Björn Peters is a German physicist and energy economist, as well as the co-founder and CFO of the nuclear-energy startup, Dual Fluid Energy. In this episode, Peters explains why Europe’s energy crisis is all “policy made,” why it’s wrong to blame Russia for the crisis, how the push for weather-dependent renewables became “a goal in itself,” why SMRs must be scaled up quickly, and why Germany’s energy mistakes are “making life difficult” for other countries in Europe.
Robert Bryce 0:04
Hi, everyone. Welcome to this episode of the power hungry Podcast. I’m Robert Bryce. On this podcast, we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And I’m pleased to welcome Bjorn Peters. He is the co founder and CFO of a Canadian company, a Canadian Nuclear company called dual fluid energy, Bjorn. Welcome to the power hungry podcast.
Björn Peters 0:23
Thanks for having me. It’s a great honor. Well,
Robert Bryce 0:27
we’ll, I hope you think so when we get done. So you wear many hats, Bjorn. And I didn’t warn you, but guests on this podcast introduce themselves. So I’m talking to you largely because of your activism in Europe and in particularly in Germany around nuclear. But if you don’t mind, imagine you have about a minute or so to introduce yourself to a people group of people who don’t know you, please go ahead and introduce yourself.
Björn Peters 0:53
Oh, but I’m a physicist and an energy economist by training, I come to the to the Energy Policy via being an investor at Deutsche Bank for for renewable energies, mostly. But I found out that this was that there was lots of issues around the energy transition. So I started getting into the policy space. And since about 10 years, I’m publishing and writing about energy, about the German energy transition. And so that is, I’m a political adviser to some to the, to those who listen, and
Robert Bryce 1:37
you need more of those, you’re gonna listen in Germany, no.
Björn Peters 1:41
And it’s sad for my for my daily living. I’m a consultant to some companies, I help them becoming bankable. And I’ve gone into the startup scenery more and more, and I was co founder of two fluid energy. And that is a company that tries to really reinvent nuclear in a in a very drastic way, in reinvent the business model of nuclear energy, and so I find this even more. I can change more when I’m successful in a dual fluid energy than if I’m a politician, I believe.
Robert Bryce 2:25
Good. Okay. Well, let we’ll we’ll get to dual fluid. But since you’re German and you’re in, you said, you’re outside of Frankfurt. Now you live outside of Frankfurt. I wanted to get your update on what’s happening in Europe. I’ve written about Europe, I’ve talked a lot about it. And there the from where I sit, the European energy crisis only seems like it’s getting worse. But then I’m not there. So tell me what, give us the update on what’s happening, how you see what’s happening in Germany, and more broadly, in Europe now, around gas supplies, electricity, the future of nuclear, etc. Give us a quick update, please.
Björn Peters 2:59
Yeah, the thing is that this energy crisis started in the first half of 2021. And it’s in I believe it is entirely policy made. We were facing very low winds, in particular in Western Europe. And the answer was burning more gas in order to provide sufficient amount of power. In Brazil, there was a drought, so not enough hydropower. So what they did, what did they do? They bought LNG and burned it in the in the power stations. So this scarcity of gas was building up until mid 2021. And I was actually giving an interview somewhere, saying we are in the we will seen an energy crisis here. I couldn’t imagine how severe it could get actually. And then came the Russian war, and the scarcity was building up and up. And even in Germany, we didn’t order more gas. I don’t know why. It’s, I think that’s a miracle. So usually, when you think if you consume more gas, you just order more. Putin was saying, well, we delivered exactly what the Germans were ordering. And I have no reason to doubt this. So maybe the wrong people were were ordering. And so came the shift from 2021 to 2022. And we had about quadrupling in power in gas, and of course related in carbon markets.
Robert Bryce 4:36
So carbon is linked quadrupling in prices
Björn Peters 4:39
between beginning of 2021 and 20. End of 2020. And yeah, sorry. Yeah, the prices were cut quadrupling. And as everyone with a clear mind knows that prices are scarcity signals and high prices mean high scarcity. So the scarcity was Building up nearly a year ago. And then came the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the loss of pipelines for whatsoever reasons. I mean, that’s, we can discuss these separately, but we effectively lost them. And now we are really in the middle of very severe winter, our guest storage is full, actually, we acquire guests at insane prices, driving markets up all over the world. But that’s good when you’re when you have deep pockets, you can do it. And now we have to pray for a mild winter, because if the wind is getting cold, then the gas supplies will not be enough. And we have to, we’ll have to make tough decisions.
Robert Bryce 5:52
So let me follow up on that. Because I testified before the US Senate last fall’s pointing out that Europe was already having problems. So what do you how do you respond to the people who are saying about the European energy crisis? And I had to guest on recently say, Well, why is Europe in an energy crisis? And he said Vladimir Putin, is that true? Does it can Europe blame all of its problems on Putin?
Björn Peters 6:15
Absolutely not. I mean, the all the reasons that we are in this crisis are policy made. The one was the the the increasing reliance on weather related energy forms. And if you depend on the weather, you need to understand what it means. But nobody asked that questions. The right questions about the spatial temporal behavior of weather and whether it fits to our energy needs. And
Robert Bryce 6:40
if you don’t mind, because I think this is just such a key point. I mean, that, here’s how I view it beyond it. To me, it’s very simple. If we’re facing more extreme weather because of climate change, why in the world, would we make our electric grid depend on the weather? I’m seeing this too simply, am I just because I’m from Oklahoma, and I slow that this was a dumb idea.
Björn Peters 7:00
Actually, I don’t share the the the the the premise that extreme weather is getting more more frequent, and if so on a very slow scale. But even the the the elementaries of what is weather and how what how, how broad are the distributions of possible weathers, we have never bothered to understand, I mean, we are actually lacking some sort of a statistical metrology that deals with the full distributions of what weather actually is. And then if you if you take certain weather parameters, such as the wind speed at 100 meters hate and the solar irradiation, that is the determinant, those are the determining factors for for a renewable energy system. They have might have other specifics. So the the we know from the Bible that there may be seven set years and several seven meager years. But we have no clue whether there are seven years with good wind and seven years with bedwin. Because nobody ever bothered asking the question.
Robert Bryce 8:15
That’s a great point that these and that the changes in these weather patterns could be far more sustained than anything we’ve seen before. And this was one of the points, I think, a great point that you made just a moment ago about that the gas storage in Europe was falling already last year because of low wind speeds. Right. And this was, and then by February, then when when Putin invaded Ukraine, storage was very low. And he had a strategic advantage just in terms of the gas supply. Is that fair? Fair analysis?
