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Will almost free energy be available in the near future?

There has been some debate in recent months between those who argue that in the near future -in months- there will be available on the market products based on “Cold Fusion” or “Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR).” Such devices would supposedly be able to produce energy at a very low cost. Specifically, there have been several public demonstrations of a device called “E-Cat” by an Italian entrepreneur named Andrea Rossi. Apparently there are several different research groups competing at the same time for bringing to market the first product based on this technology. Among them are Brillouin Energy, Francesco Piantelli, and others. Apparently even NASA is seriously considering the feasibility of the technology.

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69 comments

  • festipower says:

    The LENR research has been stigmatized since the cold fusion fiasco in 1989. In spite of this there have been very promising results since then and there are a lot of published scientific papers that seem to suggest that there is generated excess energy in some of the experiments. If this is true, it is not inconceivable that someone as Rossi could amplify the effect and achieve greater amounts of energy, usable on a commercial basis.

    Having inexhaustible energy (raw materials are small amounts of nickel and hydrogen), completely clean and inexpensive (about 1 cent of $ per kWh) produced by small devices that could even be placed at home or in the car, has huge implications from all points of view. It would probably be the greatest discovery in history.

    Some links:

    http://www.e-catworld.com
    http://www.mail-archive.com/vortex-l @ eskimo.com /
    http://nickelpower.org/

    • nehopsa says:

      NOT Rossi. I am betting my shoes and will eat them too. (It is another month now…by now everybody in the world should know he succeeded beyond any reasonable doubt – if he is taken by his so many times broken promisses: “in two or three months.”) Also NASA’s reactor should have been working at this time going by Rossi’s claims. It will never happen.

  • Vstoriguard says:

    It would be nice. But, I must confess, I’m cynical enough to doubt it. I distrust answers that seem to promise the moon and the stars in return for very little in return. As a rule, alas, the universe doesn’t seem to work that way.

    victor-storiguard.blogspot.com

  • boundlesslife says:

    Progress in PV (photovoltaic) conversion is phenomenol and could compete and replace fossile fuels as costs of extracting these continue to rise, helping to turn the corner on the CO2 (greenhouse) danger, but “free”? That could be more tied in with global food demand, collapsing economies in developed countries, and exploding populations in high productivity emerging countries.

    As global adjustments in exchange rates force prices up in the developing nations where most of the energy hunger exists, it might become more costly, not less, at least in the short term. Longer term, costs of energy might dwindle as peceived by individuals as they abandon biological bodies, live mainly in VR and manifest in physical reality via non-biological avatars of all kinds, but that transition could involve a lot o cultural trauma. More, at bioquagmire.com

  • Herbys says:

    Cheap yes, but free no.
    It could be close to free if it generated electricity directly. It it generates heat, for some minor uses (house and water heating) it might be almost free, but for lighting houses, moving industries, powering cars and making computers click it needs transformation from heat to electric, which is expensive. That is the main reason why the cost of producing electricity with different mechanisms such as nuclear, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric do not differ by orders of magnitude: the heat to electricity or movement to electricity conversion needs a significant amount of machinery that is expensive and requires maintenance.
    Still, it would make a huge difference to have something as efficient as nuclear but without the waste (or even better if the waste is useful copper).
    But I’m highly skeptic. The fact that the demos produced copper that has the same isotope ratios as natural copper smells very fishy to me.

  • Michal Strojnowski says:

    If energy became free on day, on the same day one crazy person would use 10^1000 J of energy to turn into plasma everything in existence.
    Therefore energy will never be free, neither on Earth nor anywhere else in the Universe.

    On the other hand, some amount of energy is free to everyone: sun is shining on every one of us, warm atmosphere gives us back our thermal energy which we carelessly emit, etc. Also, our civilization gives everyone a right to some amount of chemical energy for free (free food). We might increase this amount slightly, but energy is essential to our growth, so we will always give it to them who uses it most efficiently (i.e. we will sell it to the highest bidder).

