New design could finally help to bring fusion power closer to reality

August 10, 2015 by David L. Chandler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A cutaway view of the proposed ARC reactor. Thanks to powerful new magnet technology, the much smaller, less-expensive ARC reactor would deliver the same power output as a much larger reactor. Credit: the MIT ARC team

It's an old joke that many fusion scientists have grown tired of hearing: Practical nuclear fusion power plants are just 30 years away—and always will be.

But now, finally, the joke may no longer be true: Advances in magnet technology have enabled researchers at MIT to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak fusion reactor—and it's one that might be realized in as little as a decade, they say. The era of practical , which could offer a nearly inexhaustible energy resource, may be coming near.

Using these new commercially available superconductors, rare-earth barium copper oxide (REBCO) superconducting tapes, to produce high-magnetic field coils "just ripples through the whole design," says Dennis Whyte, a professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and director of MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center. "It changes the whole thing."

The stronger magnetic field makes it possible to produce the required magnetic confinement of the superhot plasma—that is, the working material of a fusion reaction—but in a much smaller device than those previously envisioned. The reduction in size, in turn, makes the whole system less expensive and faster to build, and also allows for some ingenious new features in the power plant design. The proposed reactor, using a tokamak (donut-shaped) geometry that is widely studied, is described in a paper in the journal Fusion Engineering and Design, co-authored by Whyte, PhD candidate Brandon Sorbom, and 11 others at MIT. The paper started as a design class taught by Whyte and became a student-led project after the class ended.

Power plant prototype

The new reactor is designed for basic research on fusion and also as a potential prototype power plant that could produce significant power. The basic reactor concept and its associated elements are based on well-tested and proven principles developed over decades of research at MIT and around the world, the team says.

"The much higher magnetic field," Sorbom says, "allows you to achieve much higher performance."

Fusion, the nuclear reaction that powers the sun, involves fusing pairs of hydrogen atoms together to form helium, accompanied by enormous releases of energy. The hard part has been confining the superhot plasma—a form of electrically charged gas— while heating it to temperatures hotter than the cores of stars. This is where the magnetic fields are so important—they effectively trap the heat and particles in the hot center of the device.

MIT PhD candidate Brandon Sorbom holds REBCO superconducting tapes (left), which are the enabling technology behind the ARC reactor. When it is cooled to liquid nitrogen temperature, the superconducting tape can carry as much current as the large copper conductor on the right, enabling the construction of extremely high‑field magnets, which consume minimal amounts of power. Credit: Jose‑Luis Olivares/MIT

While most characteristics of a system tend to vary in proportion to changes in dimensions, the effect of changes in the magnetic field on fusion reactions is much more extreme: The achievable fusion power increases according to the fourth power of the increase in the magnetic field. Thus, doubling the field would produce a 16-fold increase in the fusion power. "Any increase in the magnetic field gives you a huge win," Sorbom says.

Tenfold boost in power

While the new superconductors do not produce quite a doubling of the field strength, they are strong enough to increase fusion power by about a factor of 10 compared to standard superconducting technology, Sorbom says. This dramatic improvement leads to a cascade of potential improvements in reactor design.

The world's most powerful planned fusion reactor, a huge device called ITER that is under construction in France, is expected to cost around $40 billion. Sorbom and the MIT team estimate that the new design, about half the diameter of ITER (which was designed before the new superconductors became available), would produce about the same power at a fraction of the cost and in a shorter construction time.

But despite the difference in size and strength, the proposed reactor, called ARC, is based on "exactly the same physics" as ITER, Whyte says. "We're not extrapolating to some brand-new regime," he adds.

Another key advance in the new design is a method for removing the the fusion power core from the donut-shaped reactor without having to dismantle the entire device. That makes it especially well-suited for research aimed at further improving the system by using different materials or designs to fine-tune the performance.

In addition, as with ITER, the new superconducting magnets would enable the reactor to operate in a sustained way, producing a steady power output, unlike today's experimental reactors that can only operate for a few seconds at a time without overheating of copper coils.

Liquid protection

Another key advantage is that most of the solid blanket materials used to surround the fusion chamber in such reactors are replaced by a liquid material that can easily be circulated and replaced, eliminating the need for costly replacement procedures as the materials degrade over time.

"It's an extremely harsh environment for [solid] materials," Whyte says, so replacing those materials with a liquid could be a major advantage.

Right now, as designed, the reactor should be capable of producing about three times as much electricity as is needed to keep it running, but the design could probably be improved to increase that proportion to about five or six times, Sorbom says. So far, no fusion reactor has produced as much energy as it consumes, so this kind of net energy production would be a major breakthrough in fusion technology, the team says.

The design could produce a reactor that would provide electricity to about 100,000 people, they say. Devices of a similar complexity and size have been built within about five years, they say.

"Fusion energy is certain to be the most important source of electricity on earth in the 22nd century, but we need it much sooner than that to avoid catastrophic global warming," says David Kingham, CEO of Tokamak Energy Ltd. in the UK, who was not connected with this research. "This paper shows a good way to make quicker progress," he says.

The MIT research, Kingham says, "shows that going to higher magnetic fields, an MIT speciality, can lead to much smaller (and hence cheaper and quicker-to-build) devices." The work is of "exceptional quality," he says; "the next step … would be to refine the design and work out more of the engineering details, but already the work should be catching the attention of policy makers, philanthropists and private investors."

Explore further: UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal

More information: "ARC: A compact, high-field, fusion nuclear science facility and demonstration power plant with demountable magnets," Fusion Engineering and Design, Available online 14 July 2015, ISSN 0920-3796, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fusengdes.2015.07.008

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Squirrel
1.4 / 5 (22) Aug 10, 2015
Waste of money that needs defunding. Thanks to high oil prices, solar got the initial development push that has allowed it now to go down the price curve so it nearly cheaper than any alternatives including $50 oil--and, of course, any future fusion power plants.
docile
Aug 10, 2015
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Eikka
3.8 / 5 (37) Aug 10, 2015
solar got the initial development push that has allowed it now to go down the price curve


The low cost of solar power is an illusion. The market price is low because we're paying around $230 per MWh in various state and federal level subsidies and incentives. Without this cash flow, the whole industry would just vanish overnight.

Secondly, the "no-subsidies" LCOE estimates are still influenced by subsidies because subsidies make faster return of interest and lower capital cost. The effect is that the apparent up-front cost of keeping a solar farm is lower than it actually is.

Third, the cost of solar power does not include the necessary cost of energy storage, without which the whole system simply does not work. The cost of utilizing the energy is not counted in, which creates the illusion that solar is cheap.

Fourth, solar power technology is at diminishing returns; the production cost of panels etc. are already less than half the total cost per MWh.
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (35) Aug 10, 2015
http://cnsnews.co...ctricity

Despite $39B in Annual Gov't. Subsidies, Solar Produced 0.5% of Electricity in US


http://institutef...percent/
EIA Report: Subsidies Continue to Roll In For Wind and Solar
March 18, 2015
(...)
EIA's report shows that on a total dollar basis, wind energy has the highest federal subsidy. However, on a unit of production basis, solar energy is by far the costliest form of electricity production.


Anyone who claims that solar power is actually cheap is living in la-la-land.

shavera
3.7 / 5 (18) Aug 10, 2015
why aren't we doing "cold fusion" research? Simple. Two positively charged objects repel each other. Nuclei are positively charged. So any method that fuses them *requires* some means to overcome this repulsion.

Our existing techniques use high speeds of nuclei, combined with (relatively) high densities of them to help "push through" this repulsion.

"Ah, but I have magic pixie dust," you say. "This allows me to magic the magic particles and magic nuclei together by magic."

To which, any scientist will respond with two questions: Can you show it actually works? Could you explain how it could work?

Even if you can only answer the former, every scientist everywhere would be elated at a chance to explore the latter. Not only explore the latter, but also probably do it more cheaply with the reduced energy costs provided by the former.

But, like every magic trick we've ever seen, it always seems to end up as just some clever illusion, rather than real magic.
docile
Aug 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Eikka
4.3 / 5 (32) Aug 10, 2015
it always seems to end up as just some clever illusion


No self-respecting cold-fusion theorist would ever stoop so low as to produce a practical falsifiable experiment - its the job of the mainstream scientific community to make the experiments and produce the proof for them, and failing to do so, or failing to obtain positive evidence, is grounds for accusations of conspiracy and corruption.

OK - try to explain, why the atoms don't repel each other if they contain positively charged atom nuclei. Maybe some unknown miracle applies there?


There's electrons in between, which are negatively charged.
shavera
4.1 / 5 (18) Aug 10, 2015
OK - try to explain, why the atoms don't repel each other if they contain positively charged atom nuclei. Maybe some unknown miracle applies there?


Oh, maybe you really do lack an elementary school education in science. I always assumed you were trolling us. But apparently you just don't know. I'm sorry.

You see, our world is made up of little tiny bits of matter we call "atoms." And these atoms are made up of positively charged nuclei, and negatively charged electrons around the nuclei. Usually, atoms have an equal number of negative "electrons" to balance out the positive "protons" so that they are neutrally charged. This is why, even though electromagnetism is so strong, you don't often find yourself attracted or repelled to other objects by it. You, and the other object, are both neutrally charged.
shavera
3.9 / 5 (15) Aug 10, 2015
Fusion is like what mommies and daddies do. They must get really really close together to form a new atom. They have to get so close that their nuclei touch. This means that their outer layers of clothing, their "electrons," are either shed or ignored in the process.

Now, sometimes, some materials allow for atoms to get close enough to shave a few eV (a measure of energy needed for a reaction) to take place, making chemical reactions easier to happen. But we know of no materials that allow them to shed 100000000 eV to get close enough for nuclear reactions to take place. Such a discovery would be one of the most groundbreaking results, not just in fusion science, but in chemistry and physics more broadly.
docile
Aug 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
marcush
3.8 / 5 (10) Aug 10, 2015
Waste of money that needs defunding. Thanks to high oil prices, solar got the initial development push that has allowed it now to go down the price curve so it nearly cheaper than any alternatives including $50 oil--and, of course, any future fusion power plants.


Even if this is true, fusion would probably have many future applications that are unsuitable for solar.
Eikka
4.2 / 5 (26) Aug 10, 2015
OK - so if we leave the electrons around atom nuclei, then we aren't required to overcome their repulsive force, right?


The neutralizing effect of electrons applies at far, because at distances many times the size of the atoms, they appear to exist in the same point which is neutral, but when you come closer you'll find that the electron cloud around one atom repulses the electron cloud around another atom and they bounce off of each other.