Björn Peters 8:45
Absolutely. So with the this reliance on gas, I mean, we had it already 20 years ago, when we started the fast build out track of solar and wind energy,
Robert Bryce 8:55
under the under you’re speaking about Germany, and it with the energy vendor here specifically or broadly in Europe,
Björn Peters 9:00
but it’s not so solid, all Europe did similar things. We were just a little bit ahead. So the investment markets for solar and wind energy were particularly good, we’ve paid half of the learning curve of the global solar market in the in the first years of the of the century. That is, so we played an even more important role, but we have a renewable energy directive in Europe as well. And so the this reliance on on weather dependent energies, how I call them because that’s the probably the more appropriate term that has spread all over Europe. And it has become a goal in itself without asking what you really can achieve with it. Initially, we wanted to decarbonize the grid, but whether weather dependent energies could actually do that Job. There were very superficial studies around it. And still until the very date. In many scientific institutes, you have studies that say, Okay, we test one, we test this that system for one year. And if it works, it’s okay. But the trick is that in in weather, you need to understand the longest doldrum, and the longest period of cloud covered skies. And this is totally eras, irrespective of climate change. Climate change is then an additional risk factor. Because we don’t, we’d say we don’t know the state, but we don’t know how it evolves. And whether whether it gets better or worse through climate change. This really,
Robert Bryce 10:50
I’m sorry to interrupt again, Bjorn. But that’s just a great point. And it’s one that I hadn’t thought about in the way you’ve couched it that there wasn’t sufficient understanding of you say, the wind doldrums, or the cloud cover and how long those can last. So independent of what the climate may do in the future, we weren’t there wasn’t sufficient understanding of what’s happening or what the potential occurrences are. Now I did. That’s a just a great point. And I hadn’t, well, I hadn’t thought of that. So yeah, that’s, that’s great.
Björn Peters 11:18
I’m also prepared, we’re going away in a blind blind flight. And we don’t know whether our plane will land aware and and or whether it will crash or whatever. And that’s, that’s one point. And actually, the second very important point of policy implications on this crisis is the defund movement. So starting about 567 years ago at Wall Street, and being popular a little bit everywhere around the globes, I was working in asset management at the time, and people started pulling out money out of fossil fuel companies. And that is very crucial in in previous times, in a time where gas is missing on the market, some people have some companies, upstream companies will say, OK, let’s start drilling more. And we will end with within months, they would have reacted to the high prices and would have made a huge profit out of it. But now they are defunded, and there is not enough money in the sector. So the sector couldn’t respond quickly enough. And then I believe in the US we have a few specific topics there with the Biden administration, not not granting sufficient land for for children. So all of this crisis that we’re facing is really policy made. And it’s not falling from the heavens.
Robert Bryce 12:50
Well, then, so just follow up on that, then we’ll so I want to talk about you’ve recently published in September, you published a very good paper called the Global renaissance of nuclear energy. You also published a paper in about the German electricity market, and what would happen with nuclear plant if you extended the life of six nuclear plants in in in Germany? And what effect positive effect are in that would have in terms of lowering prices, but before we get to those, so give me the prescription, then you’ve laid out, you’ve said this is all this is all policy made? This disaster is all due to policy. It’s not due to Putin, Putin, Putin accelerated it, but the policy decisions were already causing the crisis. So what’s needed? What should happen right now, if I made you, it made you the energy minister of all of Europe, and you’d have the decision making authority? What would you do? Well,
Björn Peters 13:39
it’s very simple, actually, in short term, what you can do when some good is scarce, you produce more of it. And we have still serious plans of shutting down nuclear power plants all over the Europe, cold coal power plants. I mean, it’s not good for our carbon footprint, but these errors were made years ago. So we won’t have the option to steer it back. Because what is happening if there’s really if energy is scarce, people will stop burning everything to have heat in their home. And for the pollution situation. You can see this already in in Warsaw, where air quality has deterred very much so it’s really going badly there. And 40% of Poland Poland, Polish people don’t know how to get their their homes warm at those high prices. We don’t have numbers yet for Germany, but it will be very similar because everything is getting much more expensive in terms of an energy in times of an energy crisis. So money will be missing somewhere and if it’s really stuck staying cold in your home, because there is in the In a town, because there is no gas supply, guess what people would be doing? They would probably go out and and riot and do everything to secure their supplies. I mean, this is really serious.
Robert Bryce 15:15
Well, I’ve also seen reports about that forests in Germany being cut down now people live to burn firewood is this is this the case as well that there’s already scarcities of or lack of supply of firewood?
Björn Peters 15:29
Absolutely. I mean, everybody, I do have a fire oven. And I bought. So I filled my, my supplies there for so I would get through the winter, but I ordered it relatively early. So of course, the supplies are limited. And we will have to see who gets what
Robert Bryce 15:52
I have to ask you because I saw this comment. In fact, it was just a few days ago. And today’s October 17. It was Angela Merkel. And she was giving a speech in Lisbon just recently. And she was asked about the her governments that she was in power for 16 years during which much of this, this policy happened. And she said You always act in the time you were in. And she said you didn’t regret her decisions. And then she said, from the perspective, this is a quote from the perspective of that time, it was very rational and understandable to get pipeline gas, including from Russia, that was cheaper from LNG from other parts of the world. And she added it even in the Cold War, Russia was a reliable energy supplier. I mean, there are a lot of people who are involved here. But should she be held accountable for this this current crisis that Germany is in.
Björn Peters 16:43
She encapsulated the previous chancellor, of course, and all parties, essentially all parties that are in the parliament have played that game. It was more or less, it was not really invented by by the socialist green coalition of 1998 to 2005. This started in about 1996. They started around in around 2090 90, when the Christian liberal coalition of the of the 1990s built out or explored the space of solar and wind energy, and at a time, I mean, everybody was happy with it, it was small scale, and it was about getting to scale. And there were lots of thinking around it. And then in in 1998, it was the socialists and the green government that that introduced a an investment scheme for solar and wind energy, where you couldn’t lose money, or really, actually, you could, but
Robert Bryce 17:55
that you had to try to lose money
Björn Peters 17:58
still depend on the weather. And we had very weak wind years in the middle of the zeros. But but that’s another story. So essentially, this the all the governments were acting as if they were just the political arm of the wind and solar lobby. So everything that went into the laws could have written directly by the by the boardroom of a wind power company. And that is very strange. So I don’t even think that they had there was open corruption around it, just everybody believed this was the right thing. And so Mercury certainly has to be has to be blamed for the for the nuclear phase out. There’s another story around it in 2009 Merkel and the Liberals campaigned for and with a program that said we will need nuclear energy much longer than until 2022 We can do the phase out only 10 years later, which is I mean debatable. But whether we can we will be ready to build on weather dependent energy sources by 2020 32. But so they at the initial date by set by the by the greens and the socialists, that used to be 2022. And then so they campaign and they made a very thorough study on the conditions of the energy transition in Germany. And it the result was okay, we really need nuclear energy for more time, then just to 2022 It won’t be enough. You can’t speed up wind and solar deployment and storage in a in a timeframe that is sufficient. And then came Fukushima and suddenly she switched off her brain and just said, Okay, we have to react here to, to anxiety and she wasn’t leading, she was following the trends like she was actually doing all the time. I just never really led big, big changes, and was just overwhelmed by what was happening. And therefore, everybody takes her in foreign countries, I’ve had many conversation that she was considered to be a great leader. But actually, I didn’t see any example where she really led the pack and said, Well, this is what we have to do.
