Homepage Forums After Fusion Power struggles ahead?

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  • #8188
    Avatartcg
    Member

    Rezwan wrote: As a good girl scout, I think we should be prepared for any eventuality.

    Yes, indeed!

    Get Sting to sing “I want my D P F”

    I would love to see this.

    #8231
    Avatarnemmart
    Member

    Lerner wrote: Brian, your model of free consumers optimizing their own choices does not fit the real world. The energy companies cannot possibly make up the tens of trillions of dollars they will lose if the price of oil falls to anywhere near its cost. The principle owners of the energy companies are the major global financial intuitions—BP’s main owner is JPMorgan-Chase, for example. They will be bankrupt if oil and gas falls to its cost of production. The few thousand individuals who sit on the boards of directors of the giant companies in every industry in the world (who are also generally directors of financial institutions or energy companies) are themselves most heavily invested in energy and in finance, which are the most profitable industries. They will not make decisions based on the competitive advantage of a given industry, but on maximizing their own personal wealth, which means protecting oil and gas, even if that means higher costs for everything else.
    As others have pointed out, the best way to counter these few immensely wealthy individuals—a method which has worked in the past—is building (over years) mass movements that can counter their political power. Focus Fusion folk need to be part of doing that, building our own efforts and reaching out to potential allies who want cheap, clean energy and everything that brings with it. The first step is educating people about what can be done, and what needs to be done–and inoculating people against future dirty tricks—like lumping aneutronic fusion together with fission so it can be labeled as too dangerous to use or falsely claiming that it will contribute to nuclear proliferation, etc.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the potential longer term politics. That stuff will play out — if FF works, it will be adopted somewhere and it will spread over time. The thing that I would worry about the most is making sure that the results are clear and reproducible. Although there will be an incredible temptation, do not hold back on any “secret sauce” in the interest of holding on to the profits. Just patent some important bits, license it out for small sums per unit (5% royalty maybe?) and hope for the best. Set this technology free. The world really needs it.

    What really would kill this dead is if the results aren’t reproducible. It’s critical that alternative fusion approaches do not suffer another Pons and Fleischmann fiasco.

    #8260
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    nemmart wrote: … That stuff will play out — if FF works, it will be adopted somewhere and it will spread over time. The thing that I would worry about the most is making sure that the results are clear and reproducible. Although there will be an incredible temptation, do not hold back on any “secret sauce” in the interest of holding on to the profits. Just patent some important bits, license it out for small sums per unit (5% royaltee maybe?) and hope for the best. Set this technology free. The world really needs it.

    What really would kill this dead is if the results aren’t reproducible. It’s critical that alternative fusion approaches do not suffer another Pons and Fleischmann fiasco.

    I pretty much agree, except the final comparison. As is pointed out in many places in the FF literature, it involves no new physics, no challenge to fundamentals requiring huge rethinks and major replication. Even the HMFE ion-electron energy gap control stuff is fairly standard, just under-explored and under-exploited. As Tulse pointed out earlier, this is new engineering more than anything else.

    IOW, the LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions — the new CF name) idea is not scientifically similar. Don’t get spooked.

    FF uses big temps, which is a lot easier for the world to grasp than low ones. :smirk:

    Which is why I think the speed of tech innovation and real-world application will be very fast, notwithstanding Eric’s experience with Tex. A&M. “Scientific break-even” is a bridge too far to cover up or block. IMO.

    #8469
    AvatarFrancisl
    Participant

    I work in an industry that uses about 200 tons per day of coal for combined heat and power. We use about 5 MW of electricity from our generators and the rest of the heat is used to produce steam. It would be nice to have DPF units that could produce equivalent results. I’m guessing that the electrical coils in the front of the device could provide our electricity and the x-rays coming from the back of the machine could produce our heat. This could be a simpler and more robust design for many industries.

    #8470
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    Francisl wrote: I work in an industry that uses about 200 tons per day of coal for combined heat and power. We use about 5 MW of electricity from our generators and the rest of the heat is used to produce steam. It would be nice to have DPF units that could produce equivalent results. I’m guessing that the electrical coils in the front of the device could provide our electricity and the x-rays coming from the back of the machine could produce our heat. This could be a simpler and more robust design for many industries.