    • why06 says:

      Pretty much this. If you think about it, even now energy is very cheap. What used to cost you a hundred men, food, and housing for all of them, now costs $3.50 a gallon?

    • BenG says:

      I am puzzled by the thought process that lead you to write the first two sentence in your comment,

      ‘If energy became free on day, on the same one crazy person would use 10^1000 J of energy to turn into plasma everything in existence.
      Therefore energy will never be free, neither on Earth nor anywhere else in the Universe….’

      Help me understand how the potential future actions of a hypothetical ‘crazy person’ who has figured out how to turn everything into plasma, holds sway over the possible course of events from this time forward (back here in the real world).

      Why would something be impossible just because it might result in the end of everything we believe to exist?

      …or have I misunderstood and are you suggesting something entirely different?

  • JadedIdealist says:

    If energy became cheap enough then we might be charged for it like we are charged for broadband use.

    That is on a powerline rental basis, perhaps with a cap.

    Near term? – we’ll get back to you on that one – I’m skeptical.

  • festipower says:

    Rumors & news are quickly unfolding…

    Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/markgibbs/2011/10/17/hello-cheap-energy-hello-brave-new-world/

    NyTeknik article and video of 10/28 test: http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/energi_miljo/energi/article3303682.ece

    Prof. Sergio Focardi: http://www.e-catworld.com/2011/10/new-video-from-ecat-com-features-sergio-focardi/

    Dr. George Miley Replication of Ni-H reactions: http://ecatsite.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/dr-george-miley-replicates-patterson-names-rossi/

    it appears that LENR exothermic reactions have been reported by a lot of scientific institutions in the world.

    • arpad says:

      Here’s the fly in the ointment.

      From the Forbes article:
      “The E-Cat is a simple device albeit with functioning that defies all known explanations.”

      I’d love to heat my house for the foreseeable future with a cup or two of water but extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

      The recent demonstration’s certainly a good step in the direction of extraordinary proof but throwing away “all know explanations” requires either newer, better explanations or working gadgets that are beyond error or fraud. That last still hasn’t occurred as much as I’d like to have.

      • invient says:

        The Forbes writer must have never heard of the Active Nuclear Enviorement Theory (Ed Storms, retired Los Alamos National Laboratory) and the Widom-Larson Theory…

        Both do not require any new physics to explain the phenomenon seen in experiments. Rossi has always said, once a patent is issued he will release his process and theory… the problem is the US patent office tends to dismiss anything LENR related because of 1989.

        Also, there is the 3rd part certification of the low temp e-cat by SGS… it does not necessarily prove anything than a working device.

  • VisIxR says:

    Far as I can tell rossi throws all the red flags of a hoaxer.

    • VisIxR says:

      what I mean is he doesn’t publish, he doesn’t patent, he just makes claims and does dubious demonstrations.

      • invient says:

        He would publish if he could get a patent… The patent office in the US is notorious for not issuing a patent for anything that resembles “cold fusion”… albeit they did issue NASA one.

        SGS has done a 3rd party certification on the low temperature e-cat… Not only that, but the same nickel + hydrogen reaction has been repeated multiple times, as well as the original Pd + D2O experiments using the SPAWAR co-deposition procedure.

  • Khannea Suntzu says:

    If we do the human species will be a lot more comfortable.

    IF WE DON’T we are headed straight for a dystopian scarcity nightmare.

    • VisIxR says:

      with the third option of renewable energy being created, but at a scarcity level that continues to drive a capitalistic marketplace, as there is now.

    • turtles_allthewaydown says:

      Agreed. I’ve spent a bit of time looking at petroleum trends and reserves, and while there’s still a lot of oil out there, it’s getting more and more expensive to find it and produce, particularly in the quantities we expect. Coal is being used in larger quantities, which is not good from a global warming perspective (or if you don’t like acid rain, mercury emissions, or want mountain tops and rivers to stay where they are). I’m guessing in 5 years people will realize global warming is a real problem after all, and the momentum will change, affecting coal in a big way.

