, you might think of the enormous energy flow. Chemical energy is entering your tank at typically 17 million joules per second, or a gigantic 17 megawatts.

That’s equivalent to the energy given off by 17,000 one-bar electric heaters (imagine 6 tennis courts covered in them) or 24 hours of average power consumption (24 kWh) for 700 New Zealand households. A full tank (about 1,500 megawatts) would run those 700 houses for three full months. Continue Reading →