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How would abundant energy change the the game… ?

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  • Thu, Jan 12, 2012 - 11:51pm

    #1
    plato1965

    plato1965

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    How would abundant energy change the the game… ?

 

 I’ve noticed the LENR stuff, mainly thanks to Arthur Robey..  with a mixture of scepticism and intrigue.

 It’s getting slightly more mainstream when NASA features it..

 http://technologygateway.nasa.gov/media/CC/lenr/lenr.html

 Anyway.. let’s try a thought experiment..

 

 Let’s assume.. somehow.. someway… that cheap energy (thermal / electrical) is viable..

 

 How does that impact the liquid fuels (oil) problem, the economy and geopolitics long term.. ?

 How would the prospect of cheap energy influence the near future ?

 

  • Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - 11:02am

    #2

    Poet

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    My Quick Response

Transition time and cost – some 40 to 60 years to scale and spread globally if a crash program were implemented, $50 to $100 trillion in cost of labor and materials for new infrastructure (assuming no debt nor resource availability  nor weather-related nor civil unrest problems)

Debt problems not solved – massive debt, much of it tied to the infrastructure above (e.g. – loans to pay off the building of coal plants, etc.), limiting the above

Plastics, petro-chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers – still need fossil fuels

Population issues not solved – massive pressures in demographic trends (aging and costs in First World, growth in Developing World)

Natural resources depletion not solved – soil fertility, useable water, fish stocks, rare metals, minerals (phosphates, potash)

Clmate change – disruptions and costs and delays

Poet

 

  • Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - 02:37pm

    #3

    Jim H

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    Poet…

Were eCAT to actually work.. there is no reason this technology would take 40 years to spread… it’s just Hydrogen flowing over a bed of Ni in nanoparticle form… no rare earths… no huge resource drain… no CO2 created.  As envisioned, this thing would be able to spread much more quickly than you suggest… I would liken the potential spread to that of flat screen TV’s.    

That being said.. I remain deeply skeptical as well.  I plan to sit down with a nuclear physicist in my company soon to discuss in more detail – but everything I read, both technical commentary as well as the odd nature of the business plans being hatched.. leads me to believe this is snake oil.     

 

  • Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - 07:01pm

    #4

    Poet

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    Tasty Snake Oil, Yum Yum!

Jim:

You mean if it were actually to work, it would be that cheap in cost and resources, and so quick to manufacture, that a billion such units coujld be super-glued atop of existing cars, trucks, trains, boats, ships, and other fossil-fuel guzzlers… causing oil companies and oil-producing nations would cry big tears and go bankrupt and suffer revolution and regime change, respectively, within 10 years? Something like that?

Poet

Jim H wrote:

Were eCAT to actually work.. there is no reason this technology would take 40 years to spread… it’s just Hydrogen flowing over a bed of Ni in nanoparticle form… no rare earths… no huge resource drain… no CO2 created.  As envisioned, this thing would be able to spread much more quickly than you suggest… I would liken the potential spread to that of flat screen TV’s.    

That being said.. I remain deeply skeptical as well.  I plan to sit down with a nuclear physicist in my company soon to discuss in more detail – but everything I read, both technical commentary as well as the odd nature of the business plans being hatched.. leads me to believe this is snake oil.

  • Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - 07:33pm

    #5

    Jim H

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    Um… no

I am not as negative on the potential impact of technology as many here are… maybe because I work in high technology manufacturing (semiconductors) and I see how the hurdles are overcome.  I think your initial post is just full of exaggerations… for instance, we don’t have to completely replace oil to make a big difference, just begin replacing it with other forms of energy.  We are at (or slightly past) peak cheap oil, not about to run out tomorrow.  As well, I pointed out that this eCAT thing, were it to work (and I really don’t believe it will prove to work), actually does not use any rare earth metals or other hard-to-source materials… the biggest question to scaling would probably be Hydrogen infrastructure… but if the technology is beneficial enough, this can be done.   

Were eCAT to work, I could imagine a new generation of steam powered cars hitting the roads within a few years… and the entire fleet turning over in about 10-15 years given the huge cost incentive.  New industries would be spawned where companies would rip out the internal combustion guts of existing cars are replace them with eCAT drivetrains, retaining all other systems.  It’s a nice dream…but it’s not a dream because of the reasons you give.. it’s a dream because eCAT is most likely vaporware.     

  • Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - 11:36pm

    #7

    JAG

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    plato1965 wrote:How would

plato1965 wrote:

How would the prospect of cheap energy influence the near future ?

If the LENR stuff becomes viable, I’m sure we would be debating Peak Nickel…

  • Fri, Jan 13, 2012 - 11:40pm

    #6
    plato1965

    plato1965

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    implications…

” the biggest question to scaling would probably be Hydrogen infrastructure…”

 on site electrolysis ? Safer to generate H as needed rather than transport & store in bulk.

  If energy becomes a non-issue, then so does production of ammonia, plastics etc.. just use air and water to generate NH3 and CH4.. while sequestering CO2.. a double win.