Robert Bryce 20:34
So you’re saying that Merkel just she was responding to the political whim of the moment, instead of saying, No, we need to take a longer term look at what our energy security is. Yeah. Yeah. Well, so let’s talk just a minute about to your paper that you published. This is in I think it was in August that you published it, but you did an analysis. By the way, I have to ask so you’re I speak No, German Your English is excellent. Where did you Where did you go to school in England? We’re Why is your English is so so good.
Björn Peters 21:03
My will thank you very much. First place. Actually, I had some years at school, I did. Cambridge, first certificate training can recommend this very well. You learn a little bit about grammar. And then I, I focus totally on French. So I for sometimes I try to speak French both perfectly well. And I could do it actually, for speaking 20 minutes without a single error in it. And then when once I came back to, to science, and to serve my PhD time, and and my first job was with McKinsey, and this was always in an English speaking environment. And so I had to get practiced in this. And then I guess your your English, English doesn’t get worse when you when you watch Downton Abbey or something like this. That’s the pleasure to watch in the original language, of course. And it’s really a pleasure. And my daughters have picked it up very, very well, as well as
Robert Bryce 22:08
that’s in what’s your, your native German? Where, what, where are you from in Germany, what’s your hometown?
Björn Peters 22:15
I was it’s a very small village, little bit north of oil, with a tremendous history that goes back for 10 1000s of years, literally. So very close to that. So I grew up in a castle that was on a rock, and only two, three kilometers away or two miles, sorry, two miles away, they found the oldest music instruments about 27,000 years old. So this must have been this area must have been populated for a very, very long time. Well,
Robert Bryce 22:47
okay. But you don’t live near home anymore. You’re living closer to Frankfurt. Now, this is a different part of
Björn Peters 22:54
I moved to, for my for university, I had to move from there. Sure. So it’s not so attractive. Now in inability to have no university. So I picked mines, which is very old Roman time as well, the town. And I, essentially, I met my wife and so I had a few other stations. So yeah, a few other living places. And in France and in England, and, and so but in Berlin, and then buddy, I came back, and I’m living out here since long.
Robert Bryce 23:31
Gotcha. Well, so just want to hit quickly on, I want to get on the the paper you wrote on the global renaissance of nuclear energy. But you also wrote another paper, you’ve been busy lately on energy prices, or electricity prices in Germany. And this paper translated from German, the global Renaissance papers in English, but you wrote that the simulation that you did on the German electricity market show the strong nonlinear effect of maintaining nuclear power plants on the affordability of energy. And then you you’ve already talked about scarcity. And the punchline here is that we you said that if we if to keep the existing or six nuclear power plants online, would result in a reduction in price and the wholesale price of roughly 50%. If I summarized it pretty well.
Björn Peters 24:20
That’s the case. We have several effects here that all play towards price reductions and first of all, nuclear energy in Germany. So the old power plants, we don’t speak about new power plants or old power plants that are written off, and they just don’t just need to earn money for the fuel and the operations. They operate at about Yeah, below two cents per kilowatt hour. So they are cheap. So and we’re talking about so we Germany has now three nuclear power stations in operations, and another three was switched of just last December, right. And two of those could be brought back online relatively quickly. So the decommissioning hasn’t really started yet. While the third one, or the sixth one, which is in southern Germany, actually, just a minute how the crow flies or to five minutes or so, from this very village where I grew up, in goon Remington, they have started decommissioning work, and it would be possible, but difficult to bring it back online. But with six nuclear power plant, they produce in total, something like 60s 65 terawatt hour per year, and that is about 12% of the entire power market and the power market is very inelastic. So usually reacts, have a lot on on demand shifts. So 12% in year average, I mean, that really makes a lot. And what I found out when when dealing with the data is that there is a transition from in the married order. So first, you have other than nuclear power plants, then the lignite power plants and the heart coal power plants. And then there’s a jump that didn’t used to be so pronounced towards gas fired power plants right now in this gas crisis guessed, became much more expensive than coal and the power out of gas
Robert Bryce 26:33
and the merit order and the Manage order, just to clarify, the merit order is the cost to produce that they’re dispatched based on the cost per per watt hour and how they’re dispatched into the market. Is that Is that what you’re talking about? When you discuss merit order,
Björn Peters 26:45
in any market with a with a commodity? Do you have a certain demand and the supplier, the last, the most expensive supplier that can deliver into that market sets the price for everybody else, right now, in under the condition that this is a transparent market and an end, but for power markets, it’s, that’s a very good assumption to take, okay. And in this, in this, so the, actually, the power plants line up naturally, according to their cost, and the more demand there is, the more power plants will have to deliver. And each time you increase demand, you get in a more expensive power plant. And so it builds up, the price builds up. And now what happens when, when you come when you arrive at this coal gas switch. In previous times, because there’s carbon texting and calling gas weren’t really expensive, it was not such a big, it was more more or less a linear ramp. But nowadays with 200 megawatt two euros per megawatt hour in gas, this leads to some 450 euros for the power out of out of gas power plant. And so the very important question is how often do you have gas power in the grid, so that it’s price determining for the entire market. And with these eight and a half gigawatts in in nuclear power, at an average consumption of around 50 to 60 gigawatt. So this makes, this brings down the number of hours you are in the gas realm, quite drastic quite significantly. And because gas nowadays is three times more expensive than coal power. So it’s a huge price shift. And that was the primary effect. And then there are secondary effects. So if we use more more nuclear, then we will consume less coal and gas. So the those markets are not as much in stress any longer. It’s not a huge effect. But again, all those markets are relatively inelastic. So they strongly react on price signals, although this is not pure science. So it’s very difficult to assess. So the 50% it’s an it’s a ballpark number, but it’s just showing that is really significant. And then the second effect is that if we use less carbon, fossil fuels in the in the power market, we will use will need less carbon emission certificates. So the markets are are relieved as well. And less demand means lower prices.
Robert Bryce 29:43
That’s a good summary. I liked the way you put that and I you mentioned it before that this is energy an energy crisis you wrote this. This is via Google Translate. You said more generally, an energy crisis is characterized by high prices, high prices or scarcity prices. and scarcity can easily be remedied, remedied by expanding supply. And what I hear you saying, if I’d feed that back to you, in the electricity market, that price is determined at the margin, right, even a small, you know, relatively small increases in same in oil and gas and many different commodities. But you argue whether electricity is a commodity, but that’s a separate discussion. But any, any marginal increase in supply will have a big impact on price. So, even though this is
Björn Peters 30:26
why in some hours it does, and then suddenly, you fall from 450 to 130 euros or so, per megawatt hour. And that makes a big, big difference. And then there’s another effect, if you need more power. The power gets more expensive, but the you buy more of it. So there’s there’s a double effect in the average pricing. Gotcha. But when it’s cheap, you buy less when you went, it’s expensive to buy more of it.