If one atom is charged (ionized) - ie. it has less or more electrons than protons, then the electron clouds merge and the atoms are stuck together in what we understand as a chemical bond, in balance between the repulsion between the positive nuclei and the attraction of the nuclei to the electrons.
nilbud
2.8 / 5 (10) Aug 10, 2015
The institute for energy research is a propaganda outlet for the right wing derpers in the US. Whatever they say the opposite is the truth. Using their "numbers" shows a lack of diligence.
Other headlines on cnsnews
"How does gay marriage hurt us? Here's how"
"Vatican Chief Justice: Nancy Pelosi Must Be Denied Communion"
and the classic
"Obamacare Mandate: Sterilize 15-Year-Old Girls for Free--Without Parental Consent"

Go back to getting your science from World News Daily at least they have a consistent writing style.
docile
Aug 10, 2015
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docile
Aug 10, 2015
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EyeNStein
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2015
There is a lot more info (especially in the video) at:
http://www.pppl.g...elopment

The B=20T of this design is actually still rather conservative, being limited by structural stainless steel rather than the coil design limits. If ARC works as well as predicted; then ITER will look obsolete as a power generating design by the time its plasma turns on.
shavera
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 10, 2015
Docile: First, your comments have nothing to do with the mutual repulsion felt by materials in contact. (To which I'd also clarify that Eikka's comments are a bit oversimplified, but close enough to not get into)

Second, you ask two incompatible questions: You say to compare complete ionization to "fragmentation" of the nuclei. But then you refer to ionization energy and nuclear excitation states. Excitations are not the same as "fragmentation" (ie, binding energy). Nucleon binding energies are usually on the scale of MeV (a mistake I made above, but that doesn't change the bulk of my argument). Ionization energies are on the scale of eV to 10s of eV.
docile
Aug 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
shavera
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 10, 2015
None of which changes anything. I've personally done the equations by hand (as has every other physics grad student in a nuclear physics course). Even if you only take the *fastest* nuclei in a very hot sample, and even when you consider them *quantum tunnelling* through the repulsion to bind with the nucleus, you still need very hot and very dense amounts of material to make these collisions happen, because the EM repulsion is so strong, and nuclear binding forces are so short-ranged. (nucleons only really "reach" about their own size away, ie only bind to nearest neighbors, but not next-nearest neighbors)

Again, cold fusion people are totally free to show us all wrong. All they have to do is produce an independently verifiable experiment of their setup. Better still if they can actually come up with a physically possible description of how the setup works. But I'll still take "it works because magic pixie dust" if it works in fact.
shavera
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 10, 2015
If we increase their energy well enough, could we peel the bottom electrons from atom without destruction of atom nuclei itself?


Yes, in fact we do this experimentally on a daily basis. The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider strips all electrons from heavy atomic nuclei (which have the strongest electron binding energies for the "bottom" electrons, I might add), all the way up to Uranium.

We've used a "Tandem Van de Graff" generator, as well as a new laser source, which I'm personally less familiar with. But you're free to read up on this on the interwebs
Eikka
4 / 5 (23) Aug 10, 2015
The institute for energy research is a propaganda outlet for the right wing derpers in the US. Whatever they say the opposite is the truth. Using their "numbers" shows a lack of diligence.


Well you can read the same numbers off of the EIA report itself. It's listed at the bottom of the page. http://www.eia.go...subsidy/
There are two subsidies that together can reduce the cost of a commercial solar power system by 70-75% of the original installed price.
1. Federal Investment Tax Credit for Commercial Solar Energy Property
2. MACRS Accelerated Depreciation


What's left on the price tag after the subsidies is about 1/4 what you end up paying for it through taxes, and this is directly translateable to power prices because solar power is mostly paid up front in construction and financing.

docile
Aug 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
docile
Aug 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Eikka
3.9 / 5 (22) Aug 10, 2015
The previous comment dropped out a link that was relevant to the quotation:

http://www.sunlig...dies.php
There are two subsidies that together can reduce the cost of a commercial solar power system by 70-75% of the original installed price.
1. Federal Investment Tax Credit for Commercial Solar Energy Property
2. MACRS Accelerated Depreciation


This was an example of what kind of "kickstart" was available, which may not be available right now, but similiar systems are in place throughout.

For example, the law states that utilities must provide net metering, which means subtracting your produced from your consumed power. That means you sell solar power at retail rates up to the amount you yourself use, and the utility has to buy it. If the retail rate in your area is 14 cents a kWh, you're effectively selling solar power at $140/MWh and recieving other state and federal incentives at the same time.
docile
Aug 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
shavera
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 10, 2015
Yes, but do these nuclei really survive this treatment unharmed and non excited?

They MUST survive it intact. Remember a particle accelerator is also a mass-spectrometer. Anything without the *precise* mass-to-charge ratio the accelerator is tuned to will be rejected. "Non-excited" doesn't really matter to us one way or another.

often they're much lower.

No. Not really. Binding energy is pretty straightforward to calculate via the semi-empirical binding energy formula, or to approach it from first principles. Sure we can excite nucleons or alpha clusters of nucleons, but that doesn't *change the binding energy* of those nucleons. It simply gives them additional kinetic energy to move around with.

Furthermore, your line of questioning just doesn't make any sense to me. What is your point? What magic fusion method are you proposing works here? You seem to misunderstand many basic concepts, so I'm not sure how your fusion scheme will be wrong either.
nilbud
3 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2015

For example, the law states that utilities must provide net metering, which means subtracting your produced from your consumed power. That means you sell solar power at retail rates up to the amount you yourself use, and the utility has to buy it. If the retail rate in your area is 14 cents a kWh, you're effectively selling solar power at $140/MWh and recieving[sic] other state and federal incentives at the same time.

So you don't mind people paying $140/MWh you object to them being paid $140/MWh. Is this some kind of capitalist conditioning where you think it's some kind of sin for corporations to get the same rate as people?
The ridiculous law actually stops people selling electricity under any circumstances once they've equalled their consumption. Doesn't that warm your right wing heart?
Eikka
4.1 / 5 (22) Aug 10, 2015
But the truth is, this applies only to lightweight atom nuclei like the hellium or deuterium. Once the atoms become heavier, this difference decreases fast and at the case of heavy isotopes the atom nuclei form literally energetic continuum with electron orbitals at the bottom.


Total ionization of heavy elements e.g. uranium is possible without breaking up the nucleus. What you claim is simply wrong.
Book ref. "Atomic Physics with Heavy Ions"
https://books.goo...;f=false

Once highly charged uranium ions are confined in Super EBIT's electron beam, the removal of the last few tightly bound electrons can take place.
shavera
4.4 / 5 (8) Aug 10, 2015
In illustrative way, the lightweight atoms behave like soft fruit ...Which is why the mango fruit cannot be peeled off.


Again, another total misunderstanding. Electrons and nucleons are quantum particles. Because they're not identical particles, it *does not matter* that electrons pass through the nucleus, or even spend most of their time in its volume if they do. It is NOT like a pit of a fruit where it must either be pit or flesh, but cannot be both at the same time.

So this intuition you seem to have, where you must blast an electron out of its hidey hole in a nucleus, to destroy the nucleus in the process, is fundamentally incorrect.

Take your above "photon gun" example. If you fire a single photon with sufficient energy to eject a bottom-shell electron, if an electron absorbs the photon and is ejected, none of the photon's energy goes into the nucleus to excite it. Quantum mechanics just doesn't play by the rules of bullets and fruits and seeds. Sorry.
gkam
1.3 / 5 (28) Aug 10, 2015
All we need is better technology and more brute force!

How long have we heard that? Let's use more appropriate technologies for power production.
Eikka
4 / 5 (23) Aug 10, 2015
So you don't mind people paying $140/MWh you object to them being paid $140/MWh.


You miss the point.

I'm outlining the scale what we as a society, as the average taxpayer, actually end up paying for the solar power to those who produce it, as opposed to what we are told it costs by the media and advocate groups.

The retail cost of electricity consists of the cost of production and transmission, where the cost of production is on the order of 40-60$/MWh on average. The person being paid $140/MWh for solar power does not pay transmission cost; the energy they produce is therefore grossly over-valued, moreso as they are on average also recieving $231/MWh anyways.

This is simply not reasonable. We're actually paying solar power producers totally unsustainable prices.
Eikka
4.1 / 5 (22) Aug 10, 2015
So this intuition you seem to have, where you must blast an electron out of its hidey hole in a nucleus, to destroy the nucleus in the process, is fundamentally incorrect.


It actually sounds very much like the obsolete "plum pudding" model of the atom.
https://en.wikipe...ng_model

All we need is better technology and more brute force!

How long have we heard that? Let's use more appropriate technologies for power production.


Ironically, the "more appropriate" technologies you're surely about to propose are very much brute force attempts at scaling up something that does not in itself work - building millions of wind turbines and solar panels, criss-crossing the landscape with access roads and transmission cables, damming rivers to create huge reservoir dams, digging up mountains for minerals to build humongous piles of batteries...

shavera
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 10, 2015
Eikka, would you also consider though that we are also paying heavily subsidized (both directly and indirectly) prices for fossil fuel consumption?

Even if we exclude the various subsidies the industry receives, people in the future or around the world will be paying the external costs of the waste product of fossil fuels.

I, for one, would rather pay a subsidized cost for solar power systems, where at least I know somewhat clearly what subsidies the system receives, rather than fossil fuel systems where the subsidies are not only hidden, but also likely unfairly distributed.

I'll grant that the numbers around solar production are intentionally fuzzy and rosy... but even with fuzzy numbers, the trend is still towards cheaper per Wh over time.
gkam
1.4 / 5 (28) Aug 10, 2015
Not much fuzz. You can look up the recent power purchase agreements and see the price/kWh.

Renewables are beating the pants off polluters burning finite and dirty fuels, in price and opportunity for modernizing our infrastructure for efficacy and efficiency.
Eikka
4 / 5 (23) Aug 10, 2015
Is this some kind of capitalist conditioning where you think it's some kind of sin for corporations to get the same rate as people?


Suppose the cost of producing and transmitting is 50/50 split and the cost is $120/MWh which is sold at a retail price of $140/MWh.

A customer buys 1 MWh of energy and sells 1 MWh of energy back, therefore pays nothing. Therefore the utility has paid a total of $120/MWh to produce and transmit the energy to the customer, and another $60/MWh to transmit the energy produced by the customer to some other customer.

The utility just lost $180 which is -more- than the retail price of power.

The other customer is therefore recieving power that cost the utility $180/MWh to "make", while the first customer got it for free.

