Homepage Forums Reframing fusion, managing expectations And what century is this? – (Goodbye to Steam Power)

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  • #934
    Avatartcg
    Member

    Rezwan has been eliciting ideas for a way to frame advances in the DPF, and I have one to suggest. Consider:

    In the late 18th century the steam engine was developed as a source of power, and in the late 19th it was used to turn a generator to make electricity. The 20th century brought a new source of heat to boil the water to generate the electricity, nuclear fission. But we are in the 21st century now.

    Twenty-first century technology has the potential to break away from the messy, inefficient, and sometimes dangerous methods we have been using so far to generate electricity. Solar and wind power are already in the public eye, and perhaps LPP will bring another option before long. These three are distinguished from what has gone before by having nearly unlimited inputs ( sun, wind, and boron) and not needing to boil water to run a generator. The Plasma Focus, along with solar, has the further distinction of not even having any moving parts, if I understand the mechanism correctly.

    Twenty-first century technology. Isn’t that what we are talking about?

    #8105
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    Good one! With lots of visuals.

    #8109
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    Rezwan wrote: Good one! With lots of visuals.

    Indeed! All the thermal steam engines should have little men working with coal shovels desperately feeding the fires …

    😆 :coolsmirk:

    #8110
    Avatarjamesr
    Member

    I’ve always liked the idea of breaking away from the steam era

    tcg wrote: The Plasma Focus, along with solar, has the further distinction of not even having any moving parts, if I understand the mechanism correctly.

    But we’ll still have lots of vacuum pumps, cooling pumps. Also I think most large scale solar would be mirrors heating a pumped liquid not photovoltaics – at least until they can break away from silicon to some cheaper & more efficient fabrication method.

    #8113
    AvatarIvy Matt
    Participant

    I remember when I first read up on energy as a curious preteen. I was slightly disappointed to find that we had all these different technologies for generating electricity, and most of them ended up doing the same exact thing: heating water until it boiled, using steam pressure to turn turbines, generating electricity by way of electromagnetism.

    I guess steampunk isn’t as retro as we tend to think. 😉

    #8115
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    The narrative flow can be maintained by mentioning that the 21st century has already escaped the steam cycle’s capital expense and low-efficiency traps with the Bloom Box, and may soon diversify the energy portfolio using aneutronic fusion to solve both problems by fusing atoms which are common in sea water.

    As it stands, the 2nd paragraph makes a distinct shift into “sales copy” mindset.

    #8119
    Avatartcg
    Member

    I really like the image of some poor slob shoveling coal into a boiler as what we are trying to step up from.

    To a certain extent, Aeronaut is correct about the sales job that will be needed. Technical success will be hard enough, but only the first step because the social and economic obstacles will be many. Some people will refuse to believe in the DPF generator because it is “too good to be true”. A few soothing words and a flashy demonstration may win over many of these. Others will hesitate to implement such a new technology because of the lack of a track record. If a few of these can be won over, many of the others could turn favorable. But the most trouble would come from the few who have a vested interest in the status quo. Coal and natural gas produces most of the electricity in this country, and the owners of these resources would be desperate to preserve their money makers.

    It seems to me that framing the debate about DPF power is partially casting our side as “forward looking” and the opposition as “backward looking”. In this way, we have the high ground, and they are struggling uphill.

    #8180
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    You guys do wander off topic. [Note, I split part of this thread off to this post.]

    Enough speculation about the future, let’s get back to the original reframing issue here.

    tcg wrote: In the late 18th century the steam engine was developed as a source of power, and in the late 19th it was used to turn a generator to make electricity. The 20th century brought a new source of heat to boil the water to generate the electricity, nuclear fission. But we are in the 21st century now.

    Twenty-first century technology. Isn’t that what we are talking about?

    Yes. This is a clear, visual idea to play with. Images of 18th century steam engines, powered by fission. Same old, same old. It’s time to cut out the steam middleman.

    That’s an important message, and we need to bring it out, clearly, with strong images and sequences.

    #8234
    Avatartcg
    Member

    Along with framing our own efforts in the best light, we should be prepared to describe the opposition with a few choice, cutting phrases. “Nineteenth century (or steam era) technology” is a natural, but also “horse and buggy era thinking” (or technology). Even “retro” or “your grandfathers electric generator” or “as smart (dumb) as boiling water to make electricity.”

    At some point we may be in a position to have to out talk the opposition. From my experience in local politics, if you can get the audience and decision makers guffawing at your opponent, it won’t matter what they say, they are done for.

    #8239
    Avatarvansig
    Member

    Before we turn the page on steam power, do check the discussions over in the LPPX forum that are discussing it,
    and the alternatives, under topics called ‘the onion‘, and ‘heat engine’.

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