Homepage Forums Economic Forums Investment risk

This topic contains 25 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Brian H 10 years, 11 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 26 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #516
    Avatar
    JimmyT
    Participant

    By the title of this topic you probably think I’m going to write about the risk of investing in this (focus fusion) technology. But I’m not.

    By virtue of it’s existence this development program has made the investment in any other energy source more risky.

    Except in very limited applications other alternative energy sources will be be rendered white elephants if this program succeeds.

    Remote weather stations, electric fences, solar calculators; Ok, these won’t be converted to focus fusion. But businesses or individuals who have invested small fortunes in solar power will be SOL (sorta out of luck)

    Likewise the geniuses at Google who chose not to invest in this technology and instead decided to go fly a kite (literally). They will find it cheaper to junk the system which they invested in and buy commercial power produced by focus fusion.

    #2798
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    JimmyT wrote: By the title of this topic you probably think I’m going to write about the risk of investing in this (focus fusion) technology. But I’m not.

    By virtue of it’s existence this development program has made the investment in any other energy source more risky.

    Except in very limited applications other alternative energy sources will be be rendered white elephants if this program succeeds.

    Remote weather stations, electric fences, solar calculators; Ok, these won’t be converted to focus fusion. But businesses or individuals who have invested small fortunes in solar power will be SOL (sorta out of luck)

    Likewise the geniuses at Google who chose not to invest in this technology and instead decided to go fly a kite (literally). They will find it cheaper to junk the system which they invested in and buy commercial power produced by focus fusion.

    Yes, this is truly a

    #2799
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    As for the geniuses at Google and the less-than in government, one of the reasons investment in FF is hard to attract is that it’s such a lousy job-creator in the R&D phase. It doesn’t need enough money and bodies to bother with, apparently. In his video Google Talk, Eric was asked if multiplying the up-front investment and doing a “crash” program would be worthwhile (obviously to get at the payoff stage earlier, a BIG priority for Venture Vultures, aka Angels). He answered, (in effect), “Not really. Crash-programming involves exploring many/all paths at once. But some steps need to be finished before you even know what the options are, and have do be done in sequence. Crashing would be a waste of money, and the labour/brains logistics just aren’t there.” So the VVs lost interest. 8 years? It might as well be the year 3000 as far as they’re concerned.

    #2810
    Breakable
    Breakable
    Keymaster

    In my opinion focus fusion can nicely cooperate with other kinds of technology.
    I would expect that in the future solar and wind power would be used to power individual homes in times of plenty,
    and in still and cloudy conditions fusion reactors would start up.
    Why I think that? Because solar and wind power are getting cheaper by the minute, and while everyone will be able to afford solar panels,
    not everyone could install a fusion reactor in the basement.

    http://www.nanosolar.com is producing solar panels for 1$ per watt already. Sold out for 2008.
    http://www.humdingerwind.com/windbelt.html is developing micro wind generator for 3$ per piece, to light up developing countries.

    #2815
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    Breakable wrote: In my opinion focus fusion can nicely cooperate with other kinds of technology.
    I would expect that in the future solar and wind power would be used to power individual homes in times of plenty,
    and in still and cloudy conditions fusion reactors would start up.
    Why I think that? Because solar and wind power are getting cheaper by the minute, and while everyone will be able to afford solar panels,
    not everyone could install a fusion reactor in the basement.

    http://www.nanosolar.com is producing solar panels for 1$ per watt already. Sold out for 2008.
    http://www.humdingerwind.com/windbelt.html is developing micro wind generator for 3$ per piece, to light up developing countries.

    Your numbers are in contradiction to your conclusions. The solar and wind generators would be an expensive self-indulgence vs. buying power from a FF generation site. You don’t have to have your own; there are these neat things called “transmission lines” that can actually transport power over quite large distances!

    $1/watt = $1,000/KW. FF is $50-$60/KW. Thats 16-20 times cheaper.

    The humdinger is somewhat better, but tiny and useful only in specific airflow conditions. Not a significant player in any substantive energy market.

    #2817
    Breakable
    Breakable
    Keymaster

    Brian H wrote:
    $1/watt = $1,000/KW. FF is $50-$60/KW. Thats 16-20 times cheaper.

    1$/watt is now. What will it be in 10 years?
    And guess who will pocket the difference between between $1,000/KW and $50-$60/KW?
    Grid electricity will not cost as much as it takes to produce it, but how much you can pay for it.
    So its likely that individual generation will be cheaper in long term.
    I believe it will stay like it is now – buy a system and it will repay itself in 10-20 years, but instead of 10k $ it might cost 1k$.

    Btw the figure $50-$60 is still remaining to be seen.

    #2819
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    Breakable wrote:

    $1/watt = $1,000/KW. FF is $50-$60/KW. Thats 16-20 times cheaper.