Why is this reasonable?
Eikka
4.2 / 5 (24) Aug 10, 2015
Eikka, would you also consider though that we are also paying heavily subsidized (both directly and indirectly) prices for fossil fuel consumption?


No we aren't. See the same EIA report. Per unit energy, fossil fuels get pennies while renewable energies get tens and hundreds of dollars. Worldwide, the biggest fossil fuel subsidizers and responsible for 80% of the subsidies are countries like Iran, Russia and China - not US or EU.

And the subsidies in question do not target producers - they target consumers. e.g. the Iranian government literally buying gasoline for its people to buy political stability.

Not much fuzz. You can look up the recent power purchase agreements and see the price/kWh.


Power purchase agreements come after subsidies. About 3/4 of the price has already been paid off by taxpayers before the utility makes the bid, so the apparent cost is vastly lower than the real cost. That's the point.

docile
Aug 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
shavera
4 / 5 (8) Aug 10, 2015
Eikka, to clarify, I said "both directly and indirectly." Fossil fuel use creates large external costs (dealing with the effects of a changing climate). Not accounting for those costs in the use of fossil fuels is a functional subsidy of using them. Like, if the government just gives land to a without charging that extractor the costs of keeping that land clean and safe, then the government is giving the extractor a de facto subsidy, even if not de jure.

So I think it is disingenuous to represent fossil fuels as getting "pennies" in subsidy. They may only receive "pennies" in accounting terms, but that's because our accounting books are incomplete measures of costs.
gkam
1.3 / 5 (26) Aug 10, 2015
"About 3/4 of the price has already been paid off by taxpayers before the utility makes the bid, . . "
---------------------------------

Show me real and recent examples, please.

Then, we can look at oil/gas and nukes, the most heavily subsidized.
tekram
2.6 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2015
..
For example, the law states that utilities must provide net metering, which means subtracting your produced from your consumed power. That means you sell solar power at retail rates up to the amount you yourself use, and the utility has to buy it...
There is no federal law that mandates net metering and depending on state laws,the amount is limited in some cases to as low as 0.1% of consumer peak demand... So no, the utility doesn't always have to provide net metering and even if they do, they don't have to buy very much of it.
Eikka
4.2 / 5 (24) Aug 10, 2015
The ridiculous law actually stops people selling electricity under any circumstances once they've equalled their consumption.


It doesn't -stop- anyone from selling. It simply means that nobody has to pay any fixed sum for it, so for the surplus the utility will refuse to pay you any more than they'd have to pay the next guy.

The solar power producer then has to compete with the next guy, but since the other guy, and in fact all solar power producers are producing at the same time as the sun comes up - they all out-compete each other and none of them can make any money.

If a town has solar panels on every roof - because of course everyone wants to get subsidized electricity - who's gonna buy the power when the sun is up? Nobody - and it's the same problem the next town over. Supply and demand don't meet.

shavera
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 10, 2015
From your link the ionization energy Ho67+ is about 200 keV. This is a little bit higher than "on the scale of eV to 10s of eV", doesn't it? The hafnium isomers need some 60 keV for their preparation ("dental X-ray machine"), which is already lower energy.


Again, you're either intentionally abusing descriptions or wildly uninformed about them. XRay Machines generally are removing electrons from an atom, not "exciting nuclear states." So I don't know how you're coming up with the idea that that is somehow related to the energy necessary to form an atomic nucleus.

Second, yes I will grant that complete ionization does require keV of energy, that was my mistake above. Still, so what? Ionizing an atom doesn't do anything to its nucleus. being able to shoot a photon (which is an uncharged particle) at an atom is entirely unlike shooting a nucleus (highly charged) at it.

Get to the point docile, instead of playing games with words. How, specifically, does cold fusion work?
Eikka
4.1 / 5 (23) Aug 10, 2015
Eikka, to clarify, I said "both directly and indirectly." Fossil fuel use creates large external costs (dealing with the effects of a changing climate). Not accounting for those costs in the use of fossil fuels is a functional subsidy of using them.


I agree and I disagree.

First I agree that there are these costs, but I disagree on the latter point because we aren't actually paying anything towards that end. Not a cent is paid today for the amount of, say, sea level rise 100 years from today. It is not a functional subsidy to fossil fuels - moreso because we're trying to avoid paying it in the first place.

Secondly, I dismiss the argument because the debate here is not about the cost of fossil fuels vs. solar, but as you might notice from the start, about the idea that we should not fund fusion research because solar power is so cheap - which it isn't.

docile
Aug 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gkam
1.3 / 5 (27) Aug 10, 2015
Caught up in the Old Ways of Thinking, utilities let their real opportunity get away. Peak power is not just the most expensive to provide, it is the most polluting. If they had started subsidizing PV by putting it on the rooftops of their customers and selling them cheaper power, they would now own it all.
shavera
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2015
Hafnium in XRay machines is STILL from removing "K-Shell" electrons, not generating nuclear isomers. Could you cite a scientific source suggesting they're nuclear isomers (not some rando website that's trying to create a scare about hafnium bombs)
Eikka
4.3 / 5 (23) Aug 10, 2015
Peak power is not just the most expensive to provide, it is the most polluting.


The high cost of peak power is because a lot of power needs to come online quickly, dissapear quickly, and then sit idle for most of the time.

There is peak power, and then there is ramping or load following power. Both are essentially the same thing. The more solar power you have at noon, the steeper the ramp towards evening when the sun goes down and people put their lights on and start cooking and watching TV...

In other words, by flattening out and even inverting the mid-day demand peak with solar power, you actually solved nothing, because the real issue wasn't the high demand but the rapid rate of change. The highest pollution and lowest efficiency is associated with high ramp rate of power.

Caught up in the Old Ways of Thinking


Pot, meet kettle...
gkam
1.2 / 5 (25) Aug 10, 2015
"There is peak power, and then there is ramping or load following power. Both are essentially the same thing."
--------------------------------

If they were, they would be in the same category.
shavera
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 10, 2015
This seems to be the result you're referring to, docile: https://en.wikipe...troversy

1, no one has been able to reproduce the result. Which should be suspicious to begin with.

2, the experiment described *starts* with an excited Hafnium state, and uses XRays to "trigger" the nucleon to fall to a lower energy level and emit a gamma ray. So you're really deeply misinformed about what you're discussing here.

3, Even in this case, excited nuclear states emit Gamma rays in 10s-100s of MeV, not XRays in the 10s-100s of keV. So if you see something that is 10s of MeV or more... that's likely a nuclear reaction.

4, get to the bloody point. How does any of this suggest that "cold" nuclear fusion can occur.
Eikka
4.2 / 5 (25) Aug 10, 2015
Show me real and recent examples, please.

Then, we can look at oil/gas and nukes, the most heavily subsidized.


I have already provided you the relevant link that shows how 70-75% of expense on a commercial solar project can/could be written off by subsidies. I have also provided you with the link to the EIA report which PROVES that oil/gas and nukes get a fraction of the subsidies per unit energy produced.

If they were, they would be in the same category.


They are in the same category. The peaking powerplants are used to meet the power ramps in the system as the slower plants take their time to come online.

Would you please stop pretending to be stupid. You're supposed to be a power system engineer by trade.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (25) Aug 10, 2015
No, peaking plants come online after load-following plants or whenever the load growth or supply loss is unusually sudden. They do not sit "warmed up" all the time. PG&E used motoring hydro-generators online, up to speed, for fast peaking when I was with them. Gas turbines did the work at peak, as well as less-efficient thermal units.
billpress11
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2015
Peak electric power consumption is during the day time exactly when solar power producers would be selling excess electricity. Solar electricity actually helps balance the daily electric load between day and night use. Also home solar power producers actually help reduce the transmission cost because they produce this power right next to the points of consumption.
Eikka
4.3 / 5 (23) Aug 10, 2015
No, peaking plants come online after load-following plants


Peaking plants are load following plants - they're just faster than others with a lower duty cycle.

When the load goes up, peaking plants respond first, then the slower load following plants ramp up and the peaking plants fade out. During the peak, the peaking plants come back online to handle any sudden increases in demand. Then, as the peak is predicted to end, the slower load following plants start to turn off -before- the down-ramp so as to have enough time to turn off, and the peaking plants fade back in to make up the difference.

or whenever the load growth or supply loss is unusually sudden. They do not sit "warmed up" all the time.


I never said they did. I said that they sit idle.

Some number of gas turbines however do sit spinning and warmed up all the time, or running at half-load especially where hydro-generators are not available.
Eikka
4.3 / 5 (23) Aug 10, 2015
Peak electric power consumption is during the day time exactly when solar power producers would be selling excess electricity. Solar electricity actually helps balance the daily electric load between day and night use.


It does up to a point.

Then it starts to create the opposite problem.

This has already happened in California, and in Germany where in summertime the mid-day "through" from solar power is around 50% of all electricity demand. It has basically turned the peak upside down rather than make it flat, because there is just so much excess solar power.

Instead of a costly peak at mid-day, you get two sharp peaks before and after, and a great deep ravine in the middle, and the power system is in trouble trying to keep up with the rate of change.

This is one of the unspoken costs of solar power that people don't talk about when they say "solar power is cheap".
Eikka
4.5 / 5 (22) Aug 10, 2015
Here's a good article on the subject of solar and the daily peak load:

http://euanmearns...lutions/

Paraphrasing:
On Sunday, July 7th, 2013, a day of unbroken sunshine and low demand, solar PV generated approximately 200 GWh of energy, over 20% of the total for the day. The surge of solar power caused generation to exceed consumption for about ten hours and as a result about 13% of it had to be exported to other countries.

But solar supplied only 5.7% of Germany's total electricity generation in 2013. Market analysts have predicted that it could ultimately supply 25% of Germany's electricity, so we'll use that as the target. If 150GW of solar PV capacity had been in place on July 7th, 2013 there would have been huge oversupply.

Solar would have generated ~800 GWh, but only about 200 GWh of it could have been admitted to the grid, increasing solar penetration by zero.
TechnoCreed
4.6 / 5 (9) Aug 10, 2015
@shavera
Don't you realize that, most people are putting pseudo-science on ignore? You are talking to a shadow and that is really annoying; it is cluttering the column. Should I put you on ignore too? You are feeding a Troll (Zephyr sees soft drink fizzing and he thinks that it is nuclear fusion). By the way, self sustained nuclear fusion only happens when you meet Lawson criterion.
shavera
5 / 5 (8) Aug 10, 2015
Techno, I've been advocating the same approach too recently, so yeah, I'm definitely guilty here, of feeding the troll. I guess nuclear physics, being my background, just kind of catches my attention more than it should.
gkam
1.5 / 5 (26) Aug 10, 2015
"This has already happened in California, and in Germany where in summertime the mid-day "through" from solar power is around 50% of all electricity demand. It has basically turned the peak upside down rather than make it flat, because there is just so much excess solar power."
------------------------------

Excess? It's pretty easy to reduce generation, but somebody tried to make more money. And in Europe it is all historically divided up into little areas. It is not easy to regulate and coordinate.