    As I understand it the the device produces opposing beams of electrons and ions. The electrons are supposed to be reabsorbed by the plasma and increase the temperature and thus the fusion yield. The ions are to be captured by coils and thus provide the electrical power for the next pulse.

    The x-rays are not emitted as a beam but are generated by the plasma pinch in a fairly spherical wavefront that must be captured and put to work as the net power part of the device.

    The current plan is to use a version of the photoelectric process tailored to x-rays as x-rays are “just” very energetic photons.

    In addition the “standard” 5MWe unit is supposed to produce roughly about 5MWt, which can be either used or discarded..

    A notable difference… at this point with gas turbines or other power plants a Heat Recovery Steam Generator is used to reclaim some of the heat from the exhaust of the plant in order to provide additional electrical power…. but with a fusion generator setup that HRSG unit would be bulkier and much more expensive than just buying an additional fusion unit to provide whatever additional power you need 🙂

    #8474
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    What do you do with the steam besides make electricity? Is steam absolutely required for your heating requirements? FF is a lousy candidate for making the high pressure, high volume steam for driving turbines, but it is well suited for making low pressure hot water industrial and institutional boilers. The energy mix is expected to be ~5MWe and 8MWt, and none of the heat is required for fusion power generation.

    #8476
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    Aeronaut wrote: What do you do with the steam besides make electricity? Is steam absolutely required for your heating requirements? FF is a lousy candidate for making the high pressure, high volume steam for driving turbines, but it is well suited for making low pressure hot water industrial and institutional boilers. The energy mix is expected to be ~5MWe and 8MWt, and none of the heat is required for fusion power generation.

    8MWt? I thought it was ~5MWt?

    If so then that’s ~3.2 MWt for the 2MWe container… that crowds the single fan cooling iteration a bit. Dual fans will cover 3.2 MWt easily, and at less electrical overhead, but I was hoping to save the volume…

    edit: “will cover 8MWt” typo

    #8478
    AvatarFrancisl
    Participant

    We currently use 400 psi steam for power generation and 150 psi and lower pressure steam for process heat. We have two generators that produce about 5 MWe but can go to about 6MWe. If we had much cheaper electricity we could change our process so that we would need less heat.

    #8479
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    Francisl wrote: We currently use 400 psi steam for power generation and 150 psi and lower pressure steam for process heat. We have two generators that produce about 5 MWe but can go to about 6MWe. If we had much cheaper electricity we could change our process so that we would need less heat.

    I’ve read hot side temp estimates for the DPF cooling system that range from 800-1200 degrees F so I don’t think there will be a problem with keeping your current steam heat setup if you aren’t running any turbines etc with it.

    And as a bonus you still get much cheaper electricity… so perhaps in the future you might be able to afford incrementally switching out the steam units bit by bit as time goes on and replacing them with electric heating units that might be cheaper and easier to maintain.

    #8480
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    zapkitty wrote:

    What do you do with the steam besides make electricity? Is steam absolutely required for your heating requirements? FF is a lousy candidate for making the high pressure, high volume steam for driving turbines, but it is well suited for making low pressure hot water industrial and institutional boilers. The energy mix is expected to be ~5MWe and 8MWt, and none of the heat is required for fusion power generation.

    8MWt? I thought it was ~5MWt?

    If so then that’s ~3.2 MWt for the 2MWe container… that crowds the single fan cooling iteration a bit. Dual fans will cover 3.2 MWt easily, and at less electrical overhead, but I was hoping to save the volume…

    edit: “will cover 8MWt” typo

    In the fine print, making 5MWe @ 42% expected thermodynamic efficiency also produces ~8MWt. So the real total system energy production is more on the order of 13MW at around 330 hz. Made to order for cogen plants that don’t need huge volumes and pressures of superheated steam.