    1$/watt is now. What will it be in 10 years?
    And guess who will pocket the difference between between $1,000/KW and $50-$60/KW?
    Grid electricity will not cost as much as it takes to produce it, but how much you can pay for it.
    So its likely that individual generation will be cheaper in long term.
    I believe it will stay like it is now – buy a system and it will repay itself in 10-20 years, but instead of 10k $ it might cost 1k$.

    Btw the figure $50-$60 is still remaining to be seen.

    Solar is inherently big and diffuse and periodic and unreliable; that’s just the way sunlight falls to Earth. Orbiting solar with MW downlink may have a large scale future, though.

    As for the $50-$60, there’s just nothing there which could vary the cost much. And it’s SO large a gap that nibbling at the edges, even for 10 years, won’t change the verdict.

    #2820
    Breakable
    Breakable
    Keymaster

    Brian H wrote:
    Solar is inherently big and diffuse and periodic and unreliable; that’s just the way sunlight falls to Earth. Orbiting solar with MW downlink may have a large scale future, though.

    As for the $50-$60, there’s just nothing there which could vary the cost much. And it’s SO large a gap that nibbling at the edges, even for 10 years, won’t change the verdict.

    It remains to be seen what would be the verdict for solar, wind and other renewables.
    I still stand by my opinion that they will remain a viable alternative until a “home usable zero-maintenance idiot-proof fusion reactor” will be designed and mass produced for a while. That could take some time. I would say another 30-50 years unless singularity happens? Even ITER should be finished by then :D.
    Is that enough time to recap on current investments?

    Regarding price margins for services provided I have a nice example:
    http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/05/13/sms-costs-hubble

    PS:I am sorry but my thought process likes to jump over some of the reasoning, and that makes it harder to understand.

    #2821
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    Breakable wrote:

    Solar is inherently big and diffuse and periodic and unreliable; that’s just the way sunlight falls to Earth. Orbiting solar with MW downlink may have a large scale future, though.

    As for the $50-$60, there’s just nothing there which could vary the cost much. And it’s SO large a gap that nibbling at the edges, even for 10 years, won’t change the verdict.

    It remains to be seen what would be the verdict for solar, wind and other renewables.
    I still stand by my opinion that they will remain a viable alternative until a “home usable zero-maintenance idiot-proof fusion reactor” will be designed and mass produced for a while. That could take some time. I would say another 30-50 years unless singularity happens? Even ITER should be finished by then :D.
    Is that enough time to recap on current investments?

    Regarding price margins for services provided I have a nice example:
    http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/05/13/sms-costs-hubble

    PS:I am sorry but my thought process likes to jump over some of the reasoning, and that makes it harder to understand.

    “home usable”?? How did that get in the mix? What possible generation capability would an apartment dweller use? That requirement is simply suburban nonsense. “Individual generation” is an elitist luxury.

    As for evil utilities taking a 95% profit margin on delivered power, it is to laugh. 😆 If you think industrial users would put up with that for 5 minutes, you’re dreaming. Any region/area that priced power fairly would have a huge “comparative advantage”. Not to mention the lynch parties ratepayers would form if any such rakeoff were attempted. At the very worst, neighborhoods could pool resources and put up a unit and contract out maintenance.

    #2823
    Breakable
    Breakable
    Keymaster

    Brian H wrote:

    “home usable”?? How did that get in the mix? What possible generation capability would an apartment dweller use? That requirement is simply suburban nonsense. “Individual generation” is an elitist luxury.

    As for evil utilities taking a 95% profit margin on delivered power, it is to laugh. 😆 If you think industrial users would put up with that for 5 minutes, you’re dreaming. Any region/area that priced power fairly would have a huge “comparative advantage”. Not to mention the lynch parties ratepayers would form if any such rakeoff were attempted. At the very worst, neighborhoods could pool resources and put up a unit and contract out maintenance.

    Well I don’t want to speculate more on what could happen, because there is no way to actually prove it, but just wait and see.

    I just wanted to express my opinion that there are home used renewable alternatives currently in use, and there is a huge market for them which has increasing momentum, and there is some interesting development to improve those. That wont go away easy..

    Regarding the evil utilities, so they usually are not evil, but just profit hungry. I don’t really know what their profit margins are currently, but I would guess they are huge, and they would not mind getting a bigger peace of cake, especially after investing into some new technology like fusion.

    Neighborhoods might be able to pool resources, but for that someone has to stand up and do something. Current technologies enable them to do a lot of great things, but there is leadership and technical knowledge required.

    #2825
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    Breakable wrote:

    “home usable”?? How did that get in the mix? What possible generation capability would an apartment dweller use? That requirement is simply suburban nonsense. “Individual generation” is an elitist luxury.

    As for evil utilities taking a 95% profit margin on delivered power, it is to laugh. 😆 If you think industrial users would put up with that for 5 minutes, you’re dreaming. Any region/area that priced power fairly would have a huge “comparative advantage”. Not to mention the lynch parties ratepayers would form if any such rakeoff were attempted. At the very worst, neighborhoods could pool resources and put up a unit and contract out maintenance.

