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  • #4270
    AvatarLerner
    Participant

    You guys want to debate global warming, you should do it on another thread. In fact this one has gone pretty far afield, so probably another one should be started.

    Aeronaut, I did like your last version better. I doubt the Dems are going to be that much better on energy, but we shall see soon. I think the picks to be funded from the ARPA-E will be something of an indication of policy. (not the ones picked to submit full proposals, which is what will be announced in August, but who actually gets the money in the fall or winter.) Also, people don’t like to be shouted at, so lower key is better, I think.

    Brian, if you think FF will be adopted automatically because it is cheaper, think about what happened 50 years ago in gem diamonds. GE developed a way to make industrial diamonds artificially. Then they did some more research and found they could make pretty good gem diamonds as well—much cheaper than the current price DeBeers was getting with its monopoly power. DeBeers got very upset when they heard about this and threatened GE with all sorts of lawsuits about the patent. It all ended amicably with GE selling the patent to DeBeers for an undisclosed sum. DeBeers of course then could use the patent to shut down any further research. Result: diamonds are still sold at prices that are both far above the cost to manufacture gem diamonds artificially, and also far above the cost of mining them. (The Soviets later developed technology to produce excellent yellow diamonds, but never exploited it themselves because, after all, the USSR then and Russia now is a major exporter of diamonds.)

    The analogy is very close with oil and gas today, except the market involved is far huger. (And, of course, we won’t sell the patent.) Oil is sold way above its cost of extraction because of monopoly power. Those benefiting include not just oil and gas companies, but the banks that have lent them money and own their shares, many governments, many other corporations. FF being on the market would threaten tens of trillions of dollars in investments. And, just as for industrial diamonds, the profits to be made from a MUCH cheaper product could never make up for those lost by the collapse of monopoly pricing. So very powerful interests will have to be fought in order to bring FF into the market, even once proven. This requires that eventually lots of people need to know how much the average person will benefit from FF, so that it becomes politically impossible to suppress it.

    #4271
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    Lerner wrote: You guys want to debate global warming, you should do it on another thread. In fact this one has gone pretty far afield, so probably another one should be started.

    Aeronaut, I did like your last version better. I doubt the Dems are going to be that much better on energy, but we shall see soon. I think the picks to be funded from the ARPA-E will be something of an indication of policy. (not the ones picked to submit full proposals, which is what will be announced in August, but who actually gets the money in the fall or winter.) Also, people don’t like to be shouted at, so lower key is better, I think.

    Brian, if you think FF will be adopted automatically because it is cheaper, think about what happened 50 years ago in gem diamonds. GE developed a way to make industrial diamonds artificially. Then they did some more research and found they could make pretty good gem diamonds as well—much cheaper than the current price DeBeers was getting with its monopoly power. DeBeers got very upset when they heard about this and threatened GE with all sorts of lawsuits about the patent. It all ended amicably with GE selling the patent to DeBeers for an undisclosed sum. DeBeers of course then could use the patent to shut down any further research. Result: diamonds are still sold at prices that are both far above the cost to manufacture gem diamonds artificially, and also far above the cost of mining them. (The Soviets later developed technology to produce excellent yellow diamonds, but never exploited it themselves because, after all, the USSR then and Russia now is a major exporter of diamonds.)

    The analogy is very close with oil and gas today, except the market involved is far huger. (And, of course, we won’t sell the patent.) Oil is sold way above its cost of extraction because of monopoly power. Those benefiting include not just oil and gas companies, but the banks that have lent them money and own their shares, many governments, many other corporations. FF being on the market would threaten tens of trillions of dollars in investments. And, just as for industrial diamonds, the profits to be made from a MUCH cheaper product could never make up for those lost by the collapse of monopoly pricing. So very powerful interests will have to be fought in order to bring FF into the market, even once proven. This requires that eventually lots of people need to know how much the average person will benefit from FF, so that it becomes politically impossible to suppress it.

