New insights on fusion power

Dec 03, 2008 by David Chandler
From the control room, graduate students Rachael McDermott and Eric Edlund perform experiments on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak to support their thesis work. Photo / Paul Rivenberg

(PhysOrg.com) -- Research carried out at MIT’s Alcator C-Mod fusion reactor may have brought the promise of fusion as a future power source a bit closer to reality, though scientists caution that a practical fusion powerplant is still decades away.

Fusion, the reaction that produces the sun’s energy, is thought to have enormous potential for future power generation because fusion plant operation produces no emissions, fuel sources are potentially abundant, and it produces relatively little (and short-lived) radioactive waste. But it still faces great hurdles.

“There’s been a lot of progress,” says physicist Earl Marmar, division head of the Alcator Project at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). “We’re learning a lot more about the details of how these things work.”

The Alcator C-Mod reactor, in operation since 1993, has the highest magnetic field and the highest plasma pressure of any fusion reactor in the world, and is the largest fusion reactor operated by any university.

One of the most vexing issues facing those trying to construct a fusion plant that produces more power than it consumes (something never achieved yet experimentally) is how to propel the hot plasma (an electrically charged gas) around inside the donut-shaped reactor chamber. This is necessary to keep it from losing its heat of millions of degrees to the cooler vessel walls. Now, the MIT scientists think they may have found a way.

Physicist Yijun Lin and principal research scientist John Rice have led experiments that demonstrate a very efficient method for using radio-frequency waves to push the plasma around inside the vessel, not only keeping it from losing heat to the walls but also preventing internal turbulence that can reduce the efficiency of fusion reactions.

“That’s very important,” Marmar says, because presently used techniques to push the plasma will not work in future, higher-power reactors such as the planned ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) now under construction in France, and so new methods must be found. “People have been trying to do this for decades,” he says.

Lin says that “some of these results are surprising to theorists,” and as yet there is no satisfying theoretical foundation for why it works as it does. But the experimental results so far show that the method works, which could be crucial to the success of ITER and future power-generating fusion reactors. Lack of a controllable mechanism for propelling the plasma around the reactor “is potentially a showstopper,” Rice says, and the ITER team is “very concerned about this.”

Rice adds that “we’ve been looking for this effect for many years,” trying different variations of fuel mixture, frequency of the radio waves, and other parameters. “Finally, the conditions were just right.” Given that the ITER project, which will take 10 years to build, is already underway, “our results are just in time for this,” Lin says. These results are being published in Physical Review Letters on Dec. 5. The work was sponsored by the US Department of Energy.

A number of other recent findings from Alcator C-Mod research could also play a significant role in making fusion practical, and several papers on these new results were presented at the Plasma Physics Divisional meeting of the American Physical Society held in November.

One of these is a method developed by Dennis Whyte and Robert Granetz for preventing a kind of runaway effect that could cause severe damage to reactor components. When a fusion reactor is in operation, any disruption of the magnetic field that confines the super-hot plasma could cause a very powerful beam of “runaway electrons,” with enough energy to melt through solid steel. This would not be dangerous to personnel because everything is well-shielded, but it could cause hardware damage that would be expensive and time-consuming to repair.

But Whyte and Granetz have developed a kind of high-powered fire extinguisher for such runaway beams: A way of suddenly injecting a blast of argon or neon gas into the reactor vessel that turns the plasma energy into light, which is then harmlessly absorbed by the reactor walls, and suppresses the beam by apparently making the magnetic fields more disorganized.

For about a thousandth of a second, Whyte says, this brilliant flash of light is the world’s brightest light — the equivalent of a billion-watt bulb — though it’s in a place where nobody can directly see it.

Because the Alcator C-Mod’s design is very closely matched to that of ITER, “we are uniquely positioned to explore what happens when these disruptions occur,” Whyte says. ITER will be 10 times the diameter, with a thousand times the energy, so if this quenching system is used there it would produce a trillion-watt bulb — for a fleeting instant, nearly equivalent to the total electricity output of the United States.

Provided by MIT

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User comments : 55

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gmurphy
4.5 / 5 (13) Dec 03, 2008
really cool, kudos to the guys for persevering with their extensive experimentation.
moj85
4.4 / 5 (16) Dec 03, 2008
This is why university (or non-corporate) research is so important.. they are decades away and still trying to get to it. Is the future far away yet?
Doug_Loss
2.6 / 5 (19) Dec 03, 2008
There's an old saying: "Fusion power is 30 years in the future--and always will be."
Alizee
Dec 03, 2008
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Canadianwilson
4.2 / 5 (11) Dec 03, 2008
Doug loss...I can assure you that sceptics had the same attitude of fission power... There always going to be people like you out there that are in politics that slow down science because of that very attitude.
Soylent
4 / 5 (8) Dec 03, 2008
Why to spent our money for disputable energy sources, like ITER?