Do not blame your coordination problems on source technology.
crusher
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2015
LPPFusion is a company working on dense plasma focus (DPF) nuclear fusion. Dr. Eric Lerner the founder and President of LPPFusion helped plan and conduct experiments that showed DPF fusion reactors can attain world record breaking temperatures exceeding 1.2 billion degrees.

Neil Farbstein, President of Vulvox Nanobiotechnology Corporation suggested to LPPFusion joint development of a coating of CNT to protect the future beryllium electrodes in the Focus Fusion generator. While more research is needed, the extraordinary qualities of CNTs may help to reduce two sources of erosion- chemical and physical sputtering. LPPFusion and Vulvox Nanobiotechnology Corporation will be seeking investors and government funding to investigate further CNT coatings of beryllium electrodes. You can find more details on the LPPFusion webpage at http://lawrencevi...ctrodes/

Eikka
4.5 / 5 (22) Aug 10, 2015
Excess? It's pretty easy to reduce generation


It's impossible to reduce generation below 0% and practically hard to approach it.

in Europe it is all historically divided up into little areas. It is not easy to regulate and coordinate.


Continental Europe is mostly one synchronized grid. The Nordic Pool is another such area, and the British Isles. That's the main divide that exists today. It's much more interconnected and inter-operated than e.g. West Coast USA, which I already pointed out the last time you made that complaint.

Do not blame your coordination problems on source technology.


Being that the source of solar technology in this case is China, instead of domestic European manufacturers as it was originally promised, I see no connection either.

However, if you're talking about blaming the source of energy; why not? If your car has square wheels, it's going to ride badly no matter what sort of springs you put in the seat.

Eikka
4.5 / 5 (22) Aug 10, 2015
And in Europe it is all historically divided up into little areas. It is not easy to regulate and coordinate.


You should educate yourself about the level of power system coordination in Europe. It's /the/ reason why countries like Germany and Denmark have been able to tolerate far greater renewables penetration than what the US or California have managed so far.

https://en.wikipe...l_Europe
https://en.wikipe...ctricity


European Network of Transmission System Operators
41 transmission system operators
34 European countries
532 million customers served
312,693 km of transmission lines
3,174.2 TWh electricity transported
423,586 GWh of electricity exchange between member TSOs
1,023,721 MW net generation capacity connected to the grid
docile
Aug 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gkam
1.4 / 5 (28) Aug 10, 2015
European Network of Transmission System Operators
41 transmission system operators
34 European countries
532 million customers served
312,693 km of transmission lines
3,174.2 TWh electricity transported
423,586 GWh of electricity exchange between member TSOs
1,023,721 MW net generation capacity connected to the grid"
---------------------------------

Yes. Thanks for making my point: Difficult to control because of complexity and the need for high coordination.
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (21) Aug 10, 2015
There is no federal law that mandates net metering


https://en.wikipe...d_States

As of March 2015, 44 states and Washington, D.C. have developed mandatory net metering rules for at least some utilities


https://en.wikipe..._of_2005

Energy Policy Act of 2005
- requires all public electric utilities to offer net metering on request to their customers;


IOUs (private utilities) don't have to offer net metering, but they are requested to "consider".
Eikka
4.5 / 5 (22) Aug 10, 2015
Yes. Thanks for making my point: Difficult to control because of complexity and the need for high coordination.


34 countries vs. 51 states. EU vs. US land area is very similiar, distances are very similiar, Population densities are very similiar and the climates are very similiar except for the northern part.

I'd say it's very comparable except on one point: the US doesn't have the level of coordination in the electric grid between states and individual utilities in the states as Europe has between countries because the US is effectively split in the middle. This shrinks the areas in which renewable power has to operate, which makes it more difficult to level off differences in renewable energy production and demand.

In other words, it's geographically and practically more difficult in the US than in the EU which has a single synchronized grid from Gibraltar to Tallinn.

So your point is moot.
billpress11
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 10, 2015
Thanks Physorg nice timing:

Wind energy pricing is at an all-time low, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Energy and prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers averaged under 2.5¢/kWh for projects negotiating contracts in 2014, spurring demand for wind energy.


http://phys.org/n...kwh.html

gkam
1.3 / 5 (25) Aug 10, 2015
"So your point is moot."
------------------------------

My "point"?

I was offering you an excuse.
billpress11
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2015
Here is a link showing the US electrical grids.

http://energy.gov...wer-grid
Eikka
4.1 / 5 (22) Aug 10, 2015
The prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers averaged under 2.5¢/kWh for projects negotiating contracts in 2014, spurring demand for wind energy.


Wind power is arguably more manageable than solar power on the grid for two reasons:
1) smaller difference between peak output and average output (higher capacity factor)
2) the output is dispersed more randomly, so it doesn't all clump up on the same hour everywhere so much

However, the same criticism on subsidies apply: the price offered to utilities is already subsidized to the tune of $35/MWh and more when accounting for state level subsidies, so the 2.5¢ or $25/MWh is not the whole truth of the matter.

And the claims, for example;
Turbine scaling is enhancing wind project performance.


Again, doesn't tell the whole story. As turbine sizes increase, installation cost per MW are also increasing because of the sheer difficulty to transport the parts to the turbine site.
Eikka
4.5 / 5 (22) Aug 10, 2015
I was offering you an excuse.


Excuse for what?

It seems to me that you are blaming European grid operators for the issue, suggesting that the particular difficulties in adding more renewable power to the grid is a problem of organization, and that these problems would be particular to Europe.

But this is not the case. It's comparably easier to integrate more renewables in a large and diverse grid with more consumers spread over a large area, and the EU operators are highly coordinated to that end.

The problem is simply that solar power is very difficult to manage.
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (21) Aug 10, 2015
Also, the report is cherrypicked as admitted by the article itself:

2.35¢/kWh—the lowest-ever average price in the U.S. market, though admittedly focused on a sample of projects that largely hail from the lowest-priced central region of the country.


Texas sits next to the Rockies, has cheap wind power as a result. Film at 11.
billpress11
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2015
"In the twelve months through April 2015, utility scale solar power generated 21.95terawatt-hours (TWh), 0.54% of total U.S. electricity."[2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_the_United_States

How much of a problem can solar electricity be when line voltages can vary much more than the 0.54%?

Figure 1:
http://www.pge.co...ance.pdf
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (19) Aug 10, 2015
How much of a problem can solar electricity be when line voltages can vary much more than the 0.54%?


Consider how solar power operates. It's on full power for a couple hours of a 24 hour day, except when it's cloudy, rainy, or in the dead of the winter.

So when the power is actually on it must be far greater than the 0.54% average. In California, it must peak 8 times higher, in northern Germany it must be 13 times higher.

Therefore the 0.54% actually means something on the order of 5.4% when it happens to be on, and in the future when the power system has 5.4% solar power, the actual power swing is on the order of 54%.

billpress11
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2015
How much of a problem can solar electricity be when line voltages can vary much more than the 0.54%?


Consider how solar power operates. It's on full power for a couple hours of a 24 hour day, except when it's cloudy, rainy, or in the dead of the winter.

So when the power is actually on it must be far greater than the 0.54% average. In California, it must peak 8 times higher, in northern Germany it must be 13 times higher.

Therefore the 0.54% actually means something on the order of 5.4% when it happens to be on, and in the future when the power system has 5.4% solar power, the actual power swing is on the order of 54%.


The 5.4% is less than what the voltage is allowed to vary. That also assumes it is sunny and at peak solar power at all points on the grid which almost never happens. You cannot compare the small German grid to any one of the three major grids in the US.
As for the future, who know what technological improvements await us.
billpress11
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 10, 2015
First Energy wants to in effect have renewable energies subsidize its old coal and nuclear power plants!

"The plan recommended by FirstEnergy would have Ohio electricity consumers pay for operating costs of what critics deem two inefficient power plants; the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo and the W.H. Sammis coal-fired plant FirstEnergy operates on the Ohio River. An evidentiary hearing on the FirstEnergy proposal is scheduled to be held at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) offices on April 13.
http://midwestene...-debate/

bluehigh
2.6 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2015
ARC reactor? Tony Stark developed this technology some time ago. His Iron Man suits even have a miniaturised version. I want one, if Pepper Potts does my install.
crusher
1 / 5 (3) Aug 10, 2015
solar got the initial development push that has allowed it now to go down the price curve


The low cost of solar power is an illusion. The market price is low because we're paying around $230 per MWh in various state and federal level subsidies and incentives. Without this cash flow, the whole industry would just vanish overnight.

Secondly, the "no-subsidies" LCOE estimates are still influenced by subsidies because subsidies make faster return of interest and lower capital cost. The effect is that the apparent up-front cost of keeping a solar farm is lower than it actually is.

Third, the cost of solar power does not include the necessary cost of energy storage, without which the whole system simply does not work. The cost of utilizing the energy is not counted in, which creates the illusion that solar is cheap.

oil and gas depletion allowances are still subsidizing a mature industry. solar is growing
gkam
1.3 / 5 (26) Aug 10, 2015
And the power will be "Too cheap to meter!".
crusher
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2015
why aren't we doing "cold fusion" research? Simple. Two positively charged objects repel each other. Nuclei are positively charged
OK - try to explain, why the atoms don't repel each other if they contain positively charged atom nuclei. Maybe some unknown miracle applies there?


It once seemed "obvious" that objects heavier than air could not be made into flying machines. Most people believed that it violated the laws of physics because opinionated "exports" told them that was the case. LENR low energy nuclear fusion seems impossible but there are some processes that might account for it. Coulomb shielding of nuclei in metal matrices reduces the effective nuclear charge making it less improbable that nuclei can react.

The existence of radioactivity was proved long before the phenomenon was understood.
Agomemnon
1 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2015
Fusion Research is much like what I hear from my wife many nights.....YOUR DOING IT WRONG.
crusher
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2015
Theres a lot of empirical evidence for low energy nuclear reactions by known scientists.

There was also empirical evidence that heavier than air flight was possible.
Some people saw heavier than air objects called birds flying and thought that fact invalidated the arguments that the laws of physics made it impossible.
docile
Aug 10, 2015
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crusher
2 / 5 (8) Aug 10, 2015
ITER is a dinosaur.
Mark Thomas
2.7 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2015
"Fusion energy is certain to be the most important source of electricity on Earth in the 22nd century, but we need it much sooner than that to avoid catastrophic global warming," says David Kingham, CEO of Tokamak Energy Ltd. in the UK.