Robert Bryce 30:57
But your volume purchase at higher prices is bigger. Right? Yeah. So that magnifies that impact on the economy. So what is what is the this is one of the first questions that I had written here, and we didn’t get to it until just now. So what is the effect on German industry? I mean, how much of it has closed has shuttered? I know, I wrote recently about euro Matau and the the non ferrous metal producers across Europe the fertilizer producers across Europe and heavy industry of all kinds shutting down what’s the situation in Germany now? How severe is this? In these are because these companies these industries, they were they call them the middle strand? Is that what their name is the the mid the medium size industrial companies? What’s their condition? Now?
Björn Peters 31:39
While the medium sized industrials in Germany, it’s a different definition, then then worldwide, I believe worldwide, you think about companies with 50 employees are so here it is 250 to 10,000 employees, and we have 1000s of those companies being probably somewhere market leader work market leader in their particular niche, and many of them are getting out of business or moving to countries with with better energy economies. So in case you manage to keep prices, energy prices down in the US, Germans in general like you the US so. So there might be more companies coming over. And and so weakening our economy and strengthening yours. But that’s the price for bed energy policies, I guess.
Robert Bryce 32:34
We’ll see what effect has there been a numbers published about how many, you know, as a percentage of your overall industry? I know BASF your giant, you know, multi, you know, the chemical and industrial giant, they are heavily dependent on natural gas, and they’ve talked about closing down some of their operations. Do you have any indication about how many companies have shut down what percentage of German companies are under stress or going bankrupt? Well,
Björn Peters 32:59
that the first database is but I haven’t seen any stretch statistics around it. But what I see is that in the newspaper every day, there’s essentially this news about companies quitting and or quitting Germany or quitting the business at all.
Robert Bryce 33:21
A quick station breakout. Glad to be talking to my friend, Bjorn Peters, my new friend, we were introduced by our mutual friend Mark Nelson, who’s been on the podcast many times. Bjorn is the co founder and CFO of dual fluid energy. You can find them online at dual hyphen fluid.com. Bjorn is also on he’s also a co founder of the nuclear pride coalition. And you can follow him on Twitter at Bjorn Peters be j are in Peters, three bjR in Peters three on Twitter. Well, let’s turn now if you don’t mind, Bjorn. To your recent paper, this one just was published in the last couple of days. And it’s something that I’ve thought about and have talked about a lot. I haven’t written much about it. I’ve written some about it, but the title is the global renaissance of nuclear energy. And it was published in a paper on current current dot d.
Björn Peters 34:15
Now it is actually the German journal for for nuclear economy.
Robert Bryce 34:22
Okay, got it. So, tell me, you know, we’ve heard this before, and I’m just gonna play devil’s advocate here, right. But I can cite many examples in just in the last few weeks of things that are very positive on the nuclear industry front. Why or tell me your headline is the global renaissance of nuclear energy is this time? Is it real? Is this time different than the other times we’ve heard about this?
Björn Peters 34:47
Well, since I joined the team of inventors that dual fluid four years ago, and we started our company last year in January last year, it got the finance thing, right. And so that was mainly my task, of course, as a CFO. We went to lots of conferences and we personally as well, so I actually like representing the company and listening to people and, and learning about the industry because I am not a nuclear physicist that I did physics but but statistical physics stuff and a PhD in brain sciences. And so very so in a way, I never had much contact with it. When nuclear energy until relatively recently, so I, I had lots of conversation and listened to many speeches of people from SMR companies mainly. And I realized that what we’re doing a dual fluid, this, this innovation in several dimensions, we’re not the only ones. Many of the SMR companies actually pursued that way. And, and so together, this could have a very fundamental impact on how people view energy and climate by mid century. And let me let me get into this. So the, the first technical innovation that is really important, is about simplicity, that we have to make nuclear reactors much more simple, much simpler than they are, ideally that you don’t need a nuclear engineer on site. And this is possible with some designs. Very much, I don’t know how far you have your listeners are into nuclear energy. So there are different types of fuels, solid fuel and liquid fuel. And those with the liquid fuel have a big advantage over those with the with the solid fuels in some dimensions. And so this is designed to simplicity is very important. Second is temperature. Actually, when you build a power plant that operates at 270 degrees Celsius, that’s very nice. You can produce power quite efficiently. But if you have 567 100,000 degrees, and some of the reactor designs allow for that, you can fuel chemical reactions directly. You can produce synthetic fuels in arbitrary quantities. So we could even stay with our stick to with our combustion engines, because there’s simply we simply switch the fuel to something that’s environmentally environmentally more friendly, then then then fossil fuels. And the third very important impact of this might be, and it’s something I’ve heard a lot among my sea level colleagues from other companies that they want to do it but but nobody’s, I believe, really understood what it means. And that is serious production, bringing industrial manufacturing process to nuclear energy. And one guy in actually in Atlanta on a conference said, and I really love this, praising him, it’s, we usually build airports, we need to learn how to build airplanes. And there’s lots of so how do how does the airline industry develop and build an aircraft?
A new aircraft model. So they’re maybe the triple seven by Boeing, they first design it, then they pre license it. Then they go to all the airlines and say, how many of those do you order. And if their order book is full, only then they go to the then they start building the factory that builds it, which costs 10 billion or so. So it’s very substantial the cost, but the individual aircraft have, it’s still in the three digits, million range, so a few billions, but it’s actually quite affordable, and it’s it can be built in budget and in time and any budget, I can be delivered. If it’s not just the 737 Max, though, I think there was another issue there. Right. But But usually, these things don’t happen because all the the the technical technological issues have been pruned out of the system before it gets to the market. And that’s, that’s if you take this these types of manufacturing process and apply it to nuclear energy. That means that you get into a production mode of maybe 50 reactors per year per per model. And you need the customers for it. We’re coming to that point. But it may We take we’ll take only two, three years or so to build an entire nuclear power plant. Whereas it’s now totally normal to build it to six to five to 15 years, let’s say, right?
Robert Bryce 40:15
So let me interrupt you there. Because I think that that’s a key point. And it’s one that and I’m looking at your paper now. And you project that today, we have about 450 nuclear power stations. And the goal should be to have one with 10s of 1000s of them by mid century. So in just 30 years or so. But let’s talk about that scale up issue, because it’s a point that I think is really critical. And it’s one that I’ve made well, why, why are our diesel engines so good? Why are you know, gasoline engines so good? Well, we the automakers build them by the millions per year. I mean, they build millions of them. And so they get incredibly good at improving that design, right, the auto cycle and Diesel cycle engines that have been around for a century. And they’re just tweaking little things, not, you know, I say little, but turbo charging and all these other things. But how do we get there, though, Bjorn? I mean, it seems that this is the big challenge that the regular there’s the intersection of the regulatory part, with the with the mechanical and physical parts and the and the limits on industrial processing. How do we get that? How? Well, let’s address the regulatory part first, and there’s this question which a woman named Brenda Joe Hall with General Atomics made in a piece that she published in The Hill last year or last month, that ultimately she her point was, we’re going to have to settle on two or three designs that we can’t have 50 Different reactor designs, we’re going to have to have a few that we know and that can the license. So the questions are, who are going to be then the licensing agencies will? Will the the Nuclear Regulatory committee, your dual fluid is in Canada or you’re domiciled in Canada? And I understand why because the regulatory process, there may be more friendly. Are there going to be? First the regulatory part is there going to be one regulatory agency internationally that works with say, the IAEA that will be the gold standard for certification on SMR?
