with Peter Sinclair
Thanks for featuring this excellent and interesting CBS clip on marine energy in Scotland. That industry has been in the doldrums recently, but there is much too much energy in our oceans for maritime nations to ignore as a potential power source. More good news from the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald (Germany). Fusion research is getting quiet mature and looks very promising for yet another non carbon source. Plenty of non carbon options to choose from now, no excuse for our continued use of our very thin, vulnerable and shared atmosphere as a gas garbage tip.
“A German nuclear fusion experiment has produced a special super-hot gas which scientists hope will eventually lead to clean, cheap energy.
The helium plasma – a cloud of loose, charged particles – lasted just a tenth of a second and was about one million degrees Celsius.
It was hailed as a breakthrough for the Max Planck Institute’s stellarator – a chamber whose design differs from the tokamak fusion devices used elsewhere.”
“There are two doors. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car. Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast.
I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for one hour. You cannot turn off the engine. You do not get a gas mask.”
– quotes by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Sp Cor – quite (fusion plants may also be quiet – not sure)
Ok. there is still no fusion reactor that is close to producing a consistent over parity reaction over several tens of seconds. That goal is at least 10 and more likely 20 years away. This has been the normal situation for fusion research since the 1950s, a true over parity reactor is always at least 10 to 20 years away.
Assuming that has been achieved and is not just the hype of fusion scientists the design will have to be reworked to allow safe extraction of the heat energy without interfering with the functioning of the reactor. That will take about 5 years. Next it will have to be made more robust so that it can function for several tens of years with minimal maintenance; that will take at least another 5 – 10 years.
Then a production design will have to be produced, sites chosen for construction, approval for construction and then construction itself. Depending on the country where it will be built that will take at least 8 – 15 years.
This means that a working commercial fusion reactor is between 28 to 50 years in the future.
By that time large solar, wind, tidal and possibly wave energy extraction together with advances in storage (probably battery and hypercapacitor) will have done away with the need for antiquated dinosaurs like a fusion plant.
LOL Yes, it always seems that success is always “10 or 20 years away”. My college introductory Atomic and Nuclear Physics class took a field trip to Princeton around 1960 to see the Stellarator(s), and we were told exactly that—55 years ago.
We can’t afford to wait to cross that goal line that never gets any closer, and should instead take a proven technology—nuclear fission—and use that in the mix until the renewables can catch up.
I read an Al Jazeera report that Donald Trump woos working class whites who want to be proud again. Don’t believe a word of it at all, I come from a working class “white” background and we are just not like that, anywhere in the world. Cut the politics, cut the crap, the technology is good. The technology will work. Time to say bye bye to fossil fuel.
Tidal/wave power is quite important in the plans of Jacobson and Delucchi, and receives very little press. Would love to hear more about it, as it seems very promising indeed.
Underwater turbines, at first blush, seems fraught with problems, but I imagine these fellows know what they about. One would think that wave power would be easy to exploit:
a plastic ball is buoyantly raised by a wave, thus doing work. As the wave goes down, the ball is retrieved by gravity. Seems infinitely scalable, pretty simple.
But, evidently, it is not so simple. However, the biggest problem is lack of research funding.
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