      Natural gas is a bright spot, with fracking opening up large reserves that were previously unavailable, although they have to prove they’re environmentally safe. Natural gas itself burns cleaner than oil, gasoline or coal. But at the moment, it’s not used very much in transportation.

      So in the next 5-10 years, we’re facing a big energy crunch, particularly in transportation (petroleum), which of course affects all of the economy. Even if this LENR does work out, how many years would it take to roll this out in numbers big enough to affect our energy usage patterns? And could it be used quickly for transportation? That would probably require electric vehicles, which are currently a tiny percentage of the fleet. Again, something that will take years to make a sizable dent in our consumption patterns.

      I’m not too optimistic.

  • Sunshine2047 says:

    Free energy, it depends on what do you mean by “free”. From the cost side, free can mean zero marginal cost, or zero average cost. From the demand side free can mean literally energy for free, zero electricity bill. From the economics point of view, zero marginal cost energy do exist, most renewable sources which require no fuel: solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric energy have almost zero unit marginal cost once the infrastructure is being installed. In this sense, “free energy” already exists. However, free energy in the sense of zero electricity bill may not be possible in the foreseeable future, the reason is simple: even for energy that comes “free” in the form of sunlight, the infrastructure upfront is non-zero, and the later maintenance and upgrade cost is definitively non-zero. Therefore, in order to recover initial investment and continuous operation of the plant, money needs to be charged from users. Of course, as the technology matures we do expect the capital cost to come down as efficiency increase and production cost decrease.However, as long as the electric plant needs resources to build and those resources do not come free, sorry, no zero electricity bill is possible.

  • The Balls of Einstein says:

    There already is free energy available. Ever heard of the sun? It’s up there in the sky.

    That’s why is warm quite often.

    Duh.

  • nehopsa says:

    I will believe it after I see it. If somebody comes with it I bet my shoes it is NOT Rossi. If you take a little time yourself to familiarize with what I available on the net about this guy you will have to come to a conclusion there is NOTHING to expect. This person has a history of fraud. He is a demonstration of how a scam artist works: you will see a “physicist” who is really not one promising blue sky – a commercial power-plant producing 1 MW power using his technology for near free or other similar miracle – in JUST two to three months. It is always the NEXT three months. Then come delays and then nobody asks anymore. When competent people ask uncomfortable questions they are attacked ad persona. NASA? Really??! Just w a v e s.

    But hey…I will be more than happy if I get some “free energy” soon. Let me know when it happens.

  • OkinKun says:

    I’d say that in 20 years or so, we’ll start to see energy become cheap and plentiful, to the point where most people consider it virtually free. (Of course I’m also hopeful we’ll eventually see wireless internet virtually free too.)

    I think there are plenty of promising factors for Solar and Wind and the like, as those get better. And even Nuclear has it’s place, alternative reactors like those for Thorium might be a big advance. Oh, and what about that Fusion reactor, eventually those might work.

    Also, maybe by that time oil will start running out.. I think we’ll need a push like that, to move to alternative power sources. =/

    • turtles_allthewaydown says:

      For energy to be “virtually free” including transportation energy, there needs to be a few key breakthroughs.

      There’s pressure against nuclear with the recent Japan blowup, and against dirty coal (don’t let the ‘clean coal’ ads on TV fool you, there is no such thing as clean coal in actual practice today!). Oil will not get cheaper (why we don’t use natural gas for vehicles is beyond me, much better than BEV). Renewables can be increased, but it’s not a panacea with current technology. Hydroelectrical dams are the main source of renewable electric power, and they’re not nearly as environmentally friendly as they said in the 70’s, so that is unlikely to grow much except in China. Wind and solar make up maybe 2% of our electrical generation currently. Solar thermal has some protection against bad weather & nighttime (24 hours or so), but otherwise they’re subject to fluctuating supplies & require a revamp of the grid to move power around dynamically if they are to be a major player.