    #11174
    Avatardennisp
    Member

    Lerner wrote: The few thousand individuals who sit on the boards of directors of the giant companies in every industry in the world (who are also generally directors of financial institutions or energy companies) are themselves most heavily invested in energy and in finance, which are the most profitable industries. They will not make decisions based on the competitive advantage of a given industry, but on maximizing their own personal wealth, which means protecting oil and gas, even if that means higher costs for everything else.

    This is one reason I think it makes sense to use FF to power technologies that make hydrocarbon fuels from CO2. Instead of putting the oil companies out of business with electric cars, we give them a way to stay in business despite “peak oil.”

    We still use their refineries, pipelines, and gas stations. The only people out of business are the ones who do nothing but pump oil out of the ground (or mine coal).

    #11175
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    dennisp wrote:
    This is one reason I think it makes sense to use FF to power technologies that make hydrocarbon fuels from CO2. Instead of putting the oil companies out of business with electric cars, we give them a way to stay in business despite “peak oil.”

    … and we should subsidize the pollution and inefficiency of hydrocarbon fuels at great expense to the public and the public health and welfare just so the <1% can maintain their grip on power?

    In the hope that they might deign to allow us to have a few of the benefits of aneutronic fusion… but only on their terms?

    dennisp wrote: We still use their refineries, pipelines, and gas stations. The only people out of business are the ones who do nothing but pump oil out of the ground (or mine coal).

    They are already very addicted to corporate welfare and this plan won’t help them with their problem. The <1% literally pay money to encourage culture war shrieking about "the welfare state" while blithely ignoring the fact that their own corporate footstools are always eyebrow-deep in the government trough.

    And there is the 10,000,000,000 ton elephant in the room: CO2

    Not only will new emissions need to be cut but total CO2 content is going to have to be driven down sharply just to mitigate the damage already underway and the deaths and disruptions that will result from it. While coal is the larger part of it, petroleum fuels will have to go as well.

    Even just sustaining the petroleum-based part of the CO2 load isn’t an option we can afford anymore.

    #11176
    Avatardennisp
    Member

    You missed the part where I said “make hydrocarbon fuels [em]from CO2[/em].” If the fuel you’re burning is made from CO2 that you just pulled out of the air, you’ve got a closed loop with no net emissions. The overall effect is no different than if you were using electric vehicles.

    Other advantages: no need to wait for sufficiently good batteries. No need to convince people to replace their cars with new ones that take hours to “refuel” instead of minutes. No need to retool the car companies or build a bunch of recharging stations. Just install new stuff at the refineries and you’re good to go.

    Overall energy efficiency is lower, but with FF that’s less of a concern.

    In any case, I think that’s the case we should make. If electric cars turn out to be more competitive after all, then fine.

    #11178
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    dennisp wrote: You missed the part where I said “make hydrocarbon fuels [em]from CO2[/em].” If the fuel you’re burning is made from CO2 that you just pulled out of the air, you’ve got a closed loop with no net emissions. The overall effect is no different than if you were using electric vehicles.

    Nope, it’s very different. What you’re doing with your plan is essentially paying extra just to tread water on the CO2 levels contributed by hydrocarbon fuels without mitigating any of the other health and environmental problems they also cause.

    As I said, even just sustaining the petroleum-based part of the CO2 load isn’t an option we can afford anymore.

    dennisp wrote: Other advantages: no need to wait for sufficiently good batteries. No need to convince people to replace their cars with new ones that take hours to “refuel” instead of minutes…

    Even current electric vehicles such as the Leaf or the Volt can be fully recharged in 30-45 minutes and you can top them up whenever you are near a charger.

    The “hours of charging time” meme is rooted in attempts to allow charging at home with the existing grid and home circuits,… and [em]those[/em] will have to be upgraded regardless of what else we may do.

    As for the shifts in the auto industry? They’re already happening. Paying extra in monerary, health and environmental costs just to try hang on to what’s already past won’t be doing those workers, or the rest of us, any favors.

    #11182
    Avatarbenf
    Participant

    I agree with Zapkitty. I think planting trees makes more sense, which would help restore habitats and ecosystems….physorg.com

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