Fusion Future

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
philstro
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Fusion Future

Post by philstro » Tue Sep 23, 2008 4:54 pm

I thought the above posting related to the difficulties of fission power generation was exceptionally well presented and thorough. The conclusion that green power must be the alternative is naïve, though.

Our demand for energy far exceeds any capability of green power, and I want to use wind turbine generation as an example. Last I knew, the life-cycle cost of wind was 20 cents/KWH, compared to coal at four cents or less. Fission is usually quoted at the four cent level also.

We live in a small community about ten miles from a wind farm of 432 large turbines. This was the largest capital project in the history of our county. Warren Buffet made this expenditure largely as a gesture to the greens in my opinion. The sight of the installation is awe inspiring but ultimately destructive to the natural landscape. At night a deep red strobe pulses atop each of the 300 foot high columns.

A commercial last night on ABC following Boston Legal pictured some wind turbines. This commercial for green power was presented in full screen, high resolution format and it disturbs me greatly. It stated, “We are not asking anymore!” (i.e., we are demanding) What does this imply, civil disobedience? Each person who strongly believes in wind turbines should build and live with his own generator. Associations of these people can be formed to finance a project. Communities of these people can live together and be among the spinning blades for their lifetimes.

This commercial was not an isolated incident. It appears that there is a rapidly growing movement here toward green power. I think there is something called 20-20 which means 20% renewable by 2020. This sounds modest compared to “We are not asking anymore.”

To me, this is a demonstration of non-critical thinking and unrealistic dreaming. Then these people scream and cry until they succeed in getting what they want. This comes at a tremendous expense.

Right now I want a plug-in hybrid with regenerative braking; and a Blu-ray recorder. These technologies are decades and years old, respectively. Ironically these items are, for political reasons, unobtainable at a reasonable price in the U. S. Shameful.

The result of the conflicting political agendas is that nothing gets done. No politician seems to have the courage to push forward the building of new, clean coal plants or new fission plants, both proven technologies that we desperately need to implement. D-D fusion or accelerator produced neutrons inducing subcritical fission should be researched to the tune of many billions of dollars. Highly secured fast breeders should be generating some of our electric power in my opinion. The general population has no concept of the size of the energy problem. How can I change what is happening?

Reformator
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Re: Fusion Future

Post by Reformator » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:20 pm

Without Flywheel technology, storage is IMPOSSIBLE!

http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:Flywheels

TheTim
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Re: Fusion Future

Post by TheTim » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:44 pm

Having a keen interest in renewable/green energy sources, I think wind power just doesn't have the output required. Good idea on a small scale (5000 homes, for example) but for larger projects (100,000+) you can't beat the efficiency of hydro or other sources.

Solar thermal concentrators (dish/stirling engine or 'power tower') designs may provide the needed electricity of the future...Lots of open land in high-sun-hour areas, but stirling engines don't scale up particularly well, when looking at cost. If price is no object, they're probably the best alternative, but price is *always* an object. Also, they can still run at night, by storing heat in the form of molten salt, which then heats water to produces steam, turn a turbine, blah blah blah...Far more efficient than PV cells will be, at least for the next decade or three.

Fusion power is certainly the holy grail, but I don't anticipate any breakthroughs any time soon. I figure we're still 100 years from a functional commercial-scale fusion plant (that is if we can even hit break-even in the lab).

My $0.02...Which, in today's economy, is worth less and less...

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Richard Hull
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Re: Fusion Future

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:01 pm

I have always liked alternatives where they make sense......... Isolated smaller communities in locations suited to the various methods available would be great. Every small patch that doesn't need to be on the he-man grid with its long and lossy xmission lines is another load off same. Of course, initial cost and continuing costs will be an issue in each isolated case.

If you want to feel good about yourself and go rather spartan on your electrical lifestyle. 20 or even 25 cents per kwh would not increase your electrical bill, as you are living an electrically leaner lifestyle.

I would love to have all Americans have a monthly power meter cutoff at some reasonably arrived at kilowatt-hour level for their particular household. An electrical allowance or budget, if you will with the juice coming into the home sold at no more that 30% over actual cost. If a consumer overdraws on their budget, the meter could be overridden by the customer at any time to return power, using a code on a meter keypad. The power would then flow in again, but at $2.00/kw hour.