      Energy supply is what I see as the main drag on the pace of technology improvement and widespread adoption. All those robots are gonna be expensive to make.

      • hudi124 says:

        I think you are underestimating how large a role solar will play in the future. Solar panels have been doubling in efficiency every two years, and if this trend continues for just 16 more years, it could mean a renewable supply of energy that would fill all our projected energy needs.

        • turtles_allthewaydown says:

          Doubling in efficiency? I don’t think so! Our manufacturing capacity might be doubling in that time, but not the efficiency. Real world efficiency is still below 30%, and inching upwards. Every now and then there’s talk of a radical new approach (3d structures for instance), but I haven’t seen anything hit the marketplace yet.

          • Panpiper says:

            He’s not talking about conversion efficiency, he’s talking about cost to output efficiency. Imagine if you will roof panels in the 20% conversion efficiency range that cost not much more than aluminium siding and battery technology that is both ten time more efficient ‘and’ ten time less expensive than it is today. You would have a situation in which mainline grid could indeed be provided through photovoltaics at a competitive price.

  • Jan Doeschot says:

    Rossi is clearly a crackpot. Completely free energy won’t exist as long as we have a market economy. I do believe that if photovoltaic conversion comes closer to 100% and production of cells is scaled up we could be looking at a cheap initial investment (solar cells) after which energy will be free as long as one produces as much as one uses. Energy could even be a source of income if more is produced than used. The surplus can be sold back to energy companies.
    Transport won’t be an issue because production is decentralized. Depending on usage people will be net consumers or net producers of energy and will consequently pay for or earn from energy produced.

    • turtles_allthewaydown says:

      The best they can do with photovoltaics is 28% (recently achieved under laboratory conditions). Far more common 15-20% for silicon PVC, 10-15% for thin-film technologies. Thin-film is less efficient, but it’s cheaper and $/watt is really the benchmark to look at. No matter what, it’s still an expensive proposition, and you need a backup for the cloudy days. That’s why a new smart grid that can ship electricity hundreds of miles from sunny areas to cloudy areas (which can change from day to day) is still going to be an important investment in our future. Windmills, geothermal, nuclear and fossil fuels (hopefully primarily natural gas) will also be in our future for a long time.

    • festipower says:

      Yes… Rossi may be a crackpot, but what about:

      -The US NAVY SPAWAR LENR researc, claiming that LENR is real.
      -Mike McKubre of SRI International.
      -Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist of NASA Langley, who says that LENR is one of the most promissing future energy sources.
      -George Miley, University of Illinois, who is presenting a LENR RTG energy generator for NASA.
      -Robert Godes of Brillouin Energy, who claims to have a LENR technology ready for comercial use, validated by Los Alamos & SRI.
      -Praxen Defkalion Green Technologies, claiming that have a truly revolutionary LENR technology.
      -Francesco Piantelli and Nichenergy.
      -Francesco Celani, National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Frascati National Laboratories
      -The element transmutation LENR experiments of Mitsubishi and Toyota.
      -The Arata Cold Fusion experiments.
      -Prof Igor Goryachev, Kurchatov Institute (Russia)
      -ST Microelectronics LENR research team.
      -Thermacore LENR experiments.
      – ETC, ETC…

      There is A LOT of evidence that sugest that LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions) are real.
      it is incredible how dogmatic science has been discriminating this research field when there is so much evidence suggesting that it is totally legitimate. Someday doctors Fleischmann and Pons will receive the Nobel Prize for their contributions to science, but nothing will compensate them for the injustice to which they were subjected since 1989.

      It is I Think that a HUGE technological revolution is about to begin.