Note to Bernard Bigot at ITER, this is what leadership looks like, you could learn a lot from David Kingham. It is time to quit assessing and either complete ITER or admit it is unworkable. At least try acting like what you are doing is important.
grondilu
2 / 5 (2) Aug 11, 2015
This makes me wonder if it was really pertinent to engage in huge, expensive projects like ITER. By the time it is constructed, will progress in research have made it irrelevant? Wouldn't it have been wiser to spend the money in research so that in the end a fusion reactor could be made possible in a more reasonable cost and timeframe?
Egleton
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2015
There you all go.
Making declarative statements about why this is impossible or that is a conspiracy theory.

And from whence do the devine utterances spring? Why, from the self-referential left brain that also houses the speech centres and the Ego.. It is very vocal on it's own behalf. It will invent all sorts of convoluted rationalizations in order to support it's MODELS. As split brain experiments have demonstrated. Tell your left brain to just pipe down for a moment.
So far, no fusion reactor has produced as much energy as it consumes, 
It is just not so.
Please do not claim knowledge that you do not have.
There are more ways of skinning a cat than choking it on cream.
Why do you insists that there is only one way to fusion?
Prof. Haggelstein would beg to differ.
EyeNStein
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 11, 2015
ITER is a research reactor. Its design may look like a dinosaur, but its construction is creating then solving so many problems that the effort will be worthwhile. It's like the first jet engines, they had to be built and flown, or their high-bypass successors with single crystal titanium fan blades couldn't have learned important design lessons.

The ARC reactor is still just on paper. It's completion would be as many years behind ITER as its advanced design concepts are years in front of ITER. See the video on this page for details of ARC's advancements:-
http://www.pppl.g...elopment
I hope they give ARC another design iteration for stronger super-alloy construction and liquid neon cooling before they consider building it. The super high output divertor they will need for their compact design will be a major project in its own right.
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (21) Aug 11, 2015
That also assumes it is sunny and at peak solar power at all points on the grid which almost never happens.


Except it does. The entire West Coast US for example is practically on the same geographical hour from San Fransisco to Seattle. Same problem on the East Coast, and the transmission capacity between the two doesn't exist because the AC grid can't actually transmit power over that long a distance and there's no population in the middle to work a "domino" system.

You cannot compare the small German grid to any one of the three major grids in the US.


Germany sits in the middle of a 500 million consumer European synchronized grid that extends in every direction and over multiple timezones. It has no problem exporting solar energy. The problem it has is using the power for itself instead of giving it away.
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (20) Aug 11, 2015
It is not cherry picking when the article openly discusses the issue.


Yes it is. When you admit that you're cherrypicking, yet still use it to make an argument, it's called "lampshading".

It's a psychological propaganda trick.

Lampshade Hanging is the writers' trick of dealing with any element of the story that threatens the audience's Willing Suspension of Disbelief, whether a very implausible plot development, or a particularly blatant use of a trope, by calling attention to it and simply moving on.


When you point out to the incongruity yet do not justify it, the audience nevertheless gets a feeling that you did address it and aren't trying to slip anything past them, and so they ignore the hole in your argument.

Of course it makes sense to put the turbines where the best winds are...


Indeed. However, given the scale of energy demand, we have to put turbines literally -everywhere- for it to matter.

docile
Aug 11, 2015
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docile
Aug 11, 2015
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billpress11
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 11, 2015
Eikka, have you looked over the US grid? http://energy.gov...wer-grid

When you do you will notice the the US grid is composed of 3 smaller grids that also have interconnections. The west coast is not an independent grid. The western grid goes all the way into the plain states and the eastern grid meets up with the western grid and has some interconnection with it there. There goes your argument that, "except it does".

Haven't you ever noticed that weather in the western and eastern US are nearly always the opposite?
On top of that we do have different sun rise and set times. So I will add "except it never does".
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (21) Aug 11, 2015
This is just the point - the research scale should be small.


And there are small scale research reactors as well.

It's just that you can't know whether the small scale experiments extrapolate to the large scale without actually building the large reactor.

People just get so confused about millions and billions, to the point that they don't know what costs what and what is big and what is small. For example, Germany spends in one year more money than the entire ITER project is projected to cost over 20 years just on renewable energy feed-in-tariffs.

In other words, for the price of running the renewable energy circus in Germany, they could have built a dozen ITERs already.
billpress11
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 11, 2015
Quote Eikka: "Germany sits in the middle of a 500 million consumer European synchronized grid that extends in every direction and over multiple timezones. It has no problem exporting solar energy. The problem it has is using the power for itself instead of giving it away."

One question, then why have you stated that renewable energies are a problem to handle? Could it be just that the utility companies are just looking for excuses for outages or maybe raising rates?
And no, even if it sell the excess solar power for a penny a kilowatt hour it is not giving it away and it actually adds to the solar power system's profits.
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (20) Aug 11, 2015
When you do you will notice the the US grid is composed of 3 smaller grids that also have interconnections.


These interconnections are not sufficient for the reasons already stated.

There goes your argument that, "except it does".


As I already pointed out, there is little power transfer between the west and east coast population centers because the distance between them is too large. AC grids simply don't work directly over those distances because the transmission loss would be too high.

Over the long haul (>200-300 miles), the grid works by a kind of "bucket chain", where power stations push power to the next area, so the next area can push power onwards. This however is limited by the low population density in the middle: there is not enough generating capacity to transmit large amounts of power east-to-west.

docile
Aug 11, 2015
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Eikka
4.2 / 5 (19) Aug 11, 2015
One question, then why have you stated that renewable energies are a problem to handle?


For reasons I've already stated: they make too much power immediately, and too little energy on average.

When you have a source that exceeds your immediate demand whenever it happens to come on, yet produces a fraction of your total demand on average, you have a problem. You need more, but when you build more you aren't actually getting any more. It just costs you more.



Eikka
4.2 / 5 (21) Aug 11, 2015
The scale of ITER is simply the product of obsolete belief, that the inertial fusion in tokamak requires certain size for being feasible at all.


As pointed out above, the size of ITER is a product of the weaker magnets in its design. It cannot contain the plasma in a volume any smaller because it cannot exert any more confinement pressure.

nobody actually bothers with its dismissal.


That's because there's very good experimental evidence from JET and other experimental fusion reactors about the amount of fusion energy obtainable from a certain amount of plasma in the conditions of the reactor, which dictates how large the reactor has to be to break even.

You're beating a dead horse again.

The main limiting factor is actually the instability of the plasma. The larger the reactor, the longer they can keep it going before it extinguishes itself, and the easier it becomes to break even. In a small reactor everything happens too fast to see.

docile
Aug 11, 2015
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docile
Aug 11, 2015
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billpress11
1 / 5 (6) Aug 11, 2015
Quote Eikka: "For reasons I've already stated: they make too much power immediately, and too little energy on average.

When you have a source that exceeds your immediate demand whenever it happens to come on, yet produces a fraction of your total demand on average, you have a problem. You need more, but when you build more you aren't actually getting any more. It just costs you more."

There are ways around this now with more better ones coming in the future. One that we could try now would be to build a two dam hydro system that uses excess renewable energy to pump water from the lower to the higher dam to be used later when the renewable energy is insufficient to meet demands.

docile
Aug 11, 2015
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billpress11
1 / 5 (6) Aug 11, 2015
Docile, where you are missing the boat is that it takes just a small fraction of the energy to build renewable energy farms as to what they save over their lifetime. One coal fired plant would create enough CO2 over its lifetime to produce enough energy to create probably 10,000 or more times the energy that would needed to create the same amount of energy with renewable sources.

Look at it this way, if all we had were renewable sources of electricity we could certainly build more renewable sources without creating any CO2.
Returners
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 11, 2015
Governments don't want people to have access to LENR because it would be a source of increased freedom and wealth to the majority of the population. That is bad for government, which needs everyone to be trapped in a daily cycle of "work harder not smarter" in order for said governments to function.

I bet the NAVY and NASA already have LENR, it's just classified top secret, because they don't want ordinary people having it and they don't want foreign governments to have it either
docile
Aug 11, 2015
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docile
Aug 11, 2015
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Eikka
4.6 / 5 (19) Aug 11, 2015
it takes just a small fraction of the energy to build renewable energy farms as to what they save over their lifetime.


But the increased economic activity elsewhere in the society that is required to -pay- for the higher price generally negates the savings.

If you pay twice as much money for the same amount of energy, you need to work twice as hard or twice as long to make the income and you end up spending twice as much everything, including energy.

There are ways around this now with more better ones coming in the future. One that we could try now would be to build a two dam hydro system


You are talking of such a massive undertaking that it is not handled simply by building a few "two dam systems". In the European scale, all the rivers in Norway couldn't make the difference, and the whole country is one big hydroelectric generator as it is.

docile
Aug 11, 2015
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EyeNStein
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2015
Renewables are a great, and important, concept.
But not every household can afford the £700 of lead acid batteries and £6600 worth of solar installation I know it would take to make my house entirely run on renewable solar energy.
Even allowing for nation sized economies of scale; If the households can't afford it then the UK Government cant afford the few hundred £ billion at present either.
The real problem is we need a solution NOW but don't have an affordable one yet.
Keep funding the research, keep running the pilot programmes, and keep generating ideas- we need them.
gkam
1.6 / 5 (25) Aug 11, 2015
They do not "consume" those elements, they use them and recycle them, unlike non-renewable coal gas and oil.

You silly folk are running out of arguments to delay the future.
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (19) Aug 11, 2015
They do not "consume" those elements, they use them and recycle them, unlike non-renewable coal gas and oil.


A) The demand for the elements greatly exceeds our ability to produce them the first time
B) Nothing is entirely recyclable, and recycling itself requires energy. The closer you attempt to get 100% recovery, the more energy you spend doing it - this is called diminishing returns.

And there currently exists no actual means to recycle many of the materials such as fiberglass, glass, or concrete. These materials are rather "downcycled" into landfill or other secondary products and need to be made anew from virgin sources.

Especially for concrete, there exists no practical means for making it by and from renewable energy and resources - it's mined out of the ground, fired up using tremendous amounts of fossil fuels to make cement, and when it's used up it's simply tossed away, along with the steel rebar which would be too costly to separate.

El_Nose
5 / 5 (2) Aug 11, 2015
the point of solar is that it is the right thing to do. Yes it releases carbon into the air when producing the panels, but post installation its carbon footprint is minimal. Coal and Natural gas power continually releases CO2 to function.

