The Brick Generator

By Viv Forbes

The Australian Snowy 2 hydro scheme plans to use electricity to pump water up hill to get some of that energy back by running the water downhill again.

Some Australian mining companies are planning a dry version of Snowy 2 – a huge brick-powered battery using the force of gravity to drive a generator when solar and wind energy are on strike.

Each unit of this brick-powered battery would comprise a 30 storey tower enclosing a 35 tonne brick which is hauled up using surplus renewable energy (around noon on any clear windy day) and then released to turn generators when there is no renewable energy being produced (every still night or calm cloudy day).

These flint-stone miners will also have to replace all diesel mining equipment with electric machines, then build enough wind/solar generators to not only run the mine, but also to elevate the giant bricks. The country for miles around will be plastered by solar panels, wind turbines, power lines and roads. They must then build the brick-powered generators. This expensive conglomeration would be lucky to recover 50% of the energy used to create and charge it. Few mines could afford to fund all this nonsense. Shareholders can expect nothing except dividends of used bricks, but someone will benefit from increased demand for electric mining machines, copper and other metals. And foreign producers of wind turbines and solar panels will get richer.

(Prudent mine workers should demand a diesel generator and fuel in every ventilated crib room.)

It would be better and quicker to buy a portable nuclear power plant and get reliable smoke-free 24/7 power.

For those who think our mining leaders could not be so stupid, see below:
Technological Revolution to power miners: “The Australian” 2/3/21

The 35 tonne Brick:

The Brickmaker’s Lament:

The Grand Old Duke of York

The grand old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of a hill
And marched them down again.
When they were up they were up,
And when they were down they were down
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down!

Viv Forbes has tertiary qualifications in Applied Science and Financial Analysis, and long experience in mine economics, management and financing.

5 thoughts on “The Brick Generator”

  1. The following gives an insight the ‘climate change’ madness:

    It could be said that insanity is a ‘disconnection from reality’ and where this condition exists, we will find statements and claims that are illogical. With this is mind we need to look at ‘climate change’ and put forward some factual data on this.
    In one hundred years we’ve gone from using horses to cultivate the land to using very powerful tractors and machinery to produce food and as a result the growing of crops has accelerated to meet the demand for food as the World’s population has increased dramatically.
    The tractors use fossil fuel to power them and so the question is: how can it be possible to power a big tractor with wind and solar, the answer is you can’t and to think you can is illogical.
    What about suburban electric trains being powered by wind and solar? Also trucks and interstate trains being powered by wind and solar? The answer is that it is completely illogical to believe that these forms of heavy transport that deliver very heavy loads over long distances would ever be run by wind and solar.
    Plus 24 hour refrigeration facilities in supermarkets and local food stores
    Then there’s mining industry’s huge ore trucks that haul 200 tons at a time and heavy industry such as steel mills and aluminium smelters.
    NONE of the above examples can be operated by intermittent electricity supplies wind and solar provide and it is completely ‘disconnected from reality’ to suggest that they can

  2. Viv,

    Those interested in the question of just how stupid, or perhaps more importantly inexpert and out of touch, Mining Corporation executives are could consider Rio Tinto.

    Rio currently (don’t blink) have no experienced hard-rock mining engineers on their board. Instead it’s festooned with Russell Group MA’s and alike.

    From first principles its dumbfounding there are no experienced operational engineers on the board of the world’s second largest mining company.

    When the Junkan Cave debacle forced the resignation of the CEO J-S Jacques (and now the Chairman Simon Thompson) Rio had a clear opportunity to appoint an experienced Australian Iron Ore industry Engineer as their CEO (80%+ of their huge profit comes from the Pilbara) to rebuild their reputation and protect the windfall revenue from their flagship WA iron ore business.

    So what did Rio do? They appointed Jakob Stausholm, a Danish Finance expert as their CEO!

    In terms of detachment from reality, and indeed their golden goose, this makes a brick battery look positively sensible…….

    So, I often wonder if all the dubious future energy production proposals that gain political traction are in part a consequence of a dearth of experienced industrial/ practical operations engineers across the spectrum of Australian executive ranks (corporate, political and in the public sector).

    Perhaps there’s simply no one “in the tent” to provide a voice for practical applied science when the plethora of deluded schemes are canvased and then adopted?


  3. Reminds me of Murphy and the barrow load of bricks song. I seriously doubt falling bricks are going to knock any sense into the people who think ‘caveman” solutions to replacing carbon in energy generation are economic solutions that can maintain the current human population.
    We still have almost zero politicians willing to mouth one logical solution, that being nuclear power. Meanwhile Australia “progresses” in the reverse direction, replacing reliable 24hr power generation with intermittent, high cost renewables and battery storage; while China and others install hundreds of coal-fired power stations.

    1. I would like to put forward the idea that the brick device would work! Once again it’s all about expectations! A battery/capacitor bank, suitably sized, coupled with the output from the gravity brick device, could, in my opinion as an experienced mine electrician, power a mining operation for at least 15 minutes! Then of course it would be completely exhausted and 24 hours later, another 15 minute marathon effort would be possible! Of course, said device could power 100,000 cappuchino/frappe machines for the full 24 hours! Thereby keeping the dreamers in their ivory towers, completely divorced from reality, reinforced with glow juice! Cheers!

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