    Eric;
    Actually, there is a newer and better version of the diamond tech; a research team developed a way to do vapor deposition onto slices of seed diamond, at the rate of about a carat an hour. The only way to tell them from natural gem quality is that they are too perfect; there are no flaws or inclusions. Next step will be to introduce contaminants to provide the various colored varieties, from blue to yellow to pink. The same technique can coat circuit blanks or other items, and so on. Chipmakers are drooling.

    My recommendation, as you have observed perhaps, for frustrating any attempt to corral and squelch FF* in or by a local jurisdiction is to make it simultaneously available world-wide to all qualified potential generator manufacturers. No individual jurisdiction or cabal could afford to try to hold back from urgent implementation and deployment, because the outside users would acquire a crippling ‘competitive advantage’ stretching across virtually every area of production or development. Cheap power is the “Open Sesame” to the full spectrum of economic and quality of life advantages and advances. No one could refrain from “keeping up with the” Wongs, and Zonkovs, and so on. ( Diamonds are a tiny, luxury and insignificant factor in the world by comparison, notwithstanding their importance in feeding certain unsavory coffers. )

    In other words, once this genie is out of the bottle, there is no restraining him or putting him back.

    As far as courting public awareness is concerned, it’s a hell of a lot easier said than done. That’s a fickle beast out there. As I observed, though, if you/we/anyone can ignite genuine hope of resolution of the myriad problems FF addresses, there will be a huge response. The well has been soured, if not poisoned, by lots of earlier disappointments, notably Cold Fusion, of course. And simply saying, “No, no, no, we’re not like them!” isn’t terribly persuasive.

    Which is why I believe that the fait accompli route is far safer and surer.

    *As far as getting gov’t help, suppose it decided that the technology was of strategic importance and decided to exercise eminent domain? Put not your trust in princes.

    #4272
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    Thanx for the feedback, Eric and Brian.

    I’m putting the previous version back up now, and am going to use the economics/quality of life(-style)/highly benign ecological spinoffs to flesh it out on a 5 to 10 page mini site once I work out the new angle(s). Should be able to work all ten sales story formats into that many pages.

    The DeBeers and Gore stories were real eye-openers for me. I’ll start a feedback thread when I have subatomic overhauled. These last two sales letters only took me a few hours to write, so I will find the range soon.

    Thanx again for the feedback, everybody.

    #4292
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    The BBC has a site and group called “Global Minds” that I joined after listening to Noah Raford on Collapse Dynamics, and I posted a thread claiming “Fusion Solves All“. There has been some response; don’t know if you have to join to read it, but check it out if you can.

    #4294
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    Nope, you have to join to read their content. What kind of comments have you stirred up over there?

    #4295
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    Aeronaut wrote: Nope, you have to join to read their content. What kind of comments have you stirred up over there?

    Here’s a prezampul:

    07-21-2009 7:13 PM In reply to
    Re: Fusion solves all

    BrianH,

    I have a question. In your note you stated:

    BrianH:
    The most manageable “sweet spot” seems to be around 330cps (Hertz), which produces a steady 5MW power supply. [Improvements in cooling tech for the electrodes would permit higher cycle rates and higher output as time goes on, perhaps up to 25MW.]

    According to my handy-dandy Wikipedia power comparision chart, that works out to be around the same output as a locomotive. Given this:

    If the power output is, as you say capable of reaching 25MW then does the number of units required to replace – say a power plant (around 1300MV) exceed the cost of the plant it is destined to replace? How does this compare between Hydro-electric, Coal Fire, Gas Fire, and Nuclear?

    Kind regards
    Roo

    07-21-2009 11:34 PM In reply to

    * BrianH
    *
    * Top 500 Contributor
    * Joined on 07-19-2009
    * Posts 4

    Re: Fusion solves all

    At the most expensive price point (5 MW), the cost/W is around 5-10¢. Power plants now cost between $1 and $5/W to build, depending on the technology. (North American figures; not sure what they would be in the UK or EU. I assume they would be even higher.)

