EVs, wind, and solar are neither reliable nor environmentally friendly: here’s why – LifeSite

(LifeSiteNews) — Various governments have made commitments to expand the use of electric vehicles (EVs) and alternative energy systems. The stated objectives include reducing pollution, improving human health and the environment, protecting the environment and providing reliable energy at lower costs. Among those jumping on this band wagon are the governments of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union, and the Governorate of Vatican City State.

Here’s the big question: Will adopting these technologies achieve these goals? To get an answer, we will examine what they require for operation, decommissioning and supporting infrastructure.

For starters, EV batteries require lithium, whose mining needs 2 metric tons of water for every 1 kilogram (kg) of extracted metal. To put things into perspective, each Tesla battery requires about 10 kg of lithium, which means that 20 metric tons of water are needed for each battery. To make matters worse, lithium is usually found in deserts that lack readily available water in large quantities.

EV batteries also require cobalt, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo being the largest producer and exporter of cobalt. Unfortunately, the expansion of cobalt mines has turned green areas into barren lands and often employs child labor in the extraction. For instance, Kasulo, located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and formerly a popular urban neighborhood, has been made unlivable since underground ores began to be exploited in 2014.

As if these weren’t enough, EVs and wind and solar energy systems require rare earth metals. The mining of these results in environmental destruction, including deforestation, soil erosion, water contamination, loss of wildlife habitats, changes in landscapes, air pollution and adverse health effects to miners, including lead poisoning.

Thus, instead of reducing pollution and protecting the environment, switching to EVs and alternative energy systems does the opposite, beginning with the mining of necessary materials.

The construction of the infrastructure needed for alternative energy systems (e.g., hydro, solar, wind and geothermal) requires more than four times the amount of materials (e.g., steel, glass, copper, cement/concrete, aluminum, iron, lead, plastic and silicon) than conventional energy systems (coal, natural gas and nuclear). Compared to coal-fired power plants, land requirements for solar and wind energy systems are about 33 and 179 times more, respectively. These high material and land costs increase the cost of energy.

During their operation, solar energy systems and wind turbines kill birds, with the latter being fatal to bats as well, and have proved to be unreliable.

Reliability issues induced by over-reliance on wind and solar have arisen in numerous locales around the globe. For instance, California has been converting to solar, decommissioning all but one of its coal-fired power plants and all but one of its nuclear power plants and minimizing its use of gas-fired power. As a result, the state experienced rolling blackouts during a heat wave in the summer of 2020.

Similarly, Texas invested heavily in wind and solar only to have both fail miserably during a winter storm in February 2021. Frozen wind turbines and snow-covered solar panels left much of Texas without electric power for long periods, which led to the deaths of more than 200 people and billions of dollars in economic losses. The following July, natural gas power plants were called upon to make up for failing wind and solar energy systems during a heat wave.

During the winter of 2020-21, Germany had an experience similar to that of Texas when wind and solar succumbed to the effects of cold and snow. Since the country began switching to wind and solar around 2000, the price of German electricity has more than tripled.

In short, wind and solar energy systems are not cheap, reliable or environmentally friendly.

EVs also prove to be dangerous, unreliable and expensive. Because their lithium-ion batteries store so much chemical and electrical energies, EVs have become known as fire hazards. Compared to internal combustion engines, the power systems of EVs produce fires that are harder to extinguish because the batteries could reignite and cooling the battery pack is difficult. To make matters worse, EV fires may release large amounts of poisonous gases, such as hydrogen fluoride.

RELATED: Trudeau’s electric vehicle mandate could cause Canada’s power grid to collapse, analysis shows

Cold weather is a nemesis of EVs, as it is for many battery-operated devices. Temperatures below 32 °F (0 °C) can cause the driving range of EVs to drop significantly or even render the vehicle useless due to the increase in the internal resistance of lithium-ion batteries at cold temperatures. Charging EVs in cold weather can significantly increase the time needed for recharging and may cause permanent battery damage.

While it’s true that EVs do not have exhaust emissions, one needs to consider that there are other types of emissions, including particulate matter (PM) from brake wear, tire wear, road wear and resuspension of road dust. Because EVs are 24% heavier (due to their batteries) compared to their equivalent internal combustion engine vehicles, EVs emit about the same amounts of PM10 and emit only about 1-3% less PM2.5 than internal combustion engine vehicles. In fact, there is a positive relationship between the vehicle weight and its particulate matter emissions.

Finally, the disposing of EV batteries and the decommissioning of wind turbines and solar panels are both problematic environmental issues.

EV batteries last about 5 to 10 years and need to be replaced when their output goes below 80% of their initial capacities. Storing, burying, and exporting these used lithium-ion batteries are no longer acceptable. Unfortunately, the direct recycling of these batteries, with high remaining capacities, would be prohibitively expensive and highly energy- and resource-intensive, and would pollute the air, water and land.

RELATED: ‘National EV mandate’: Biden administration regulations aim to end sale of gas-powered cars by 2032

Similarly, the blades of wind turbines last about 10 years. The life of wind-turbine towers and solar panels is about 25 years. Only a few landfills in the United States are large enough to handle the wind turbine blades. Solar panels are not particularly welcome in landfills, because they contain toxic materials, such as lead and cadmium, that can leach into soil. Dr. Wallace Manheimer noted that despite these dangers, solar panels have been put in landfills because “the cost of the recycled materials is considerably more than the cost of the raw materials.”

EVs and wind and solar energy are not environmentally friendly nor provide reliable and affordable energy and transportation. They should be discontinued for the well-being of humanity and the environment.

Frits Byron Soepyan has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from The University of Tulsa and has worked as a process systems engineer and a researcher in energy-related projects.

Previous ArticleNext Article