Because they have a decent potential to work and cold fusion does not.
dubvmt
1.7 / 5 (7) Dec 03, 2008
So how much energy is being used before the "trillion watt light" is being produced If this flare is equivilant to the total electrical energy in the unites states then could you some how harnest that energy for additional energy output?
Soylent
3.7 / 5 (7) Dec 03, 2008
Doug loss...I can assure you that sceptics had the same attitude of fission power...


The difference is that from the discovery of fission it took a mere 3 years to produce the first self-sustaining fission reaction in the Chicago-1 reactor in a racquets court below the bleachers of Stagg Field. On a difficulty scale fission is like cold fusion(except that it actually works).
Soylent
4.4 / 5 (9) Dec 03, 2008
dubvmt, power is the rate at which energy is released; it doesn't tell you how much energy is released unless you integrate it with respect to time.

E.g. if you could somehow ignite and burn 1 gallon of gasoline within 120 nano seconds it would produce a trillion watts of power.
earls
3.8 / 5 (4) Dec 03, 2008
Seems to me the bigger stumbling point is the energy harnessing/feedback system to drive electricity (energy) back into the reactor.

Last I heard they were still collecting neutrons to power steam turbines.

Unless they're looking at an input/output ratio so great that incidental losses don't matter...?

But I find that odd considering there's so many obstacles to just reaching break-even.

Thinking now I suppose these RF drivers may be the piece of the puzzle I'm referring to... Forcing the system to "feedback" upon itself.
Doug_Loss
3.9 / 5 (8) Dec 03, 2008
Canadianwilson, you clearly don't understand a tongue-in-cheek quote of an old witticism if you take it for some prediction. I'd love to see a functioning fusion powerplant. I'm just not going to hold my breath waiting. Oh, anyone here familiar with the Bussard Polywell confinement concept? I'm no expert, but it looks like a very interesting rethinking of how to tame fusion reactions. I'm not sanguine about tokamaks ever reaching and maintaining sustainable positive power generation.
Atomsview
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 03, 2008
If the physics of electron capture was fully understood, fusion would be feasible. Electron capture produces neutrons which is a crucial step to have fusion.
Soylent
4.8 / 5 (4) Dec 03, 2008
If the physics of electron capture was fully understood, fusion would be feasible. Electron capture produces neutrons which is a crucial step to have fusion.


I don't see any possible relevance of electron capture to nuclear fusion. Certainly, all the interesting fusion reactions for power production preserve the number of protons, neutrons and electrons so no electron capture is necessary to produce neutrons from an electron and a proton; and all the free neutrons involved are just a waste product of the reaction(posing a particularly difficult materials challenge with the primary candidate, D-T fusion).
albert
1.9 / 5 (17) Dec 03, 2008
What is really going to cook your three pounds of brain matter is that the sun is cold...very cold. Every calculation produced by modern science is wrong regarding the temperature of the sun. Laugh heartily, pilgrims of outer science! The sun is cool!
damnfuct
4.3 / 5 (10) Dec 03, 2008
Why to spent our money for disputable energy sources, like ITER?


When you can afford to shell out 500 billion for something as pointless as "invading" a country, tossing out a petty 5 billion seems worth it if fusion ends up being viable.
Atomsview
2 / 5 (11) Dec 03, 2008
I provided a hint on how fusion is done in stars. The popular idea is incorrect. If the correct process is used, we can produce safe energy by fusion reation.
Soylent
3.4 / 5 (7) Dec 04, 2008
I provided a hint on how fusion is done in stars. The popular idea is incorrect. If the correct process is used, we can produce safe energy by fusion reation.


If you have any kind of reasonable argument for comming to this position, feel free to spit it out; otherwise kindly stop being irritating.
Arikin
1.5 / 5 (6) Dec 04, 2008
I do think that we first need to know how the sun does it in a ~10K degree vacuum. Or is the Alcator C-Mod doing this in a cold vacuum? If not maybe we should try. And maybe throw in some artificial gravity in the center :-)
bmerc
4.2 / 5 (11) Dec 04, 2008
I provided a hint on how fusion is done in stars. The popular idea is incorrect. If the correct process is used, we can produce safe energy by fusion reation.