    The 25 MW generator would cycle at 1650Hz, and require much more effective electrode cooling. Assuming such a generator would cost twice as much (a very high assumption), that would reduce the installed cost to 2¢/W. However, it may be years before that becomes possible. In any case, the 5MW version is so much less expensive than any existing or projected alternatives that it wouldn’t make sense to hold off waiting for the larger cooling capacity. The fate of many/most existing plants would be to become “stranded assets” — expensive installations that still need to be paid for, but have had their income streams and economic justification removed by new developments. Attempting to keep them going would, of course, just be throwing good money after bad, much in the manner of most of the current “Stimulus” programs.

    That enough stirring for you? 😉 :coolsmirk: 😆

    #4299
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    It’s a good start. Ask me about my gravity wheel. 😉

    #4315
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    June 29 interview of Eric at NextBigFuture: http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/06/interview-of-eric-lerner-lawrenceville.html . Good stuff.

    Question: You have divided your fusion development projects into stages. What are these stages, and are you meeting the timetables?

    Answer: There are three basic stages. We are currently trying to determine the scientific feasibility of our approach. This involves constructing a laboratory device that generates net energy and unequivocally proves viability. This phase has just begun and should be completed within the next two years. The second stage would result in a working prototype, and that will be a much larger project, involving about $20 million and taking about 3 years. The final stage would be implementation – getting our fusion technology out to the economy.

    Question: How long do you anticipate between a successful prototype demonstration and commercial production?

    Answer: We anticipate having a commercial reactor no more than eighteen months after the prototype is completed. So eighteen months after the prototype there should be significant numbers of reactors being manufactured. If this technology can generate electricity for 1/10 the cost of current approaches, as we believe, then it will quickly supplant them. We could eventually see a million of these units being produced per year.

    #4320
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    Email exchange with Craig Smith

    Dear Mr. Hall,

    Thank you for your email message calling attention to the Lawrenceville Plasma Physics concept. I have a limited awareness of the concept based on some discussions with my colleagues, but not of the details. I agree with you that the idea could have major implications if it proves out; I am quite interested in learning more and will consult the LPP web site. Thanks again,

    Craig

    Craig F. Smith
    LLNL Chair Professor
    Naval Postgraduate School

    On 8/1/09 7:19 AM, “Brian Hall” wrote:

    Dr. Smith;
    I’ve just read your write-up of the SSTAR reactor option, and would like to draw you attention to a “dark horse” candidate to supply small generator distributed power in a similar manner.

    Please check out the initiative being undertaken at Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, which has finally obtained adequate funding to do proper proof-of-concept experiments for its small fusion reactor design (5 MW). It uses a form of pulsed Dense Plasma Focus, exploiting, rather than fighting, the instability of plasma events during bursts of fusion of protons and Boron11. This is aneutronic fusion, inherently clean and safe. The intention is to demonstrate unity within 1-2 years, then proceed to design and refinement of a generator design which can be mass-produced under license to all comers world-wide.

    It is anticipated that in mass production the cost FOB factory would be ~$250,000, and output would have a marginal cost around ¼¢/kwh. The implications could be staggering.

    Brian Hall

    I replied suggesting he also examine the FF site, in particular the video and patent, etc.

    #4321
    AvatarAaronB
    Member

    We’d enjoy having Mr. Smith take a look at us and review our work. He obviously knows the potential of fusion power. His understanding of fusion principles and technologies would give him a great advantage in offering an opinion. He would have to understand that we rely on a different approach than the tokamak and other designs. We use (and encourage) instabilities in the plasma rather than try to eliminate them. That is the critical difference that gives us an advantage.

    Thanks for your efforts in spreading the word!

    #4322
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    AaronB wrote: We’d enjoy having Mr. Smith take a look at us and review our work. He obviously knows the potential of fusion power. His understanding of fusion principles and technologies would give him a great advantage in offering an opinion. He would have to understand that we rely on a different approach than the tokamak and other designs. We use (and encourage) instabilities in the plasma rather than try to eliminate them. That is the critical difference that gives us an advantage.

    Thanks for your efforts in spreading the word!

    In case you didn’t catch it, his affiliation (LLNL) is Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His article was about compact fission reactors (SSTAR).

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