      • Jan Doeschot says:

        I never said LENR was impossible. I just find it suspect that if this technology is “the real deal” (which means “full blown Cold Fusion no strings attached)there isn’t more exposure. This should be headlining every major paper and newsreel world wide. Cold fusion always sounded like a perpetuum mobile to me but hey maybe I’m just not informed enough. I hope I’ll be eating my words by 2013 but I think that by the time they will have figured out to gain SIGNIFICANT ENOUGH amounts of energy from the cold fusion process, solar will have become mainstream and capable enough to meet most of our needs.

    • Bento says:

      Dear Jan,
      I agree, free energy doesn’t exist but abundande, cheap an d clean energy is, with the name of LENR.
      I agree there are some things against the credibility of Andrea Rossi and his Ecat. It doesn’t help the research.
      On E-catworld.com you can find a video on a recent post, about Professor Peter Hagelstein from MIT(a LENR conference in Torino, Italy), after minute 52 of the video you can see him talking about the data of their LENR device. Pleace take some time to look into it. It’s difficult to not trust Professor Hagelstein. It would be nice to convince an inteligent person like yourself that LENR is real and working.I understand your scepticism. It is too good to be true that is why it’s so hard to believe. Thanks, Bento.

      • festipower says:

        well said, Bento.

        Professor Peter Hagelstein KNOWS that LENR is real, and says it.

        … And He says other incredible things, like that some prominent professor in the phisics department of MIT, has arrive to the point of intimidate some companies that had contacted him with the aim of fund his research. This says a lot about how the dogmatic scientifics can prevent the progress of science and what has happened to the LENR field in the last two decades.

        Please, see: http://e-catsite.com/2012/05/07/mit-physicist-nixes-cold-fusion-funding/

        • Bento says:

          Thanks for the link(hadn’t seen it yet) and the support. It’s not easy to convince people as you know. It’s almost like believing in UFO’s or a Yeti.

      • Jan Doeschot says:

        Dear Bento, the comments on this subject have interested me sufficiently to look further into this. I still remain sceptic however. It has too many elements of conspiracy hanging around it. To me if a revolutionary technology REALLY works, there is no stopping the information coming out. Again, I hope I’m wrong.

  • Kevin Estes says:

    Between LENR and Solar and research into cheaper ways of breaking hydrogen off from H2O: it seems likely that cheap and untethered energy will arrive around the turn of the next decade. I don’t know but I strongly suspect that nanomaterials will greatly increase solar efficiency.

  • Bento says:

    Interesting evolution on the LENR front: a reader from e-catworld.com had a visit and an interview with Professor Peter Hagelstein(MIT), soon a video of the LENR device will be posted too. The comment on skeptisism by Professor Hagelstein is interesting. Thanks.

    • festipower says:

      Hello, Bento. It is encoraging that the scientists working in a field so significant are open to receive the public and inform them about their experiments.

      Regarding skeptisism, I think that it is totally necessary, but with an open mind, and without dogmatism; humbly accepting that we don’t know everything.

      It is inconceivable that using the excuse of healthy skepticism an entire branch of science is irrationally condemned to ostracism simply refusing to consider the facts. That’s not skepticism. That is fanaticism.

      On the other hand, it is rumored that David Nagel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Nagel) and Michael Melich (DOD?) have recently been testing the Hyperion device of Defkalion Green Technologies. If this is true and they have validated Defkalion’s claims, then it seems very likely that we will hear a lot about this company in the future.

    • nehopsa says:

      …so by now the Greeks should be repaying their national debt/saving on their energy outlays with abundance of free energy. The first commercial free energy power plant licensed by Rossi was supposed to be running since October 2011 in Greece. Do you see any signs of that happening? Can you see anywhere two inch headlines like “the Greeks flush with unlimited amount of free energy” “Coming soon to you” …and similar???

  • nehopsa says:

    Let us wait. My offer that “I bet my shoes and eat them too” if Rossi (!) delivers on his grand promises is still valid. I am considering a little trouble eating problematic food a very good deal given the happiness free LENR would give me – IF REAL.