 As far as not solving the debt crisis, a stable or growing physical economy would help back the current empty paper promises.

 yes, issues like depleting natural resources – soil, fish, minerals and overpopulation still stand.

 

Other impacts – renewables undercut, OPEC has a best before date..

  As far as the near term effects of the news, I was thinking of Bernanke’s paper where he mentions the alchemists’ dream come true and it’s effect on the gold price even before any great quantity is produced.

 Maybe Mr Rossi should be buying puts on solar companies and calls on Nickel miners.. =)

 The rest of us have an extra reason to collect nickels..

 

 Oh,  and in a case of life imitating art.. check out the plot of this film… spooky huh !

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Saint_%28film%29#Plot

 

  • Sun, Jan 15, 2012 - 06:47am

    #8

    Arthur Robey

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    Hoots of Laughter.

I did a little piece on the Ramifications of Cheap Energy for Ruby Carat.

The proof reader had to go I am afraid.

Basic thrust was that exponential growth would force our hand. There will be orders of magnitude more people living at the moon’s L4 and 5 at some not too distant future.

It has struck me as a bit odd that we recently “discovered” an object captured by one of the Legrange points. (Nah. Probably just a rock)

This is side crackingly funny when viewed from the bottom of the Gravity Well.

It is well to remember that laughter’s roots are in the “All Clear” signal of our Ape ancestors. The hoots they made were a response to decreasing threat levels.

 

  • Mon, Jan 16, 2012 - 01:46am

    #9

    Damnthematrix

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    More fizzer than fusion

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/energy-smart/20120114-1q0fv.html

IT WAS billed as a scientific breakthrough providing a clean-energy future for the planet. The poster that lured the good folk of Mullumbimby said: ”Hello clean, green, renewable, inexpensive cold fusion. You are invited to a public meeting.”

There was to be a Skype link-up to Italy with the physicist Andrea Rossi, who would explain how his E-cat machine could take a small amount of energy and turn it into lots of energy. Something for nothing.

It involved a reaction between atoms of hydrogen and nickel.

So about 100 Mullumbimby residents filed into the ex-services club on Friday night. The entrepreneur Dick Smith had offered to invest $200,000 if the physics was proven. He sent along a consulting aerospace engineer and sceptic, Ian Bryce, to assess the machine. In the hall were two screens, ready for the link-up.

Sol Millin, a local retiree and founder of The Byron New Energy Charitable Trust, spoke first, hoping to convince investors. But when it was time for the link-up, the phone didn’t ring. And it didn’t ring.

Mr Millin told The Sun-Herald: ”I thought it was better if Dr Rossi rang us. He is a very important man and a very busy man and I didn’t want to keep him waiting.” But they had their wires crossed, their timing out of sync. Each was expecting the other to call.

”I didn’t bother to blame him and he didn’t bother to blame me,” Mr Millin said. ”I was very disappointed – I was going to stand on the stage and talk directly to the inventor.”

Asked if he though Mr Smith would invest in the project, Mr Millin replied: ”Absolutely.”

Mr Bryce has advised Mr Smith otherwise. ”My view was that it was much too early to talk about investing. I have serious concerns about the
invention’s credibility and lack of sound scientific theory behind it.”

Mr Smith said: ”I said, get me some evidence and I will put some funding up, but they couldn’t even organise the timing for a Skype link-up. I am very suspicious of the whole thing. I am not holding my breath. I will keep my $200,000 in the bank.”

  • Mon, Jan 16, 2012 - 04:17am

    #10

    Damnthematrix

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    curiouser and curiouser…..

the latest from the Pure Energy Systems website:

http://pesn.com/2012/01/14/9602012_Momentous_Breakthroughs_Announced_During_Anniversary_E-Cat_Interview/

So as well as the 1 MW unit, there is also going to be a 10 KW unit for the home, and a robot-powered factory to make a million of them will be up and running within a year !

Already the design of the unit has changed – it will only contain one reactor core, and will not have a Hydrogen cylinder, but “a material that can absorb and release Hydrogen”. And the control systems are going to be entirely redesigned with assistance of National Instruments.

Not only that, but the steam temperature has been increased to 400°C. Presumably this would require a complete redesign of the turbine and the treatment of the exhaust which would still be at very dangerous temperatures (for the home at least). Oh yes, and they are going to change the gaskets used – to stop leaks. Leaks ? They never told us about those before !

How anybody can think they are going to get approvals for a home unit capable of producing 400° steam for six months and containing Hydrogen I don’t know.

And then here comes another feature out of left field. The reactor now included a radio frequency generator (never been mentioned before) which ” allows the forces that would normally prevent the fusion process from taking place (Coulomb forces) to work for you, and not against you.” The full theory of how the system works will be revealed, “soon,” he [Rossi] said.

So he has been busy – after announcing the 10 KW version, he has changed the number of reactors, the Hydrogen storage system, the turbine, the exhaust, the gaskets, and invented a radio frequency generator that overcomes Coulomb Forces.

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