I believe a better issue to argue about is the fact that 3 large ocean cargo vessels release as much pollutants into the atmosphere as all the cars on the planet. And there are dozens of such vehicles of the extreme size. And the mid range ones release as much pollutants as small countries. and there are hundreds of those. We have regulated the car industry to produce less and create more efficient engines but the sea transportation industry is in a voluntary paradigm based only on market forces, which will never make this an aggressive change in agenda, to few buyers.
billpress11
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 11, 2015
They do not "consume" those elements, they use them and recycle them, unlike non-renewable coal gas and oil.


A) The demand for the elements greatly exceeds our ability to produce them the first time
B) Nothing is entirely recyclable, and recycling itself requires energy. The closer you attempt to get 100% recovery, the more energy you spend doing it - this is called diminishing returns.

And there currently exists no actual means to recycle many of the materials such as fiberglass, glass, or concrete. These materials are rather "downcycled" into landfill or other secondary products and need to be made anew from virgin sources.


I cannot believe this post, with non-renewable sources every point you make is the same at best or much worst. Absolutely none are made worst by renewable sources of energy!
billpress11
1 / 5 (5) Aug 11, 2015
if all we had were renewable sources of electricity we could certainly build more renewable sources without creating any CO2
But the renewables aren't renewable at all, if we consider their consumption of rare elements, copper, glass, steel, concrete, maintenance and the fact, they still need some backup - actually the more extensive, the more powerful they are. Could we afford long winter without complete backup of solar and wind plants? Their nominal production drops by factor of ten during night or winter period. But to have energy backup in classical plants is not a cheap business at all and the production of nuclear plants cannot be even interrupted so easily. And we are still losing year after year in research of cold fusion. This is an explosive situation from geopolitical perspective.

Renewable sources of energy are very nearly 100% recyclable. Whereas the coal or oil consumed are nearly 100% non-recyclable, period, well maybe if you wait about 100 millions.
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (19) Aug 11, 2015
But not every household can afford the £700 of lead acid batteries and £6600 worth of solar installation I know it would take to make my house entirely run on renewable solar energy.


You make it sound cheap. In daily cycling to 50% DoD, the lead-acid batteries have an average replacement rate of 14 months. For lower DoD the cycle life can be extended by 40% and cost per unit energy would drop 29% but you need to purchase 10 times more batteries at a go.

But they would theoretically last you 16 years before replacement.
docile
Aug 11, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
billpress11
1 / 5 (5) Aug 11, 2015
Governments don't want people to have access to LENR because it would be a source of increased freedom and wealth to the majority of the population
Yes, it's undoubtedly the political factor in the game. The power of central government is in its ability to control the access to energy sources, and these sources must remain central (grid) for being controllable at all. Currently A. Rossi is allowed to continue in his research of E-Cat only under condition, he will not develop units for domestic usage. His sponsors depend on central distribution of heat and they would be dumb if they would undermine their own business in this way.

The difference between hot and cold fusion sources of energy are, one is always 30 years away, the other never arrives when promised.

And Docile, you should be supporting renewable sources because one could be completely independent (of the gov) today if they could live with the intermittent source power.
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (19) Aug 11, 2015
I cannot believe this post, with non-renewable sources every point you make is the same at best or much worst.


Fusion power would, and nuclear power does, use a tiny tiny fraction of the materials.

Renewable sources of energy are very nearly 100% recyclable.


But at what cost? Are you the one to chip away at millions of tons of concrete blocks with a drill hammer to recover the last bits of rebar so you wouldn't have to keep making new steel?

It needs to be very very nearly 100% recyclable to keep sustaining them for any great lenght of time. If you lose 5% of materials on a round-trip, ten rounds in you've lost nearly half. That's why you can't lose a single nut or bolt when dismantling old wind turbines - otherwise you need to dig up half the earth for more materials 100 years later.

docile
Aug 11, 2015
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Eikka
4.4 / 5 (19) Aug 11, 2015
Your "logic" is a vicious circle of pluralistic ignorance: nobody invests into cold fusion because he believes


And yet if you prove just one working example, one proof of concept, one mathematical formula that undeniably shows it can be done, then all the world's Edisons would jump at it in a split second.

But I digress; no self-respecting cold fusion researcher would stoop so low as to produce a falsifiable theory or even a thought-experiment to make their point. Instead, if mainstream science won't do the work for you, it's a conspiracy.
billpress11
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 11, 2015
Eikka and Docile, both of you are unbelievable. You are stuck in the past. The gasoline engine did not replace the horse in a year or even a decade, it takes time and advances in technology. Be patient, it is happening now, and it will take about 100 years to reach 90% renewable sources. But it will happen, not even the Koch bros will be able to stop it.

Docile, your electric car argument just doe not hold water, if you figure in using renewable sources of energy to recharge your car.
docile
Aug 11, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Eikka
4.2 / 5 (21) Aug 11, 2015
The gasoline engine did not replace to horse in a year or even a decade


That's a dishonest comparison, because you have the hindsight of what the gasoline engine became. You don't have the hindsight to say what becomes or wind and solar power, or the rest. You're just doggedly assuming that it will work, because the prospect that it doesn't is too scary for you.

This is complete nonsense, as the cold fusion researchers did provide many such an examples already.


So where then are the reactors? Why aren't the Chinese building them already? What grand conspiracy keeps them from repeating the feat in front of critical audiences?

have been presented for everyone to check

Yes, as long as you don't actually take a look inside.
billpress11
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 11, 2015
Eikka, no you are just wrong on nuclear power sources, both fusion and fission create radioactive waste products that are difficult to dispose of.

As for recycling, concrete is sometimes already recycled, it makes great foundation material for roads parking lots etc.. Besides, you have the same problems recycling old non-renewable energy plants plus you have ash sludge problem to get rid of with coal.

gkam
1.3 / 5 (25) Aug 11, 2015
"You don't have the hindsight to say what becomes or wind and solar power, or the rest. You're just doggedly assuming that it will work, because the prospect that it doesn't is too scary for you."
-------------------------------------------

It works. Less than three cents/kWh. How is Vogtle coming? What is their cost to produce one kWh? It is forecast to be well over ten cents/kWh.
docile
Aug 11, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
El_Nose
4 / 5 (4) Aug 11, 2015
@Eikka

https://connect.a...e=normal

4 minutes into the presentation " the reactors are reporting to get more energy out than they put in "

http://www.forbes...-heater/

http://moderndevi...nd-nasa/

The only issue with LENR is that there is no theory behind it. It works, but no one understands the physics totally. So this means it is merely empirical evidence, meaning the only way we know it works is because it works, we don;t understand how. Tons of theory, but none validated.
Eikka
4.5 / 5 (22) Aug 11, 2015
And what did actually happen? Absolutely nothing.


They are doing these parlor tricks and magic shows at expos. Of course everyone sees it's just a scam.

If you can produce a pair of "hot balls", you can just as easily produce a pile of hot balls and send them to every prominent nuclear physicist to be tested, dismantled, ground up into bits and examined. If they work - they work. You can gain patents and rights retroactively, you'll win the nobel price, the president will shake your hand.

The fact that these "inventors" aren't doing that is a testament that they're frauds.
docile
Aug 11, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (20) Aug 11, 2015
As for recycling, concrete is sometimes already recycled, it makes great foundation material for roads parking lots etc..


That's downcycling - not recycling. It's using a higher value product for something of lower value, in this case simply to avoid the cost of hauling it to a landfill.

It works. Less than three cents/kWh.


And a ton of subsidies, and all the integration costs you are doggedly ignoring and denying.

How is Vogtle coming?
It is forecast to be well over ten cents/kWh.


At $14 billion for a pair of AP1000 reactors, that isn't nearly 10 cents a kWh. Once completed the new reactors will make about 18,000 GW·h a year.

Even if the new reactors only ran for 20 years, that would be 3.8 cents a kWh. If they manage to keep them online for 60 it would be 1.3 cents a kWh.

But more importantly, it avoids building about 2000 new wind turbines.
docile
Aug 11, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Eikka
4.4 / 5 (21) Aug 11, 2015
The're indeed doing it (1, 2)


Oh yes, and references go back to Andrea Rossi. Very convincing indeed.

A common trick for fraudsters. Create fake peer review.
docile
Aug 11, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
billpress11
2.7 / 5 (10) Aug 11, 2015
Be patient, it is happening now, and it will take about 100 years to reach 90% renewable sources.
The only problem is, at the times of horse replacements the people had not nuclear weapons for to enforce one solution into account of another one. And the destruction of life environment will not also wait one hundred of years for us. The human society is like the overheated star on the verge of gravitational collapse - it's solely to us, if it will continue to glow or if it will collapse like supernova first. Without effective fuel it will collapse catastrophically.

You got that backwards also, if we don't switch to renewable sources which for all practical purposes are infinite as opposed to coal and oil we will face the reality of the finiteness of the earth's resources someday.
billpress11
3 / 5 (10) Aug 11, 2015
Quote Eikka: "That's downcycling - not recycling. It's using a higher value product for something of lower value, in this case simply to avoid the cost of hauling it to a landfill."

And you keep ignoring the fact that all of the downcycling applies to non-renewable sources also!

As for subsidies, if you accept that the CO2 emitted by non-renewable sources will lead to global warming, well that is the biggest subsidy of all of the subsidies because they will never have to pay for the damage they have caused. They will already be bankrupted by renewable sources.

gkam
1.6 / 5 (25) Aug 11, 2015
"At $14 billion for a pair of AP1000 reactors, that isn't nearly 10 cents a kWh. Once completed the new reactors will make about 18,000 GW·h a year."
----------------------------

The costs are due to financing costs, even after we taxpayers guaranteed the loans to Georgia Power.

"Once completed"? Weren't they supposed to be ready by now? Those years of delay cost $2,000,000 every day!
billpress11
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 11, 2015
Eikka, I made a grievous error, I meant to give gkam a 5, which I did later, but I originally gave it to one of your post.
Earthman
1.7 / 5 (12) Aug 11, 2015
So hotter than the center of the sun in the middle, and cold as liquid nitrogen in the wires. Gonna be a heluva temperature gradient there.