Ah yes, that giant ball of yellow ice in the sky that chills me until I look like a lobster anytime I am under it for more than ten minutes.
bmerc
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 04, 2008
I do think that we first need to know how the sun does it in a ~10K degree vacuum. Or is the Alcator C-Mod doing this in a cold vacuum? If not maybe we should try. And maybe throw in some artificial gravity in the center :-)


Well then you need to hook up with that tease Atomsview and see if you can persuade him to do more than just drop a hint or two about the process by which the sun works so that we can all enjoy cheap boundless power.
Atomsview
1.6 / 5 (8) Dec 04, 2008
All nuclei have neutrons except for ordinary hydrogen. Free neutrons decay, only neutrons that are in a nucleus are stable. Stars have ionized atoms. I mentioned electron capture earlier. These are all clues for safe fusion to produce domestic energy.
DeadCorpse
2.3 / 5 (6) Dec 04, 2008
I can't help but wonder if a privately funded, "for profit" effort wouldn't have already solved a lot of the issues in sustaining a fusion reaction.

It seems that every massive government funded project like this is more of a financial black hole than anything else.

NASA's budgets alone oughta be ample proof of this.
tkjtkj
3 / 5 (1) Dec 04, 2008
It seems that every massive
government funded project like
this is more of a financial black
hole than anything else.NASA's
budgets alone oughta be ample
proof of this.


Understood. We digress a bit here
but i would say that insofar as
'ROI' on governemnt spending goes,
"Seward's Folly" was quite
unfollyish, we'd agree. Now,
compare that ROI of money spent
for Alaska to our theoretical
ability to 'stake a claim to Mars'
which is orders of magnitude better!
All accomplishable via NASA's
budget!
KBK
2.3 / 5 (11) Dec 04, 2008
LONG AGO, over a decade ago...the United States Offices Of Naval Research....as a direct punting of their 'rulers' blocking of their efforts..quietly released their findings into 'cold fusion'.

They found it to be workable..and real. Ie, IT WORKS..they said. 100%, they said. Valid.

The report is out there.

Go find it.

Understand a few things. One, that those who aspire to 'rule' societies, via either force, economically, militarily, or politically, by nature, due to the very area of endeavor they enter..are low empathy individuals.

Such a mental talent or 'disease' is a necessary component of being successful in such endeavors. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that such things as 'low cost' and easy access to infinite energy for the INDIVIDUAL..is really, totally, completely OFF the the scale unwanted by any societal rulership group or individual.

Think about it for a few seconds.
DeadCorpse
2.4 / 5 (9) Dec 04, 2008
NASA's ROI would be unlimited if they were actually exploring space for profit instead of some puritanical version of "science".

Imagine being the NASA explorer to discover an asteroid comprised predominately of highly refined and flawless carbon crystals. Or megatons of easily removable Au or Pt.

The US Government has a built in 30-50% bureaucratic overhead for every tax dollar they take from the public to spend elsewhere. That money would be better spent by the XCOR folks on improving launch vehicle efficiency.

Same for fusion production. Instead of a multi-trillion dollar "forever project", an ROI would be demand/reward driven. The "greed" factor is a powerful incentive for success. Thomas Edison wanted to bring electricity to the masses for more than just humanitarian reasons.
Eric_B
1.3 / 5 (4) Dec 04, 2008

Eric_B
5 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2008
i'd like to know more about progress on the z-machine.

it looks more promising and less cumbersome than a tokamak.

"To confirm the new Z concept would take $35 million over five to seven years to build a test bed with 100 cavities. If successful, future generations of Z-like facilities would be constructed with LTDs."

$35 million is chickenfeed...

http://www.sandia...lse.html
Soylent
5 / 5 (5) Dec 05, 2008
All nuclei have neutrons except for ordinary hydrogen. Free neutrons decay, only neutrons that are in a nucleus are stable. Stars have ionized atoms. I mentioned electron capture earlier. These are all clues for safe fusion to produce domestic energy.


You seem to be labouring under several misunderstandings.

First, the P-P process that converts two protons into a hydrogen(deuterium) nuclei does not use electron capture to convert a proton to a neutron. It uses beta decay(it emits a positron) to convert a proton to a neutron.

