Homepage Forums Spreading the Word Making the fusion case to Electric Car industry

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  • #1250
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    Hello All!

    Focus Fusion will have a presence at the EV Fest in Toronto, Canada on October 23 and we’d like to develop a specific one-sheet that is targeted to the stakeholders (investors, inventors, consumers) in the electric auto industry that makes the case in a few paragraphs and images as to why it’s in their interest to support/pursue fusion research.

    If you’re a whiz at the graphics and sales pitches, here are a few points to make:

    1) Electric vehicles that run on fossil fuels (coal powered electric generation) aren’t really much cleaner than fossil powered vehicles, so we need to bring non fossil generated energy on line.

    2) There’s lots of support for solar and wind, but ultimately, these are too diffuse (and require a lot of space) so if we ever want to get to a fully electric vehicle world, we need to get some real power online – we need to make fusion happen.

    3) We aren’t doing everything we can to make it happen – your (auto people’s) participation is crucial. Fusion energy has a lot of promise, but is under-funded (a graphic or two to make the case).

    4) The time scale might be shortened by trying out alternatives fusion approaches.

    5) 1-4 will be the fusion in general argument, that can be on one sheet. Then an LPP investor could hand people the LPP flyer, saying, “and this is one of the coolest approaches to fusion that I personally am invested in.” Or a GF investor could hand GF materials, or whatever. Make the one-sheet flexible.

    And…action!

    #10805
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    Apologies, this came out sounding negative:

    Rezwan wrote:
    2) There’s lots of support for solar and wind, but ultimately, these are too diffuse (and require a lot of space) so if we ever want to get to a fully electric vehicle world, we need to get some real power online – we need to make fusion happen.

    A better way to put this is that solar and wind are great but only cover x% of the ideal world wide demand for electric vehicles, so here’s what we need to go totally electric – here’s how much fusion we need.

    Info graphics available at David MacKay’s “Without the Hot air” (although this is all UK data)

    Auto demand: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c3/page_29.shtml

    Demand vs. Supply: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c18/page_103.shtml

    The red stack in figure 18.1 adds up to 195 kWh per day per person. The
    green stack adds up to about 180 kWh/d/p. A close race! But please
    remember: in calculating our production stack we threw all economic,
    social, and environmental constraints to the wind. Also, some of our green
    contributors are probably incompatible with each other: our photovoltaic
    panels and hot-water panels would clash with each other on roofs; and our
    solar photovoltaic farms using 5% of the country might compete with the
    energy crops with which we covered 75% of the country. If we were to lose
    just one of our bigger green contributors – for example, if we decided that
    deep offshore wind is not an option, or that panelling 5% of the country
    with photovoltaics at a cost of £200 000 per person is not on – then the
    production stack would no longer match the consumption stack.

    #10806
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    A more apt comparison might be that going all “renewable” will require vast changes in the infrastructure of society and too many ordinary people will be forgotten or swept aside in the struggle to make that change happen. Fusion will make that change both easier and more egalitarian. Fusion will help renewables.

    The key here being that to many people “renewable” has become a religion… to the point where they try to fit things into that category that aren’t actually renewable and will respond emotionally to anything they regard as a threat to their concept of what is renewable. And I’ve learned by experience that all too many regard any fusion funding at all as a threat to renewables.

    It takes some time to explain to them the irony… that this is what the energy oligarchs [em]want[/em] them to think.

    As for forms of fusion, I know the Society promotes the general concept of fusion power, but neutronic fusion using tritium is what 99%+ of the population who are even aware of fusion think fusion power is… and those words set a steep bar to get past with the green crowd. To them neutrons are what weakens the structure of a fission plant and make it radioactive and tritium is what leaks into the environment from the maze of water pipes buried under that fission plant… and as far as fission plants go they are right.

    Neutronic fusion is very different in those regards but in an EV setting do you have the time to explain just how neutronic fusion is different? So I’d save the “why even neutronic fusion is better” routine for a forum where you can have that time to get past their preconceptions… and go straight for aneutronic.

    #10809
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    I hear a lot of objections, how are you turning these into selling points on your brochure/one-sheet?

    Make the case. You don’t have to convince everyone, just the people with money to invest. Make the case for those people who want their investment in electric cars to have a big return, and who just need a bit of info to realize that investing in fusion research may yield a viable supply of energy, and there are all these great fusion alternatives to be explored – especially aneutronic ones.

    #10810
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    Rezwan wrote: I hear a lot of objections, how are you turning these into selling points on your brochure/one-sheet?