I wonder what happens when you drop a frozen nitrogen cube into a million-plus degree plasma bath?
sandler
3 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2015
isn't the Takamak Fusion Reactor already been built?
https://www.youtu...1kHfODyk
TechnoCreed
4.6 / 5 (11) Aug 11, 2015
isn't the Takamak Fusion Reactor already been built?
https://www.youtu...1kHfODyk

Tokamak is a generic name for this type of magnetic confinement fusion reactor. In the video that you linked, the important thing that is not said is that there are no fusion reactor yet that has achieved the breakeven point i.e. as much energy generated that has been injected to produce it. Another thing is that the longest plasma ever generated by magnetic confinement lasted around 400 and something seconds.
sandler
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2015
Thanks.. You right TechnoCreed, hopefully with this new technology it would require couple of simple tweaks to get it there..
crusher
1 / 5 (4) Aug 11, 2015
This seems to be the result you're referring to, docile: https://en.wikipe...troversy

1, no one has been able to reproduce the result. Which should be suspicious to begin with.

2, the experiment described *starts* with an excited Hafnium state, and uses XRays to "trigger" the nucleon to fall to a lower energy level and emit a gamma ray. So you're really deeply misinformed about what you're discussing here.

3, Even in this case, excited nuclear states emit Gamma rays in 10s-100s of MeV, not XRays in the 10s-100s of keV. So if you see something that is 10s of MeV or more... that's likely a nuclear reaction.

4, get to the bloody point. How does any of this suggest that "cold" nuclear fusion can occur.


Its a nuclear transition its unproven AND COLD FUSION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT1
Ryan1981
2.5 / 5 (4) Aug 12, 2015
"and it's one that might be realized in as little as a decade, they say" and it always will be as little as a decade :P

All sarcasm on a stick though. Can it be done within our lifetime? Yes! If we want it: http://www.bbc.co...b00hr6bk
humy
5 / 5 (4) Aug 13, 2015
where it says;

"The world's most powerful planned fusion reactor, a huge device called ITER that is under construction in France, is expected to cost around $40 billion. Sorbom and the MIT team estimate that the new design, about half the diameter of ITER (which was designed before the new superconductors became available), would produce about the same power at a fraction of the cost and in a shorter construction time...."

-it makes me think that, unless I am missing something here, they should now definitely completely halt construction of that " ITER" and divert all funds from that to building the one with this vastly improved design made with this new superconductor?
Well, I think so.

humy
5 / 5 (3) Aug 13, 2015
Waste of money that needs defunding. Thanks to high oil prices, solar got the initial development push that has allowed it now to go down the price curve so it nearly cheaper than any alternatives including $50 oil--and, of course, any future fusion power plants.


How on earth could you possibly know that solar would always be cheaper than "any future fusion power plants"? You cannot possibly know even roughly what potential levelized cost would be of fusion power in the long run because NOBODY, not I and not even the experts, knows this yet as there is still just too many uncertain variables to take into account such as the future price of deuterium and how energy efficient can it potentially be made to be etc. Where is your cost-breakdown analysis to do even a crude rough estimate of its levelized cost?
Without that, you cannot possibly rationally compare costs or be in any position to comment on its long term cost effectiveness.
gkam
1 / 5 (20) Aug 13, 2015
"Without that, you cannot possibly rationally compare costs or be in any position to comment on its long term cost effectiveness."
--------------------------------

Without proof it works productively, it is all mental masturbation.
humy
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 13, 2015
"Without proof it works productively, it is all mental masturbation."

They can have and, judging from the link, do have perfectly good rational reason to believe it can be made to be perfectly 'productive'. One doesn't always necessarily need absolute "proof" to rationally know that something is probability so.
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Aug 13, 2015
How many more years do we have to hear that stuff? It's only another generation away, so let's keep on pouring billions down that rat-hole.

Instead of seeking the Magic Box, let's learn to live within our means.

Hmmm?
RichManJoe
5 / 5 (2) Aug 13, 2015
In about 1972, as an aspiring EE, I had the privilege of visiting the South East Fast Oxide Reactor in NW Arkansas with a nuclear scientist. He at the time said that he thought fusion was only about 20 years away at that time. I am glad to see now it is maybe only 10 years away - and always will be. Got to have the hype to sell the type. (Actually, I do hope it is now only a few years away - maybe when the post apocalyptic civilization following the crash of earth's biosystem, they will find the reactor. Sorry about the cynicism).

EnricM
5 / 5 (1) Aug 14, 2015
Could we get a "naked" atom nuclei in this way?


You mean like H+ cations? Like when you throw a foil of aluminium into a caustic soda solution?
EnricM
5 / 5 (2) Aug 14, 2015
I read many of the complaints about each other on here, but to speak science and then to lie with labels out of anger all the time, like now when we just may have a chance of putting an end to needless killing by solving our energy needs. Even if this does work, we could hurt ourselves, and will hurt ourselves, if we don't put the the Truth first in all things. You are all each Most Important. Don't deny yourself life.


Abusing C4H10O again?
humy
5 / 5 (1) Aug 15, 2015
How many more years do we have to hear that stuff?


If only you had payed close attention to what is going on recently, you would know practical fission really IS about 10 years (or less) away and it certainly will not be true that it "will always be x number of years away". This is because ALL the old reasons why it was taking so long no longer hold true.
In particular, the old reason of the energy going into the reactor being more than the energy coming out: If you actually bothered to read, you will see they have solved that big problem. There simply is no more insurmountable problems left to solve to make this happen within ~10 years time.
docile
Aug 15, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Edenlegaia
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 15, 2015
While we may very well be good without it for now, one day, we'll need fusion power. Renewables alone won't be enough for our massive energy needs. We can try to avoid mass energy costs of our everyday lives, but many things in the future will need massive energy amounts.
We won't get that with solar panel and wind turbines.
gkam
1 / 5 (20) Aug 15, 2015
Another new "development"? Like Clinch River? Like Fermi i (twice), like Brown's Ferry, like Rancho Seco, like TMI II, like all the other REALLY expensive failures of nukes? Notice I did not have to bring up the world-wide disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima, and soon with another old GE BWR.

Playing with this exotic stuff is the dream of the Sorcerer's Apprentice, and that is all they are, no matter what they think of themselves.

Yeah, I know this is fusion, the "clean" stuff, except it is not "clean" either, it just has projected waste of much lower magnitude. We will still need a highly-educated priesthood of scientists and technicians, and because it creates FUSION (releases Neutrons), and has such concentrated power, we will need a Police State to "protect" it from us, and vice-versa.
gkam
1 / 5 (20) Aug 15, 2015
Oops, replace Neutrons" above with "binding energy".
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (8) Aug 15, 2015
@mister G.
Do not be so negative toward fission. If the faith humanity depends on being star bound, the mastering of this technology is certainly a sine-qua-non condition. There are things to learn and places to see elsewhere in the Universe; after all the Sun is not a never ending story.
gkam
1 / 5 (21) Aug 15, 2015
"There are things to learn and places to see elsewhere in the Universe; after all the Sun is not a never ending story."
---------------------------------------

" . . if we do not kill ourselves first."
gkam
1 / 5 (22) Aug 15, 2015
Fusion is not a good idea. It is a fantasy, first of all. We will not develop a magic box to solve all our problems. We are way too clever and insufficiently wise.

I'd like to have control of my own power, thank you. As we continue the development of alternative energy, that is exactly what we can do, liberate us from Big Money energy companies.

The conservatives like nuclear power, because it is like Fascism, a top-down authoritarian technology, with a required Police State. Their ideas put us into the grip of Big Brother and the corporations.

I would rather be free. But that's just me, I guess.
Estevan57
4.6 / 5 (19) Aug 15, 2015
I bet gkam didn't like bifurcated leggings for women when they came out too.
gkam
1 / 5 (21) Aug 15, 2015
Unable to debate the issue, we get these irrelevant nothings form those with no real opinion.

The issue is new energy systems, and whether we should continue on the Same Old Road we have been for for hundreds of billions of dollars. I suggest we re-read EF Schumacher, and use appropriate technologies, ones we understand and work with ourselves.
gkam
1 / 5 (21) Aug 15, 2015
Did you notice Japan just turned on one of their nukes, even though The People are dead set against it?

It is this one in today's headline, right NOW:
http://www.japant...ar-plant

In May,another close one to the South erupted.

Why do we let these folk play with this stuff?
bluehigh
5 / 5 (2) Aug 15, 2015
Mmm ... Pepper Potts in bifurcated leggings. Hot enough to bring fusion power closer.
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (6) Aug 15, 2015
@mister G.
Do not be so negative toward fission. If the faith humanity depends on being star bound, the mastering of this technology is certainly a sine-qua-non condition. There are things to learn and places to see elsewhere in the Universe; after all the Sun is not a never ending story.


Whoops! I meant fusion of course.

But without plutonium there would not be any voyager mission. Or any other that require RTG's.
kochevnik
2 / 5 (4) Aug 15, 2015
One hot fusion reactor illustrated above would pay the development of one hundred cold fusion ones.... Even the http://www.e-catw...program/ for cold fusion research by now - which is sorta ironical, because just the Russia is motivated in high price of oil.
Who among us is calling out for cold fusion?
elaisakasan
3 / 5 (6) Aug 16, 2015
where it says;

"The world's most powerful planned fusion reactor, a huge device called ITER that is under construction in France, is expected to cost around $40 billion. Sorbom and the MIT team estimate that the new design, about half the diameter of ITER (which was designed before the new superconductors became available), would produce about the same power at a fraction of the cost and in a shorter construction time...."

-it makes me think that, unless I am missing something here, they should now definitely completely halt construction of that " ITER" and divert all funds from that to building the one with this vastly improved design made with this new superconductor?
Well, I think so.


Agree completely.
elaisakasan
1 / 5 (6) Aug 16, 2015
Fuel-less electric generators are available form companies like AuroraTek, and Rosch Innovations.
humy
5 / 5 (6) Aug 16, 2015
Fusion is not a good idea. It is a fantasy, first of all. .


And you know it will always be a fantasy how? are you a physicist? If so, tell us what is the physical insurmountable barrier to practical fusion. If not, then you are talking out of your ignorant ass and your opinion is obviously completely worthless.

P.S. I am OBVIOUSLY not talking about the cold-fusion nonsense here but rather hot fusion that we know happens for real in nature ( in stars ) .
Burnerjack
3 / 5 (2) Aug 16, 2015
Fusion will now be TEN years away-and always will be...
gkam
1 / 5 (20) Aug 16, 2015
humy, I meant in practical terms. We do not need a magic box attended to by hordes of ultra-high-tech folk working in secret, with the rest of us depending on them.

We do not have to do that now. We have energy systems we can buy, understand, maintain, control, and OWN.
Uncle Ira
4.6 / 5 (22) Aug 16, 2015
We do not need a magic box attended to by hordes of ultra-high-tech folk working in secret, with the rest of us depending on them.