Björn Peters 42:07
x? Actually, I’m not worried about licensing, because licensing will follow. And it’s exactly like this, if you if you have approved an aircraft, by the Federal Aviation Authority, and by the European counterpart, you can start and land on every airport on the globe. I don’t know for China and Russia for sure. But But essentially, so all the free world, they they follow on their their approval process. So I think approval process is not really so crucial. Much, much more important is cost. We need designed to cost we need to provide energy, cheaper than coal, oil and gas. And if this happens, all the rest will will will fall in place.
Robert Bryce 42:57
Well, that’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of you flipped the question on its head, which I like the so you’re saying the regulation will follow the the good design, that we have the right design, we have the right industrial machine if we right. Well, no,
Björn Peters 43:11
I wouldn’t. I didn’t know. So I am maybe I’m taking this too lightly. Might be. But so far. Nuclear power regulation is is in national responsibility. Right. And but still, if you have approved, approved or gone through a licensing process in one country, right now you’re building a very similar power plant in a in another country. The regulation authorities today speak very much with each other and coordinate and can I have this and how did you do this? This an editor, there is a lot of lots of collaboration going on. But my the picture that I have in mind is the X ray machine at the dent of your dentist. You don’t need it first. You don’t need a nuclear engineer to operate it. Right. You don’t need to license it, it comes with a license. Right? And once this license is granted, you can sell it everywhere. And and these discussions are going on I’ve I’ve heard Rumina Velshi from the CNSC talk about it and the head of the US licensing body just missing the name. But so they they are very much aware that they need to change the licensing procedures. So the right discussions are going on there in this in this area I
Robert Bryce 44:46
believe Okay, so then I’ll just read that back to you then. So I just need to be clear. So new scale power, the US company, Oregon based company. In late July they got design certification from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for their for their Watercool reactor, so your your belief is if they can scale up, they will be able to deploy it because they have the stamp of the NRC then behind it is that. Okay? So so to just make a finer point on it, then your your view is and I’m just I’m not doubting it, but that is if a company is going to if they can come up with a better design, right? One that’s passively safe, low cost, you know, say 5050 megawatts electric or 50 to 200, which seems to be the sweet spot, if they can get that if they can start producing, if they can prove that they can do it, they’re going to find that market and the market will then and the regulatory market to will respond with approval that then will allow it to be deployed a nationally or internationally. Is that is that your view?
Björn Peters 45:46
Absolutely. Now, if you think about CERN and typical SMR with some 200 300 megawatt in power, it’s maybe not even in the big OECD countries where this was thought it might be in today’s developing market. And if you’re in somewhere in the in the middle of Nigeria or the Orient Timbuktu or somewhere you need power, okay, what’s your choice, you can buy an oil fired power plant, but there’s no pipeline you can buy by a coal fired power plant, but there is probably no rail system. So you could have one one full train of coal every day, sure, or every week. And so if if now, if I go to them and say well, here’s a power plant, it’s absolutely foolproof, it works you can’t control it it controls itself and by the way the we deliver the fuel and it stays in the reactor for 25 years and then we take it back and provide you with the next cartouche of fuel and and by the way it’s cheaper than then all our other other alternatives Why You Shouldn’t they buy my power plant
Robert Bryce 47:10
well look you’ve converted me I was a confirms easy to be converted because I’m familiar with these arguments. Well then let’s let’s talk about dual fluid then just a minute so what is the it’s a salt reactor right is this
Björn Peters 47:25
is it it’s a very unique design actually, it’s one of the first truly novel reactor designs since 50 years or so, it is building on liquid metal as a fuel liquid uranium actually, you tactical together with chromium to bring down the melting point below 750 degrees, it is operating in a relatively complex structure of a made of sediments, high performance ceramic material. And the it’s cooled by Led LED is not only the most efficient energy heat conductor, it is it is very good neutron shielding machine. And so we operate at the fastest neutron spectrum of all designs and they have the highest temperature of 1000 degrees. And the beauty of having a liquid fuel is actually known since very long time, since knights the 1950s. It is that the the necro reaction controls itself, there’s only one single parameter that defines the speed of the nuclear reaction. And that is the amount of energy you extract. The lid pump, the speed of lead pump defines the reactor reaction, the efficient reaction speed. And that’s it. So you can’t do anything good or wrong, though no steering wheels, no valves, no, no steering rods or so all of these things you can do without it. So we will bring down costs and and make it so simple that you don’t need necessarily a very large team of operators.
Robert Bryce 49:19
So if I may interrupt so you’re saying if I stopped the flow of the lead, you’re pumping lead as the coolant through the system. If you stop the flow of the lead drawing heat out of the reaction and the reaction stops.
Björn Peters 49:30
It doesn’t stop. Absolutely. It stays in. So this nearly zero power is a stable state of the system. So you suggested you always have a little bit of radiation of of radio, TV heat leaving the system. So there’s always a little bit of little efficient reaction going on. It’s a stable state that can stay there for 10 years, and then you start the pumping Again, something like that. So that’s that is.
Robert Bryce 50:03
And so the Chromium uranium mix then is that’s the where the reactivity occurs in the lead is the is the cool is the coolant that then is acts as the heat transfer agent then between the two to move the steam turbines on the on the in the powerhouse, then
Björn Peters 50:19
yeah, exactly. So there’s there will be definitely an additional heat exchanger with probably supercritical carbon dioxide, or we have a few other ideas as well on how to produce power there. And the good thing is, if you, if you have 1000 degrees initially, it doesn’t matter whether you’re you’re cooling Besson as in obviously to the energy is in the difference of the of the temperature is not in the temperature itself. So you need a cooling system somehow, in order to to make power out of it, right, whether this is zero degree, 20 degree or 50 degree actually doesn’t make such a big difference when you when you start at 1000 degrees. So you could build this in the middle of a desert without water cooling. It just heat and air cooling would be sufficient. Not ideal, but but it would be good enough,
Robert Bryce 51:16
because your temperature differential is so large. Yes, exactly. And then because you’re getting such a high temperature output temperature, then your enthalpy coefficient that I’m using right and right term here, the enthalpy efficiency of the machine is much higher, right? Because that higher that outlet pressure, the higher the outlet temperature, the more efficient you can produce power from that from that temperature gradient then is that is it? Am I getting my physics right here?