    Make the case. You don’t have to convince everyone, just the people with money to invest. Make the case for those people who want their investment in electric cars to have a big return, and who just need a bit of info to realize that investing in fusion research may yield a viable supply of energy, and there are all these great fusion alternatives to be explored – especially aneutronic ones.

    Not impossible, I think, but I also think you have to start a step further back than what seemed to be implied in your original post… the bifurcation between the effects of neutronic and aneutronic fusion is almost as profound as that between the effects of fusion and fission…

    I will see what I can do.

    #10811
    AvatarWarwick
    Member

    Rezwan wrote: Apologies, this came out sounding negative:

    2) There’s lots of support for solar and wind, but ultimately, these are too diffuse (and require a lot of space) so if we ever want to get to a fully electric vehicle world, we need to get some real power online – we need to make fusion happen.

    A better way to put this is that solar and wind are great but only cover x% of the ideal world wide demand for electric vehicles, so here’s what we need to go totally electric – here’s how much fusion we need.

    Info graphics available at David MacKay’s “Without the Hot air” (although this is all UK data)

    Auto demand: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c3/page_29.shtml

    Demand vs. Supply: http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c18/page_103.shtml

    The red stack in figure 18.1 adds up to 195 kWh per day per person. The
    green stack adds up to about 180 kWh/d/p. A close race! But please
    remember: in calculating our production stack we threw all economic,
    social, and environmental constraints to the wind. Also, some of our green
    contributors are probably incompatible with each other: our photovoltaic
    panels and hot-water panels would clash with each other on roofs; and our
    solar photovoltaic farms using 5% of the country might compete with the
    energy crops with which we covered 75% of the country. If we were to lose
    just one of our bigger green contributors – for example, if we decided that
    deep offshore wind is not an option, or that panelling 5% of the country
    with photovoltaics at a cost of £200 000 per person is not on – then the
    production stack would no longer match the consumption stack.

    Isn’t this a terribly complicated argument? Surely it’s much simpler to say “there is no definite reason to believe that the economic costs of solar or wind will ever be lower than coal, in many areas”. I think people can grasp that since most grid electricity is presently not solar or wind, it’s not likely that everyone driving EVs would be using solar/wind.

    The UK is a special case, where offshore wind could probably, on sufficient scale, be competitive with fossil. Similarly if you live in North Africa then solar (probably CSP with big fields of parabolas, given the amount of space) is going to be more cost-effective than elsewhere. If you live in a wet mountainous place full of rivers, hydro power maybe. I get energy from a hydro company and it is like 10% more than the market rate, unsubsidised as far as I’m aware. But whatever the exceptions that are making inroads at the boundaries, in general, renewables haven’t yet proven themselves economically competitive. Solar PV cells are getting cheaper, apparently with changes to the silicon refining market, but unsubsidised they are still miles off the competition. Yes governments are still giving handouts to fossil fuel giants, and yes they could have done more to instead promote green energy of all sorts. But the bottom line remains that at this point, a cheaper clean tech would make the most difference.

    Green aficionados aren’t going to readily accept that there are physical limitations to renewables, or that if there are, that man’s consumption shouldn’t be kept within them. But there’s no question it’s economics that has so far made it hard for solar/wind to gain market share. I think that is commonly accepted.

    #10812
    AvatarWarwick
    Member

    zapkitty wrote: A more apt comparison might be that going all “renewable” will require vast changes in the infrastructure of society and too many ordinary people will be forgotten or swept aside in the struggle to make that change happen. Fusion will make that change both easier and more egalitarian. Fusion will help renewables.

    The key here being that to many people “renewable” has become a religion… to the point where they try to fit things into that category that aren’t actually renewable and will respond emotionally to anything they regard as a threat to their concept of what is renewable. And I’ve learned by experience that all too many regard any fusion funding at all as a threat to renewables.

    It takes some time to explain to them the irony… that this is what the energy oligarchs [em]want[/em] them to think.

    I think the general attitude you get from FoE and co is that “fusion … unproven …. better invest in wind/solar/wave … now, now”. Talking to people in the UK Green party I have usually had “fusion … but it’s always 30 years away … better invest in [my favoured technology of choice] … blah blah”. (Although those people were a fairly rightwing fringe and maybe not representative.)

    #10813
    AvatarWarwick
    Member

    Warwick wrote:

    A more apt comparison might be that going all “renewable” will require vast changes in the infrastructure of society and too many ordinary people will be forgotten or swept aside in the struggle to make that change happen. Fusion will make that change both easier and more egalitarian. Fusion will help renewables.