Well that's easy for you to say. You got your free clean secret energy system hidden and secret, so why can't the ultra-high-tech Skippys can't keep their boxes secret?

We have energy systems we can buy, understand, maintain, control, and OWN.


You mean like the one on YOUR OWN house? Why you keep him secret from everybody else? Seems like you want to tell everybody what they ought to be doing but haven't gotten around to doing it on your own house. (Now don't going telling any tall tales, we all seen the pictures of your house.)
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (2) Aug 16, 2015
Sorry, there is no change in "mass"; the particle count is the same. The change is a change in motion. Best would be fission, trap the neutrons, split them, super-conduct the two currents, if you like recombine into hydrogen, or ... but Einstein is wrong! Theory and model does not reflect reality; you only get back something less than your input unless you have some magical particle transform! Has anyone tried hindsight? Or is it simply a payday?
gkam
1.2 / 5 (21) Aug 16, 2015
No, not yet, Ira, my PV setup only runs the pergola and the outside, with a small set of cells charging a little ATV battery ($29), which carries my LEDs for many hours. When I wired the upstairs, I left in a few runs of wire in the walls, in case I wanted to "heat up" (electrical talk, don't worry), other parts. I will use them for low-voltage LEDs.

How 'bout you?
Uncle Ira
4.8 / 5 (21) Aug 16, 2015
No, not yet, Ira, my PV setup only runs the pergola and the outside, with a small set of cells charging a little ATV battery ($29), which carries my LEDs for many hours. When I wired the upstairs, I left in a few runs of wire in the walls, in case I wanted to "heat up" (electrical talk, don't worry), other parts. I will use them for low-voltage LEDs.

How 'bout you?


Hooyeei, there is the first for me. The electric pergola I never did see. Does he glow only at Christmas time or all year long? My pergola has grape vines creeping over him and does not use any electricity for anything.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (22) Aug 16, 2015
"My pergola has grape vines creeping over him and does not use any electricity for anything."
--------------------------

Well, you folk will eventually get electricity and even plumbing soon.

But this thread concerns the "promise" of fusion power, which is no closer than it was 50 years ago, despite the hundreds of billions of wasted dollars. They cannot even control fission, and they want to play with fusion?
Uncle Ira
4.6 / 5 (22) Aug 16, 2015
Well, you folk will eventually get electricity and even plumbing soon.


Were you lying about working on robots up Caddo? Maybe they were the wind up kind you get down at the Toyz-R-Us. Hooyeei, I bet you got to be the senior engineer in the toy aisle too you, eh?

But this thread concerns the "promise" of fusion power,


Well golly gee, why you not tell me that before? I thought is was about the glam-Skippy and all the wonderful things he never did in his life. Well now I know.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (22) Aug 16, 2015
" I thought is was about "
------------------------------------
Well,that's what you get for trying to think.

Yeah, it's all a game to the goobers. To the rest of us, it is a serious debate over our future. I suggest we restrict it to those who wear shoes.
Mark Thomas
2 / 5 (4) Aug 16, 2015
Something doesn't seem quite right here. If the volumetric fusion power density varies with the FOURTH power of the magnetic field strength, why hasn't the R&D focus been on improving magnetic field strength for the last 50 years or so? All this wasted effort on plasma confinement when the answer was to simply crank up the magnetic field. Assuming that generations of brilliant scientists did not overlook the significance of that magnetic field to the fourth power term, then either we did not know how to "effectively" construct devices with stronger magnetic fields (not likely), this is new knowledge (hopefully), or it is incorrect (probably). Back in 2011 folks at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory proposed building a 32 T magnetic field coil with REBCO. So why has it taken so long to figure out REBCO is the answer for fusion power? See page 5 here: http://arxiv.org/...40v1.pdf
Mark Thomas
2.6 / 5 (5) Aug 16, 2015
Folks at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory reportedly achieved a huge 35.4 T magnetic field with REBCO back in 2011: http://arxiv.org/...6814.pdf
How could folks bright enough to build that device and write, "The cuprate based high temperature superconductor (REBCO), has the capability to substantially transform the technology of high field magnet systems," be so unaware of that fourth power term in Dr. Whyte's paper? By the way, the ARC reactor is only slated to run with a 23 T peak magnetic field. Let's crank that baby's field strength up to 35 T for 5 times more power density! Now this is where you say, you are overlooking all sorts of engineering factors in this difficult environment that make cranking up the field strength a lot harder than it sounds. Now this is where I say, I am not the only one overlooking something here.
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (6) Aug 16, 2015
Oh boy Mark!

Would you have cared to read EyeNStein's comment (17nt from the top) you would have understood. Go read his comment and listen to the video provided on his link; it is a presentation of the ARC design.
Mark Thomas
3 / 5 (6) Aug 16, 2015
Techno, I appreciate your comment and I read the article and watched the presentation. I'm saying that if we knew fusion power density rose with the fourth power of the magnetic field, not to mention sidestepping vexing problems like ELM, why didn't we do something about this years ago? Superconducting REBCO tapes have been around since at least 2008. Why weren't people jumping up and down back in 2011 when they achieved a 35.4 T magnetic field with REBCO?

Look, I love the idea, but when things seem too good to be true, as they do here, cooler heads need to remain skeptical. Let us not forget this was a student project, not the Manhattan Project.

Christian Barth for one should have been making a lot more noise two years ago if REBCO IS THE KEY TO PRACTICAL FUSION POWER!!!!!! because he literally wrote a book describing its use in a fusion reactor:
High Temperature Superconductor Cable Concepts for Fusion Magnets by Christian Barth.
gkam
1 / 5 (20) Aug 16, 2015
"whether or not we each are entitled to our unlimited share"
-----------------------------

Ah, yes, . . . the Faustian Bargain.

TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (5) Aug 16, 2015
Mark do you know about DEMO (at the bottom of this link) https://www.iter....ndbeyond Its conceptual design is to be deposited for 2017 and ReBCO is being considered for it but there is still some R&D problems to be fixed regarding its tensile and torsional strength. http://essay.utwente.nl/64686/ We are going to get fusion if we patiently solve the engineering difficulties one at a time and the B field is just one of them. ITER has been developed as an experiment to help us solve those difficulties. Its cost, $40 billion according to this article, is much more a reflection of the R&D involved to develop the technology than of the actual construction of the machine and building which is more like $16 billion.
Mark Thomas
2.6 / 5 (5) Aug 16, 2015
DavidW, believe me when I say that I sincerely hope you are right, but I am highly skeptical. Do you really appreciate the magnitude of what you are saying? When we finally enter the practical fusion era, the course of human history should change dramatically for the better. In the decades to follow nearly every country will achieve energy independence, greatly strengthening the global economy while ending our reliance on unstable oil producing countries. The key component for solving global warming will finally be in place. Terraforming Mars will become far more practical. Fusion-based propulsion in space will allow us to explore the solar system in person and reach near-by stars with at least probes, if not people.

This is why I will remain hopeful, but highly skeptical. This looks more like a math error than the scientific breakthrough of the century. Are you absolutely certain fusion power density scales this way and there are no practical impediments? Prove it.
Mark Thomas
2 / 5 (4) Aug 16, 2015
"We are going to get fusion if we patiently solve the engineering difficulties one at a time."

Now you are making sense, TechnoCreed. I am aware of the problems with REBCO, however, it appears existing REBCO strips are probably sufficient to produce the ARC reactor as specified.

You haven't addressed my point. Does doubling the magnetic field really increase the fusion power 16-fold resulting in a reactor producing 3-6 times more energy than it consumes. Yes or no. Anybody following fusion knows producing substantially more energy than consumed is fundamental to making fusion work. So do you believe it or not?
humy
5 / 5 (3) Aug 17, 2015
humy, I meant in practical terms. We do not need a magic box attended to by hordes of ultra-high-tech folk working in secret, .. .( gkam )
.

What planet are you on? They are NOT working in secret.
And it is only a "magic box" to those completely ignorant of basic physics who don't bother to read about what they are doing.
I understand it just fine even though I have yet to have a physics degree (although I admit have some physics credentials at university level, I still would have understood it just fine if I didn't do any university courses ) and the vast majority of laypeople can understand the basic principles of it if only they bothered to just a bit of research by reading the background info about it. You don't need a physics degree nor understand massively complex equations to understand just the basic physics of how it works -and that is all you need to know to know they know what they are doing.
And, yes, I WAS speaking in "practical" terms.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (3) Aug 17, 2015
ITER is a dinosaur.
They have other problems too. Like advanced bureaucratitis. They have too many Special Deputy Assistant Director General's Assistants and not enough physicists.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Aug 17, 2015
Well, we'll have to wait and see. Somehow I don't think it's quite that easy.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (19) Aug 17, 2015
humy, You do it. Not me. I want a power system I understand and can work with, not somebody's tempermental and exotic box to "save" us. Unlimited energy is not what we need, we need restraint and wisdom.
yep
1 / 5 (1) Aug 18, 2015
A fresh design is not always as good as a new approach. Incase you missed these guys, http://lawrencevi...sics.com

Dug
not rated yet Aug 18, 2015
Who ever considered this news isn't doing their journalistic home work. Locheed Martin announced their compact fusion reactor program in Feb. 7, 2013 and last October (2014) that it would have a compact fusion reactor prototype in less than five years and a commercial model in less than ten. At best the author did not do any home work and MIT is playing a "me too" and trying to catch up with commercial R&D already in advanced stages.

http://www.lockhe...ion.html
https://en.wikipe..._reactor
gkam
1 / 5 (18) Aug 18, 2015
Well, gosh, you'll have to put me in the skeptical category for this one. And I would rather have a power system I understand and can work with, not some super-high-tech and finicky monster in which we put all our marbles.

We need more wisdom, not more cleverness.
Jens Stubbe
1 / 5 (1) Sep 11, 2015
Grid parity is no longer new coal or even old coal power - it is onshore wind power with fast LCOE decrease and capacity factor approaching 65% in this decade.

Solar uses a giant natural fusion reactor just eight minutes away and decrease LCOE even faster than wind.

Some MSR companies aim to be paid to burn nuclear waste and thus reduce the huge costs associated with decommission and waste storage faced by the nuclear reactors that no longer can be operated with profits. All sorts of valuable materials incl. fuel for traditional nuclear reactors are possible side incomes for MSR's.

If their bullish technical milestones are met they need funding to decrease LCOE, to build a track record (lifetime, recycling, service, scramming risk, load follow capability) and to establish a complete value chain before fusion is a viable alternative to the low carbon competition. Thermal power plants use water with associated GHG emissions and water scarcity. REE usage is a separate problem.

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