Secondly, we have plenty of good fuel for D-D and D-T fusion that does not depend on the weak interaction; we will never need or want to use the P-P process(the P-P process is some ~10^25 times slower than the D-T fusion).

Thirdly, do the math, the sun produces just 0.2 watts per metric tonne. We don't want to and aren't trying to match its characteristics; we don't want to and aren't trying to fuse protons.
Atomsview
1 / 5 (7) Dec 05, 2008
I provided hints and clues, they are not the direct process of fusion, but provide insights. In the above article it was stated that they do not know why it works, but it does. Radio frequency waves and controlling plasma were factors. They also mention a powerful beam of electrons. Are you beganing to see the light? I hope so!
earls
4.5 / 5 (6) Dec 05, 2008
Oh no, Batman! The Riddler has struck again and now the life of your precious Fusion hangs in the balance!

Will Batman crack the code in time?! Will Fusion ignite, contain and break-even?! Find out next post, same bat-site, same bat-article!!

doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Soylent
4.5 / 5 (4) Dec 05, 2008
Oh no, Batman! The Riddler has struck again and now the life of your precious Fusion hangs in the balance!


Indeed.
Nanook
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 06, 2008
Unfortunately, the funding for the Bussard Polywell reactor is coming from the Navy, and they've put a gag on information so even if it works (and everything leading up to that point made it look like it would), barring some major policy changes, it's going to only be used by the military, which I suppose is better than nasty fission reactors, but I'd much rather see it put to benefit humanity rather than destroying humanity.
Atomsview
1 / 5 (5) Dec 06, 2008
The Bussard Polywell reator is getting nearer to the concepts that I have mentioned, but the unique idea is different. New science comes out of new ideas.
Soylent
5 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2008
(and everything leading up to that point made it look like it would)


No it didn't; it looked very much like a long shot(one of many) with slim chances of ever working.

The fusor type electrostatic confinement fusion devices have numerous known achilles heels, any one of which would prevent it from ever working(e.g. brehmstralung losses and numerous loses related to thermalisation as it isn't operating in an thermal equilibrium). The prior work done on fusors, e.g. by Todd H. Rider, needs to be very badly wrong for it to work.

The scaling laws Bussard claims to have derived using the small models need to hold true for fusion power levels ~1 million times higher than WB-6; with no new physics showing up when scaling from a toy to a serious power plant. That's possible, but very unlikely.

...barring some major policy changes, it's going to only be used by the military...


Must we go through this silly conspiracy mush? You don't think the navy would rather do something useful rather than spend time and lives defending now useless oil reserves if it turns out to be an economical way to produce power? You think the military can deploy a bunch of subs or something powered by polywell fusion reactors and not have anyone notice, not even the crew?

...which I suppose is better than nasty fission reactors...


The only thing nasty about fission reactors is the continous gusher of lies and inumeracy their critics feel compelled to spew forth. On a per TWh basis it is the single safest power source, even assuming the LNT hypothesis is true.
nxtr
3 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2008
Just think of the type of lighting we could achieve with controlled "leaks" of plasma into neon clouds high in the sky...
And a small fusion reactor in orbit around Mars could function as a auxiliary sun.
Atomsview
1 / 5 (4) Dec 06, 2008
To have domestic fusion, look at the concepts that would provide answers to all questions. First question is which process provides a high ratio of input to output energy. What force brings protons together to enable the strong forcc to act? The answer is not only kinetic energy. Look also at my previous statements for more insight.
theophys
5 / 5 (4) Dec 06, 2008
To have domestic fusion, we need more money, more time, and more research. Plain and simple. I personaly am in favor of Manhatan-Project-like programs for fusion, space exploration, and all sorts of other 'future' techs.
NeilFarbstein
1 / 5 (5) Dec 06, 2008
Anyone know a competetent scientist who can review a report on laser fusion pellets, fast ignition, and pettawatt lasers?

Contact
Neil Farbstein
President
Vulvox Nanobiotechnology Corporation
protn7@att.net
Flakk
not rated yet Dec 06, 2008
it looks more promising and less cumbersome than a tokamak.


I may be missing the point here, but cumbersome is something I'm willing to live with as long as I dont have to lug it aroudn with me.

Lol j/k

All viable avenues should be looked at. Just because and ideas isn't pritty or produced by a big name, doesnt mean it isn't any good.