    Regarding the evil utilities, so they usually are not evil, but just profit hungry. I don’t really know what their profit margins are currently, but I would guess they are huge, and they would not mind getting a bigger peace of cake, especially after investing into some new technology like fusion.

    Neighborhoods might be able to pool resources, but for that someone has to stand up and do something. Current technologies enable them to do a lot of great things, but there is leadership and technical knowledge required.
    Plenty of them are publically traded, which means their P&Ls are accessible. “Normalized net profit margins in the Utility sector for the most recently reported quarter ranged from 20.5% (TXU) down to -5.9% (RRI), with a median value of 5.9%.” And remember that those are the profits that must provide cash flow for new infrastructure and capital development.

    Anyhow, the point is that they are far from having a free hand to price as they please.

    #2826
    Avatar
    JimmyT
    Participant

    Yes, this is truly a

    #2828
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    JimmyT wrote:

    Brian,
    Very well stated. That’s exactly how I’ve always thought of energy use/availability. I’ve realized for a long time that it formed a linchpin of our economy; and probably an Achilles heel over the last few decades.

    Perhaps it’s also or more like an underlying Truth-Measure that has been resisted or not confronted very well. Hiding the true cost of driving or growing food by use of subsidy and support from general tax revenue smears and hides what costs belong where, and results in distorted behavior and misplaced effort. Over-rewarding some exertion and energy expenditure and under-rewarding others leads to waste and large opportunity costs (missed opportunities to do things better and more efficiently).

    FF would wipe the slate clean in a wide range of areas and give a chance to do things smarter. But lots of peculiar responses could result. Imagine the roads flooded with huge all-electric SUVs. :coolsmirk: Crashing food prices as it got easier to cultivate and fertilize (chemical fertilizers would become very cheap as oil’s price tanked, too), resulting in a surge of gluttony and obesity. :vampire: :bug: Etc.

    New inventions: electric passenger planes (on-board FF)? Electric trains (on-board FF)? Electric ocean liners (on-board FF)? Electric submarines (on-board FF)? Deserts irrigated with desalinated seawater pumped hundreds of miles? Maglev moving sidewalks? And roadways? Electric rail-gun artillery (on-board FF)? Electric tanks (on-board FF)?

    The bind moggles!

    #2842
    Avatar
    Rematog
    Member

    Breakable,

    You mention solar cells for $1/watt ($1,000/kw). But what does a thousand dollars get you?…A crate full of solar cells, not an operating power system. And as someone (Brian I think, can’t see while posting) mentioned, solar cells have a poor capacity factor. A unit running at full rated power, 24/7/365 has a CF of 100%. Solar cells run at what? I’d guess between 20% to 40%, depending on climate, etc. Given numbers (very rough one, granted) mentioned elsewhere on this board, Focus fusion would have a CF similar, maybe a little better, then conventional power plants, I.E. 80-90%. So a fully installed solar cell system (not just the cells) would need to be less than half the cost to own and operate, per Kw of installed capacity, to have the same cost of power. And yes, while it is much lower, solar cell systems do require some maintenance.

    Regarding utilities. Sure, they are corporations and want to make money. But they are REGULATED. They can’t make money hand over fist. The regulators (which are politically appointed in states where they are not directly elected) can and have made utilities cut rates if they make more than the regulator thinks is “fair”.

    And I’m certainly of the belief that a relatively cheap, very clean, low resource use, power source would change a great deal in our world. And almost all of it, for the better.

    PS: Solar is NOT a low resource power source. As solar power density is low, it would take up a great deal of land. So solar, no matter how cheap or efficient the actual cells become, lacks the basic ability to make power truly plentiful. That is the difference. Focus Fusion would not only allow, but the lower cost would encourage, a massive increase in power usage. But with much less environmental impact.

    The steam engine changed the world, by making power very much cheaper and more plentiful compared to what it replaced, muscle power (animal and human). This is what I would see Focus Fusion doing.

    #2846
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    Rematog wrote:

    solar power density is low, it would take up a great deal of land. So solar, no matter how cheap or efficient the actual cells become, lacks the basic ability to make power truly plentiful. That is the difference. Focus Fusion would not only allow, but the lower cost would encourage, a massive increase in power usage. But with much less environmental impact.

    The steam engine changed the world, by making power very much cheaper and more plentiful compared to what it replaced, muscle power (animal and human). This is what I would see Focus Fusion doing.

    Density and convenience are key, as you say. The storage of power from solar for dim days and nighttime is soluble (compressed air, heated water, gravity batteries, hydrogen, etc.) , but it’s all add-on cost and complexity.

    BTW, have you heard about the permanent floating communities, ocean liners with condos always at sea? With an FF unit, that would really start to look interesting!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 26 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.