Björn Peters 51:41
Yeah, absolutely. But but the the efficiency is, the less important, the cheaper the the initial energy is. But it’s of course, it’s nice to have it. It’s nice to have a high efficiency.
Robert Bryce 51:53
Gotcha. So let’s go back to Germany now, because we’ve covered I think both of your papers, the ones that I’ve been looking at, and also about dual fluid, which as I mentioned, dual fluid, dual fluid energy is a Canadian company, it’s based in Toronto, is that right? In Vancouver, in Vancouver. And you can find more about dual fluid at dual hyphen fluid.com. But let’s turn back to Germany for a moment, if you don’t mind, Bjorn, and there’s been great. It’s been really interesting to get your perspective on things. So but back in Germany, why does the Green Party have so much power? And you know, I, I’ve been in meetings and people say, Well, tell me what’s happening in Germany. I can’t explain Germany. I don’t understand. I don’t know it’s not no slam on you. But there’s a different psychology in Germany and then why is that this the the hatred in some cases for nuclear has been so strong and so powerful and that it is embodied? I think in the Green Party and Robert Hey, Becca, just in the last few days, said oh, well, fossil fuels and nuclear got us into this mess and we can’t rely on them in the future. Amidst the crisis he’s saying this which to me is even saying this what is wrong with you? What can you be so dumb? This is a very long intro into why does the Green Party have so much power and why is it been so captivating for the this German psyche if I can use that
Björn Peters 53:16
people seem to forget that we not only the country of Karl Benz and and Albert Einstein and all those guys, but as well as some will Hanuman, the, the inventor of homeopathy, and Rudolf Steiner. So the inventor of this anthroposophic bullshit, sorry, so the ideas, ideas, let’s put it naturally and that’s number one. So, nature of philosophy is has been very important, it is the basis it was that was in the last decade of the 19th century. This nature philosophy developed and, and three different movements got out of this, this initial thoughts, world world of thoughts, that’s anthroposophy that is the Pathfinder, the scouts partner, and then Nazism. Now they have common roots there. And and so the well I skip a little bit that the middle of the century but in the when the greens were founded, some of these came together again, so they were very much right wing people founding the greens. And they are as I mean, nature philosophy means you’re you are you want to be irrational. It’s it’s even on purpose. So, that is this one. So that is that this this Germany is considered, I believe quite dangerous because of that, we because we are not acting rational. So much, although we do it On an individual scale, that will easily trick tricked into believing weird ideas. When when times are bad in particular maybe you can can tell a story there. 30 years ago, I went to Auschwitz with I was, I wasn’t a singer. So I did studied singing, actually, as well at university. And with the University Choir, we were invited by the Polish government to perform for one concert. And then they said, sent us around, and we have to see the Polish cities and understand everything a little bit better. And we went to Auschwitz. And we were guided by a survivor of Auschwitz. And at the very end, he saw, he told us, okay, I can see you’re all very young people. So nobody has personal guilt on for this, this holocaust. And you shouldn’t feel guilty even. So that should not be your guiding thoughts. But if you want to do me a favor, please consider one question very thoroughly. And that is, how has this been possible. And this that, in particular, the academic world is tricked into something that is, that makes more or less sense, but maybe not, it is maybe even dangerous. And there’s lots of psychological studies out that, the more the higher your social reputation, the more easily you’re tricked into, into ideologies that that don’t make sense at all. And that is really weird. And together with this, or this keeping in mind, we should note that most people, so about 75% of people working in the media sector, have a green background. So they’re largely over represented in the media. Because people who are more conservative or more liberal, they’re usually good in good at math and sciences. And they pursue other careers they don’t right. And those who are more better in language and maybe in history or so they take the those journalist jobs. And so that is,
Robert Bryce 57:30
is a bad reflection on my my chosen profession. But just I think you’re absolutely right. They don’t. The journalists and media, they don’t know, they don’t know the math, they don’t do the math, and they don’t understand the physics. I mean, you know, we that’s generally true. A particularly in the US, we we have a scientifically illiterate and innumerate population, and who are our representatives that go into Congress in politics, they’re lawyers, they’re not engineers. And they’re certainly true for the media class. They’re not. They aren’t trained scientific people. And so they repeat these. It’s a very interesting point to the point you made. Bjarne about, the higher your social reputation, the more easily you’re tricked, and that this is particularly true. I think this is, I mean, I see it all the time now, particularly in these academic studies that are coming out saying, Oh, we can do all this huge amounts of renewables, no problem, no, renewables will work. And, and I’m thinking, Well, wait a minute, there’s, you’re missing first principles here. But anyway, I interrupt you, but that’s a powerful story from Auschwitz you. You’ve thought about that a lot. In the way you told it. That’s a very memorable event in your life. Am I Am I reading that? Right?
Björn Peters 58:40
Yeah, it is. And I started actually to understand this, the answer to the question at the beginning of the COVID time, and I’m I’m, I mean, I’m a man of science, I’m not particularly into, into speculation. And I saw all sorts of speculations from those ones who were more aggressive about how to limit social life. And those ones who said it’s all it doesn’t work like that. And so everyone was stating things that they couldn’t prove. And I people were just believing, of course, if you don’t know you have to believe that it’s essential. But But who knows, and it’s it would require very specific special knowledge to understand whether COVID measures are effective or not. And that’s exactly the same in energy markets. energy markets are really bloody complex. To understand the scientific basis, the engineering basic basis, the the the economic interest of individual companies acting in such a market, to understand how the market is organized, and then to then somehow the national the impacts of certain decisions was on national economic level. And then that is all about psychology as well. So it’s really complex. And and I don’t know many people who really understand or to bother to bother understanding this, this complexity and savoring it and, and really trying to get out. I mean, Mark Nelson is one of those guys. But he’s one of the exceptionally talented people I’ve ever met anyhow.
Robert Bryce 1:00:27
And I think you’re exactly right to particularly when it comes to electricity, I think in terms of the market for electricity, compared to the physical markets for other, you know, for the true commodities, right. I, I believe we’ve one of the reasons why the electricity business is so hard to understand is that we’re Miss apprehending what it is that, in fact, this is not a commodity we sell it with in terms that we talked about watt hours, and we talk talk about energy, what we’re really important, what we really care about is power and energy and power are not the same thing that in fact, it’s a network and a service that you can’t allow to fail. And so this, this, this, this misapprehension of electricity is part of the problem as well. But I think you’re right is in addition, is that incredibly complicated? Right. And by comparison, the oil markets, the natural gas markets, coal markets, I think, I’m not saying they’re simple, but they’re far simpler than the electricity business. And so when you have people who are non technical and don’t really know the numbers, they don’t understand the complexity of the network, the scale of the network, oh, well, then any solar is good. Any wind is good. Well, we’re the numbers are going up, therefore, this must be positive. Well, in fact, no, that’s not true at all.