As my dad used to tell me "show me the math."
earls
not rated yet Dec 06, 2008
Any thoughts on Eric Lerner's approach?

http://www.focusfusion.org/

http://hardware.s.../1924242
Atomsview
2 / 5 (4) Dec 07, 2008
Eric Lerner's approach (video) is interesting. As I mentioned earlier, new ideas provide new science. Years ago I read a book by Lerner where he mentioned many ideas by Dr. Alfven which related to similar topics.
Atomsview
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 07, 2008
Where is Batman? I have not seen him.
denijane
not rated yet Dec 08, 2008
If you check the ITER's wikipedia page, you'll see that USA isn't funding it anymore.
As for the result, I would like to read more about its physics, or at least what it does because radio-wave frequencies is way too general.
Atomsview
1 / 5 (3) Dec 08, 2008
After the DAPNIA, ALPHA, CERN experiment on antihydrogen, a new method of nuclear fusion may be presented.
Quantum_Conundrum
2 / 5 (4) Dec 08, 2008
KBK:

Excellent insight.

These children were all raised on star trek, but forget the real world.

Governments and CEOs don't want "cheap energy". They want a means to make everyone else into a slave. Take the Wall Street bailouts for example. They literally robbed the middle class and gave their money to the extremely wealthy, and in the process, all the banks got to repo the foreclosed homes anyway!

That's right, your "democratic" government assisted the banks in the greatest heist of all time. They took everyone's homes and took all their money that they had already paid, AND took all their tax dollars for the next several decades.


Seeing this, what manner of naive fool thinks that any government or energy company has any real interest in providing "cheap" energy?

Your energy company doesn't want to provide cheap energy any more than the drug companies want to cure cancer. Money cometh.
earls
not rated yet Dec 09, 2008
Yes, thank you Quantum for also recognizing KDK's wisdom in that regard.

If everyone had "unlimited" energy to pursue their own personal desires, society as we know it would collapse. Everyone would be on equal footing.

Energy, synonymous with "power" is very well regulated for that very reason.

It's unfortunate he was almost instantly down-rated for simply mentioning "cold fusion."
Soylent
not rated yet Dec 09, 2008
Governments and CEOs don't want "cheap energy".


Of course they do. The majority of governments and CEOs are net losers when energy prices are high because they buy energy or rely on taxes on things which are made using energy as opposed to being energy exporters or producers. They want efficiency or cheaper energy because that allows the economy to grow and allows government to expropriate more taxes which it can waste on frivolous pork barrel projects.

If you look at the historical record, an increase in energy-efficiency always leads to an increase in demand. A decrease in energy prices always stimulates demand and ultimately leads to a new equilibrium in which more money is payed for energy even though a unit quantity of energy costs less than in the past. Even if you supply energy it is in your long term interest to have low energy prices, you make more money that way.

...all the banks got to repo the foreclosed homes anyway!


If you make a $500 000 home mortgage with little or no money down and get a useless home in ex-urbia that will fetch $200 000 you're in the hole for $300 000.

Why do you think thousands of banks in the US are threatened with bankruptcy?
Soylent
not rated yet Dec 09, 2008
Yes, thank you Quantum for also recognizing KDK's wisdom in that regard.


More like, thank you for validating my irrational paranoia.

If everyone had "unlimited" energy to pursue their own personal desires, society as we know it would collapse. Everyone would be on equal footing.


What are you driveling about? You don't have the skill, expertice, or raw materials to make these energy producing devices; you don't have the economy of scale to produce it cheaply so you'd still be buying energy from the utillities.

Ultimately, you'd spend so much energy on frivilous luxuries like space travel, personal aircraft, super computers or whatever that you will spend more money on energy, not less. Which makes the energy companies more powerful, not less.

It's unfortunate he was almost instantly down-rated for simply mentioning "cold fusion."


The laws of physics are immutable, they don't care if you think they are a conspiracy made up by the(take your pick: NWO, the Rotschilds, the jews, the government, the illuminati, an evil cabal of energy companies, the freemasons, the reptillian overlords, whatever).
Atomsview
1 / 5 (1) Dec 09, 2008
The comments that were made above that will lead to a new domestic fusion method are: a specific frequency, controlling the plasma, deuterium and tritium formation. The fuel will be hydrogen.
earls
not rated yet Dec 09, 2008
Yes, Soylent, you're absolutely right, Governments and CEOs DO want "cheap energy" ... FOR THEMSELVES. To line their pockets, to hold the "power."

What they don't want, as Q_C was implying, is for every other Joe Average to have cheap (free), virtually unlimited energy and power.