    The key here being that to many people “renewable” has become a religion… to the point where they try to fit things into that category that aren’t actually renewable and will respond emotionally to anything they regard as a threat to their concept of what is renewable. And I’ve learned by experience that all too many regard any fusion funding at all as a threat to renewables.

    It takes some time to explain to them the irony… that this is what the energy oligarchs [em]want[/em] them to think.

    I think the general attitude you get from FoE and co is that “fusion … unproven …. better invest in wind/solar/wave … now, now”. Talking to people in the UK Green party I have usually had “fusion … but it’s always 30 years away … better invest in [my favoured technology of choice] … blah blah”. (Although those people were a fairly rightwing fringe and maybe not representative.)

    I wonder what Prince Charles thinks about fusion.

    #10814
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    As stated, the aneutronic difference is key. But even key-er is cost.

    The projected FF costs, even doubled or tripled, simply render all other alternatives “economic roadkill”, to quote my own favourite phrase. Renewable, conventional, nuclear, whatever. There is nothing in the ballpark, the race, the picture. Combined with dispatchability (responsiveness to demand), distributed installation (siting near demand, wherever that might be), lack of waste stream, and safety (breakdown results in a stopped generator, period), and the only barrier to selling it is breaking through incredulity that anything could be that good.

    #10815
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    Brian H wrote: As stated, the aneutronic difference is key. But even key-er is cost.

    The projected FF costs, even doubled or tripled, simply render all other alternatives “economic roadkill”, to quote my own favourite phrase. Renewable, conventional, nuclear, whatever. There is nothing in the ballpark, the race, the picture. Combined with dispatchability (responsiveness to demand), distributed installation (siting near demand, wherever that might be), lack of waste stream, and safety (breakdown results in a stopped generator, period), and the only barrier to selling it is breaking through incredulity that anything could be that good.

    Generally takes me a day or two of back-and-forth in a blog comment thread and that’s with the advantage of being able to lay out the alternatives and to address the specific concerns of a given person.

    Getting similar results from two flyers is going to be interesting 🙂

    #10816
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    Thanks Rudy for sending me this link: Will electric cars wreck the grid.

    Although the link isn’t about a shortage of energy, but rather about loads.

    #10817
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    zapkitty wrote:


    the only barrier to selling it is breaking through incredulity that anything could be that good.

    Generally takes me a day or two of back-and-forth in a blog comment thread and that’s with the advantage of being able to lay out the alternatives and to address the specific concerns of a given person.

    Getting similar results from two flyers is going to be interesting 🙂

    Perhaps phrasing in terms of research results per dollar would help, too. Since LPP is at least one order of magnitude closer to “Unity” than any other project, and has had an order of magnitude less funding than even the least expensive of the alternatives, the RORI (Return On Research Investment) is at least 100X better than anyone else’s!

    And when comparing to the Whale projects, like ITER and NIF, you can add 4-8 zeroes to that, depending on how you measure it.

    #10822
    Avatarvansig
    Member

    For consumers, the comparisons that work for EV are: (a) the distance you can cover between recharges, and (b) time-to-recharge. To create a market for EV, these need to compare favourably to internal combustion. It’s a tough sell, because in terms of energy density, battery technologies are not yet as good as liquid fuels, and that ultimately limits the range, efficiency, and convenience of EV.

    Until the next breakthrough, LiFePO4 batteries have the fastest recharge time, and good power.

    But what charges them? it all boils down to cost per watt.

    At $1 per watt production cost, silicon solar cells are pretty good. But fusion will be better.

    #10823
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    … surface surface surface…
    … always steal from the best…

    Opening teaser on the fusion flyer:

    Fusion: 30 years away?
    [em]… or just around the corner?[/em]

    … then tackle that and maybe 3 other talking points against fusion.

    Then pair that with this opening teaser on the aneutronic flyer:

    Fusion is a step ahead for EVs
    Aneutronic Fusion is a leap for all humanity

    … and give the short version of aneutronic in the same format as the fusion flyer.

    …dive dive dive…

    #10826
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    Automakers’ R&D budgets are driven to a very large extent by trying to balance muscle-mobiles with their Corporate Average Fuel Economy (and the implied air pollution) laws. Thus a $100M investment could let them build whatever sells, such as Ego-Boost. This enough to build, staff, and operate over 50 LPP clones per year, a more than respectable Maintenance Of Effort on the auto industry’s part. And it’s enough to get a lot of good press.

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