Björn Peters 1:01:36
And then then there are even energy economists who don’t know these basic technical facts. They’re even engineers, right? Not knowing these basic technical facts. I mean, it’s so ridiculous. And they are famous and, and many German TV shows probably have similar effects. They want to mention American names now, but but with us a few signs, friends from science, I’ve actually I did this two or three times that I that we took together a study coming out of all these vacancies, science institutes, and that were quoted very heavily in the press. And try to understand what is their logic and why it was wrong, and why it was deeply, fundamentally wrong. And what I didn’t obey to scientific standards. And if you in particular, in this energy system modeling, when you when you try to design a new system, building on weather dependent energies, and say, Well, okay, it works. But then for some, every good project requires a professional risk management. And they have they don’t even have a clue what professional risk management is. I had a Twitter discussion with moxie Jacobson. And he said, Well, I’m using 35 years of weather data, I’m fine. But He even didn’t understand the question on that this is the basis and then you start doing statistical analysis on the risk that you’re actually occurring. And if you, if you measure the river levels, for a long time, then you can derive 50 Year 100 Year 500 years high watermark. And, for example, German nuclear power stations have to withstand the 10,000 year high watermark. So there’s a little bit of computation involved because you can’t wait 10,000 years to find out. So you have to extrapolate building on certain mathematic models. It’s it’s actually, it’s not nuclear science is much simpler. Civil engineers do it all the time. But in all those professors in in energy engineering and system modeling, no, none of them, I’ve talked to a few of them have any clue of what this type of risk management actually is? And, and, therefore, the studies are nice to have, but they don’t they provide just one possible scenario. But not a class of scenarios. And so it’s not robust. And if anything goes wrong on the way we left without, without energy, and this is this is at very, very high expense.
Robert Bryce 1:04:40
You know, well, I agree with you. And I’ve seen these academic studies in those build outs of just staggering amounts of you no terawatts scale, new wind and solar right, which is not going to happen. I mean, I just look at it. I think, well, this will not happen because it can’t happen. The network is just too big. But yet These these analyses get published to all the time in major media outlets at particularly in the US, and I look at them and I just shake my head because I think the reporters don’t the journalists don’t have any idea of what the numbers mean, or what they what that will mean in the physical world. And that’s the part where I spend a lot of my time Can you can you? Where are you going to put it? How are you going to connect it and how you’re going to pay for it? Right? Those are the key things. And these, the first thing continually gets gets ignored. But it’s also one of the questions I wanted to put to you, Bjorn. About the build out of renewables in Germany, because I’ve been looking at the statistics and the build out of wind in Germany, in particular has slowed dramatically. So is that, can you just speak for a minute? And I know, we’ve been talking for more than an hour, and I don’t want to continue much longer. But is or I’ll put the question this way in the renewable sector for both solar and wind, what is the reaction now in rural Germany to these projects? Are they being welcomed? Are they being rejected? And the same? What about high voltage transmission lines? Where’s Germany in this regard?
Björn Peters 1:05:59
Well, the the wind projects, and some of the solar projects are just stuffed down the throat of the people, whether they like it or not, they’ve changed a lot. So they can actually do it. But they any have not been built, because of scarcity of metal raw material. And, and cost overruns. And so actually, I, I wouldn’t know what what is going to happen, because essentially, nothing will be built. And that’s even one more reason to keep our nuclear power plants.
Robert Bryce 1:06:35
So you’re saying that renewable, the growth of renewables in Germany has slowed dramatically? Am I hearing you correctly? What did that because of because of local opposition, but also because of the scarcity of materials?
Björn Peters 1:06:47
Yeah. So in solar, it’s the 90% reliance on China for for solar modules. So PV model modules. And in wind, it’s just as the scarcity of materials, even steel and cement is concrete and are getting more difficult to source more much more expensive, because the energy intense and the last wind power manufacturer has left Germany for good for a couple of weeks ago,
Robert Bryce 1:07:15
was that Siemens, Gamesa? The announcement that was that that the one? Yeah. And so you’re saying it’s not necessarily about the land use conflicts? It’s more about the issue of materials and cost? Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Because I see. And I’ve reported on this extensively, and not to talk about my but my work, the renewable rejection database, the number of rural communities rejecting solar here in the US has skyrocketed, you know, as the more solar has been rolling out, you know, this in the last year alone. 68 rejections in the United States is a big number. And that’s not a complete number. I’m still still building on that. So I’m glad we covered a lot of ground here, Bjorn. My guest, again, is Bjorn Peters. He’s the CFO and co founder of dual fluid energy. Will the EU hold together? You’re in I mean, the European Union is under a lot of stress now, right? And there’s the interconnections, their interconnections on electricity. But if push comes to shove, are the Germans going to export electricity? Are they going to import it? You know, there are a lot of questions about and I had Alexander stayhome, on the on the podcast recently talking about these things. You may know him, he’s a commodities investor out of Switzerland, but very familiar, very savvy on the European electric grid, with the European Union hold together, or is this going to force the EU apart?
Björn Peters 1:08:31
I think we making everything to make make life of our European neighbors more difficult with our energy policy. And so I think it’s a little bit in our hands like it was in the in the refugee crisis that drove the Great Britain out of the out of the UK, or the EU. It’s very difficult to forecast. So these things are not orderly processes that happens in a highly linear nonlinear way. Again, I wouldn’t dare a prediction, but of course, all the stress we’re putting on a system makes a break apart or break out of individual countries, like Italy or whatever, could be even one of the bigger countries, I mean, makes it more likely.
Robert Bryce 1:09:27
Well, and Alexander made the point that Italy among all the European countries that UK, Italy, Greece, they’re in some of the facing some of the biggest challenges because they don’t have enough power generation capacity. Their electricity prices are very high. The bankruptcies in the in the UK are now at the highest level since 2009. I mean, these countries are under enormous stress.
Björn Peters 1:09:50
Italy always has been since their rebuttal of nuclear energy. And then the second public vote in 22. I didn’t fix it. Fukushima didn’t help either. Right? As I’m following, for some reasons, from my previous professional, I’m following the Italian situation for us since a long time. And they’ve always had a dramatic deficit of electricity, and then was covered by France, and by Germany through Switzer input through Switzerland, mostly. And that’s, of course, in a situation when, when Germany reduces all its overcapacity, so it can’t fuel the neighbors, and still expects to other countries to fuel them. That won’t work. So we will have well, in the in the COVID crisis, for example, we saw that the borders were suddenly shut down. So you couldn’t cross the border. And this is against all European treaties, right? If we don’t continue to provide to be good neighbor to our power neighbors, then the we risk that they build, they shut down the power grids. That and that’s actually the biggest machine that men has ever built. So the answer we grid, it’s a huge grid from the Atlantic to the euro. And from from North cap to the, to the Mediterranean Sea. If we don’t play our role, our there will be lots of difficult situations. There. We were, I don’t, I wouldn’t dare to predict anything, everything can happen. And that is something that is really disturbing me. I mean, in my, my heart with my with my history, and my family. And of course, I feel more even more European than German. So of course, Germany plays a very big role in my education and the books I read. But, of course, I read some Swedish, English, French, Italian books and everything so so when I’m performing the composer’s of Spain, of France, and, of course, it’s a European culture, that if we don’t learn that this type of energy policy that we’re doing, are imposing on our neighbors, very high prices, they pay for our nuclear phase out, for example, for millions billions, sorry, billions. So if we reduce the availability of power and yeah, of power, and probably with a bad impact on the carbon markets, we make the life for everybody in Europe more difficult not only for us, so they are paying for our errors in energy policymaking. And I I’ve heard lots of voices recently, as with Swedish green, told one report and it went all over the media here that if Germany doesn’t play its solid Derek role you would recommend to the Swedish to his Swedish government to shut down the power line between Sweden and Germany. Wow. And Sweden is self sufficient, more or less. So it’s rare that they really need additional power. It happens but not that often. But they would do probably better at right now without this this undersea cable
Robert Bryce 1:13:41
without the interconnection. You said you perform these composers you’re still singing Are you perform your musical instrument as well?