It would be similar to making tanks readily available for all. The masses can't be trusted with that amount of power. Look at the fit they have over pop-guns and the death of "holdhold/backyard" chemistry.

Apparently you're just so far ahead of the curve you can't see us in the back of the train.

Whatever. Forever.
theophys
not rated yet Dec 09, 2008
I have to agree with Soylent. With cheaper energy comes a comfort with using energy dependent luxuries. With the high cost of energy out of the way, people would start using more and more electronics until eventualy each individual person is spending more on energy then they did when the energy was expensive. Ultimately, the push for cheap and efficient energy provides increased profits for the energy companies and increased taxes for the government beacause of the new jobs created by an expanding industry. Don't immediatly trust corporations, but don't immediatly set them up as an evil entity that's working hand in hand with the government(who is always supposed to be evil for some strange reason) to oppress the masses.
KBK
1 / 5 (1) Dec 10, 2008
The major problem is that once the mechanism of how the energy is really produced on insane (seeming) levels is understood, then anyone can be involved.

The problem then becomes angst ridden 15 year olds with near infinite power in their hands, with regards to potentially destructive forces. This is akin to 5 year olds with sticks of lit dynamite in each house, except far, far worse.

That is a serious problem.

There are layers within layers in systems and societies. Don't let your own limitations of conceptualization get in the way here, specifically with regards to truly thinking through the possible scenarios, concerning such technologies.

Remember, you aren't the smartest dummy in the crowd (however much the inner depth of each individual's psychology may disagree with this) otherwise you'd be giving us this energy form which is the topic of this physorg posting..now..wouldn't you?

Cont below:
KBK
1 / 5 (1) Dec 10, 2008


Don't just 'imagine' what could be done in a great, glossy, and happily marching forward 'energy technology' in a friendly way..what kind of world such might be, but consider the realities that history has taught us about 'power levers' that such a disruptive technology as cold fusion brings to the table of societal structuring. Don't think happy thoughts,as the normal state of the human universe is, contrary to western belief's of the general public..the natural state of the human world is anarchy, dictatorships, empirical control, total war and scheming evil people scheming for power and control. Democracy is the small man out-by about 90% . And to keep control, such people HAVE to play via multiple hidden layers, playing on the psychology of the general public. This is the history of the world--by any measure, and stated clearly in --ANY-- history book.

So what makes a given fool think today is any different?

Get a clear head on such thinking about near infinite energy sources and the associated science being available to the general public at large -- and then truths might be bit more self evident.
theophys
not rated yet Dec 10, 2008
..the natural state of the human world is anarchy, dictatorships, empirical control, total war and scheming evil people scheming for power and control

I think history, on a broader scale than what you're looking at, has shown that human nature is to work together for mutual benefit of the group as a whole. Did early man not for tribes of wandering hunter/getherers? Did cities not form with the ultimate goal of the sharing of differing talents and mutual protection from external forces? Did nations not form as pacts between cities of similar cultures? Sure there have been wars, ditators, ect. But behing every psychotic conquerer, there was a nation full of people who thought they were doing what was best for their national community. Fusion won't be stopped by 'the man.' If cold fusion is attainable, we'll attain it. If it isn't attainable, then we'll just have to find a different way of attaining our energy production goals. Remember, it's scientists who do the discovering, not company's or governments. No matter who the scientists work for, their goal is to make progress. Therefore, as long as there are scientists out there, no matter what their ulterior motives may be, progress will be made.
earls
not rated yet Dec 11, 2008
Note he said "natural state." I'd like to think we've risen above our "natural state" through the progress you've highlighted.

However, the ratio between our "natural state" and "civilized state" isn't that far above 1:1. See: New Orleans after Katrina...

In addition, this discussion shouldn't degrade into the validity of cold fusion nor the conspiracy to cover up such... It doesn't matter what the method of energy production ends up being, only its vast quantities readily available.

As I've been trumpeting, I really think the key lies in energy storage... extremely high density in a little package. Then you can just sit it out in the sun, it may take a week, month, year, decade to "charge," but then you're set.

Providing this type of power to all would be as if "super heroes" were real. What's to stop the development of a real-life "Ironman?" Energy... Which is what the entire movie revolved around, the glowing fusion reactor in his chest. Say that type of power was available to all, I think the Obediah Stane's would becoming out of the woodwork left and right.
theophys
not rated yet Dec 11, 2008
I would have to agree with you on the storage concept. But Iron Man? Really? I'd be setting my sights on something more like Voltron.