Real American inventiveness and ingenuity would return to family life like water rushing into a sink hole. The ostentacious, over rich, and the odd fool would pay for the power infrastructure in the long run. Some states, (like my own), already have heavy use surcharges that are only mild slaps on the wrist.

This would be a rude awakening if ,say, your power goes off on the 26th and you are forced to stumble to the basement, flashlight in hand, and punch in a code to get power back realizing that until the 1st of next month it returns at $2.00/kwh. Currently you never lose power at all and are just quietly billed a modest 20-50% more per KWH after crossing an unseen trip point on your meter.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Chris Bradley
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Re: Fusion Future

Post by Chris Bradley » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:56 pm


Though what you say and aim for in regards the on-site power consumption of private individuals may be true to a greater or lesser extent, I'd not follow a point of view that has this as a priority. I feel the priority should be to target the excess consumption of industry. I'd suggest it is our demand and expectation not only from the private consumption of products from industry, but also to look at all the inefficient use of resources that flow through local and national governments who, supposedly, consume vast quantities of raw materials on our behalf to build and support the environments in which we live.

I do not believe punitive responses are in order for this, which is mostly the knee-jerk imposition of penalties/punishing tax rates for crossing some arbitrary demarcation between 'acceptable' and 'not acceptable'. Just the gradual ramp up of wholesale prices by managed tax control changes and in concert with natural price variations (not these bubble commodity markets we are seeing currently). Either way, this is actually happening already and will be an effect that slowly trickles through. Don't rush it, else the price of energy will destabilise. I suspect there's enough renewable energy to supply private consumption, but no where near enough to supply industry - unless we are prepared to expect less. This is the real dilemma for renewables.


Phil Strohbehn wrote:
> How can I change what is happening?

In what ever way you mean that, I'd say: Consider and form your preferred progressive solution to the problems you see around you, then take positive action yourself where you can, try to persuade other to help and work with you where you cannot, seek helpful supportive people in political power after you've tried yourself, then harass and goad them if they present you with a brick wall. It may not get you anywhere, but if you do it honourably, respectfully and with conviction, whilst braving critisism and ridicule, then no-one could ever have asked more of you, nor you of yourself.

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Re: Fusion Future

Post by Reformator » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:11 pm

I believe in the 24KW EDF generator of Mark R. Tomion. It's better than wind or solar
http://www.stardrivedevice.com/power_plant.html#update

Pascal Dennerly
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Re: Fusion Future

Post by Pascal Dennerly » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:27 pm

I stumbled on this a couple of months back, from what I gather (after the short time I looked into it) it appears to be a type of homopolar generator. The idea that the friction losses that would normally be associated with the brushes are negated by using plasma to carry the current. It would suggest that there is a great efficiency saving to be had. I await actual figures and commercialisation as proof though.

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Carl Willis
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Re: Fusion Future

Post by Carl Willis » Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:04 pm

>I believe in the 24KW EDF generator of Mark R. Tomion. It's better than wind or solar

I hope you're kidding. This invention is classic pseudoscience, quackery, "snake oil." Believers are either missing the rudiments of a high-school science education, or are sipping bongwater. From the website:

>Many alternative energy researchers and 'ZERO-POINT ENERGY' enthusiasts will be glad to learn that a 24kW prototype of this exotic non-nuclear over-unity electronic dynamo, for producing abundant, clean, and inexpensive electric power, is now being assembled.

Examples of classic, meaningless but mellifluous "word salad" from this website, good only for a laugh:

-"quasi-coherent DC corona"
-"electric discharge's ability to dissipate and reabsorb more quantum energy [...]"
-"leading-edge micro-electrodynamic fluctuation theory"
-"has the capacity to absorb endless quantities of quantum background energy"
-"It may in fact be the world's first self-sustaining over-unity power plant which directly taps the energy of the quantum vacuum"

-Carl
Carl Willis
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TEL: +1-505-412-3277

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Re: Fusion Future

Post by Reformator » Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:21 pm

The man wrote a book. And here is a part from it.
http://www.stardrivedevice.com/web_ch13ex.pdf

Looks like he knows math better than others

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Chris Bradley
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Re: Fusion Future

Post by Chris Bradley » Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:50 pm

Oh dear, here we go again. Carl, pass me some of that bongwater - I feel the need for a stiff drink all of a sudden and it sounds just the ticket!!!

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