Björn Peters 1:13:49
No, actually, I I learned a little bit the guitar and the violin. But I completely digital University time I said one is enough. And I did an opera singers training. So knowing again, so two, three times a year, it’s I can’t find more time.
Robert Bryce 1:14:07
Gotcha. Well, good for you. One last thought and just maybe your reaction on Bjarne. But as I’ve thought about I’ve been in the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York before it closed down. And I’ve been in other power stations in coal plants and so on. And as I’ve thought about the electric grid is a thing right about this network is incredibly important network that I think about, well, what do I want behind that? Do I want a big honkin, sturdy nuclear plant that’s going to be there for decades? Or do I want to trust the wind and the sun? And I just like, I keep thinking about this idea of the engine itself, right? Because it is an engine, right? It’s a heat engine that is driving society and creating electrons and this power network that to me is just come back because I like us to work on cars and like car engines and this is the thing of the engine itself that we if we’re going to power our society, which are we going to choose and I mean, I Obviously, I’m pronuclear. But it just seems to me this is a very obvious answer. You don’t want it to be relying on these propellers on the on the on the, on the dilute nature of the sun. But it’s just my observation. Have you thought about that at all? Just in terms of the machine, the engine itself?
Björn Peters 1:15:14
Yeah, actually, that’s, that’s very fundamental. And I’m happy that you bring it up. Because people have forgotten that energy is the single most important driver for civilization. When we started taming the fire a million years ago or so, we started probably talking and singing, as well. And the culture evolved with it. 10,000 years when we started taming wild animals, and making use of them, we got a new energy source. And we evolved enormously in numbers from two and a half million to about 250 million, by the Roman times. And, and about a billion people until the industrial age. So around 1800, we were a billion people. And with this new source of energy coming from fossil fuels, and its optimization over the these 200 years now, we have doubled our life expectancy were much more wealthy, we have totally reduced NF repetition. And so in every societal dimension, this has been beneficial and the next Senate and we are now living through a crisis of energy and an energy availability, because the the fossil fuels have been nearly totally optimized and its usage. And there’s a dead end. And we have to stop somehow using fossil fuels anyhow, because they’re getting more scarce, maybe or the carbon dioxide concerns. So what’s the next big thing and it has to be something and if you think so this environmental energies we have been using for 10,000 years, the fossil fuels for 200 years, and nature doesn’t have anything else but nuclear energy, and being paid to be efficient of fusion. So it’s very fundamental that we need to optimize the usage of nuclear energy. And this is exactly what’s happening in the laboratories of all those startup firms, including dual fluid, but but definitely not alone. And we will optimize the usage in the 2030s we will all collectively bring it to market in a very efficient way. And by 2040 I believe nobody will have to buy a coal fired power plant, because there are much better alternatives out there. So this is the core energy is the core and the it has to operate smoothly. It is it has to provide the energy when and where we need it. And that’s the big failure of solar and wind energy. These energies have to be refined at very high cost and very high energy investment in order to be used when and where we need it.
Robert Bryce 1:18:32
I like that I liked the way you put it that I you said energy. You said it is the core. What did you say energy is the core of society, which is the core, it’s the core of who we are as people, right? I mean, it’s even more fundamental than that. So let’s do things. Bjorn and I appreciate your your patients we’ve been talking now for more than an hour. So I asked these two last questions of all my guests. So what are you reading you You’re obviously a man of letters you speak several languages I barely speak English. With what are you reading? What’s it what books are on your bookshelf or on your top of your list these days?
Björn Peters 1:19:06
Thanks I just bought but hadn’t started this book about that. That’s from Alex Epstein
Robert Bryce 1:19:12
accepts timeframes for future. Yeah.
Björn Peters 1:19:15
About the about fossil fuels. And I think we have to be simply grateful with fossil fuels. But otherwise, I have been in contact with a science comedian lately and he sent me his book, his newest book about energy and climate policies. It’s very well written I have to write a Twitter thread in to say thank you. And because it’s really good, and it is some of the thoughts on psychology i i He came up with so
Robert Bryce 1:19:44
you said a science a science comedian. Did you say
Björn Peters 1:19:48
he’s a PhD in physics who turned to be comedian and he makes fun his slogan is Make Science great again.
Robert Bryce 1:20:00
German. Where is he from?
Björn Peters 1:20:02
Vince Eva, he’s a he’s a German, but actually he lived for some time in, in, in, I believe New Yorker, so and he he that was his early part as a comedian. I will send you a YouTube link. He’s really funny in English and a German being funny in English. That’s, that doesn’t happen very often. Sure, you will, you will really like it. Oh, that’s great. And then the third book, and that is, it’s too thick. So I don’t have it. When I travel. It’s too heavy. But that’s actually a biography of Charles the great living in round 800. So the first emperor of the, of the of the, of the German of the European empire, let’s say, amount of Frank.
Robert Bryce 1:20:55
All right. Yeah. I’m not familiar with Charles the great. So last question, Bjorn. What gives you hope? We’ve talked about a lot of things that are fairly sobering today, what gives you hope,
Björn Peters 1:21:04
innovation. I mean, I see so much innovation going wrong. So I’m very optimistic and I’m pretty sure around mid century nobody will talk about climate change because it’s old.
Robert Bryce 1:21:19
Well, that is a beautiful thing. I’m glad to hear that. That’s that’s a great way to end or a great spot to end. I guess it’s been Bjorn Peters. He’s the the German based CFO and co founder of dual fluid energy which is a Canadian company. You can find more about them at dual hyphen fluid.com. Bjorn is on Twitter he’s active on twitter twitter at BJ are in Peters. That’s a BJ are in Peters three. On Twitter, Bjorn. Thanks a million for being on the power hungry podcast. Great fun talking to you. Yeah, it
Björn Peters 1:21:47
was pretty fun indeed. Okay,
Robert Bryce 1:21:49
and thanks to all you in podcast land for tuning into this episode of the power hungry podcast. Until next time, see ya.