    I have been waiting since January 2011 – the first time I learned he is on the verge of demonstrating a major breakthrough “withing next two months.” Still waiting. He is a major crook.

    About “fanaticism” …as of now, it is rather common sense. If it were real it is in the headlines. Instead it is being peddled almost like a penis enlargement – also not real. (Please do not start selling me the second thing here now ;-)

    • Bento says:

      Well, maybe this can help :)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtZTIwSIuGw
      I like your humor, we will see, I am an ‘agnostic’ concerning the Ecat. There is something, LENR is real, that’s for sure, but Rossi: I don’t know, I hope so.

    • turtles_allthewaydown says:

      Nehopsa – As you know, science was badly burned on this subject before. It’s a pretty extraordinay claim, so until they have extraordinary proof, I imagine any reasonable researcher is going to stay low on this thing (Rossi might not fall into that category).

      So I’m not going to rule it out, but I’m certainly not going to bet on it happening in the short term. And commercial hot fusion isn’t going to happen anytime soon either. So I’m keeping my Prius and looking at energy efficiency codes on refrigerators and the like.

  • Bento says:

    The video I mentioned before from the vist to MIT professor Peter Hagelstein is posted on http://www.e-catworld.com. It looks great.

  • jagkaurah@gmail.com says:

    What about blacklight? They claim on their website that they have already licensed several power companies.

    See
    http://www.blacklightpower.com/technology/ciht-cell/

    • Panpiper says:

      It’s hard to see how they would have licensed their technology to ‘several’ power companies when they also state on their web site; “The goals are a 100 W unit in 2012 and a 1.5 kW unit by 2013.”

      With some chagrin, I must admit to having gotten a bit excited several years ago by Blacklight, when they announced that they were almost “ready to ship” commercial units, within months. (I got freaking ecstatic in 1989, and then really deflated after.) It seems these claims of immanent deployment are endemic to at least many in the LENR community. I still remain somewhat hopeful, but I am way past letting myself get excited. I will allow myself excitement when I see actual units not just for sale, but purchased and functioning.

  • mariusz says:

    Why some people are skeptic when it comes to cold fusion, but are optimistic when it comes to regular fusion is beyond me. Similar claims, similar results so far.

    • Gauss156 says:

      Nuclear fusion the way it is being done at ITER is backed by much more research than “cold fusion” ever was. The former is still hypothetical. At this point it would probably be better to just figure out a way to harness antimatter; the payoffs would be much better, and it will have application to spacecraft as well. (‘Manufacturing’ the stuff is the real problem!)

    • festipower says:

      … But dissimilar funding levels and potential benefits…

  • Gauss156 says:

    To answer the question simply and directly: no.

  • festipower says:

    The world has invested in Hot Fusion HUNDRED OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS and to this day that huge amount of money hasn’t been able to reach breakeven. Even in the case that the ITER is able to reach COP>1, it will be almost impossible to deploy a competitive power station using a TOKAMAK at least for 50 years if ever. The TOKAMAK is uneconomical. It is too bit, too late!!. There are other Hot Fusion projects underway (Polywell, NIF…) but they seem to be a lot of time and efforts away from generating useful amounts of energy, if it is possible at all.

    On the other hand, the world has invested in Cold Fusion/ LENR very little money to this date, and there is a lot of evidence that COP > 1 has been reached in a lot of experiments. Its popularity is growing by the day even in the mainstream science, and the claims are more promising each day. This form or energy has the potential to change the world beyond recognition, because:
    – Would be inexhaustible.
    – Should be very cheap (only uses as fuel minute quantities of Hydrogen and Nickel or some other transition metal, and the reactors are very simple.)
    – Would be totally clean. No CO2, No radiation…
    – Would be totally scalable. Could power from nanorobots and nanoelectronics to planes and spaceships, including our houses and cars and everything in between.
    – The technology could be very easy to develop, implement and proliferate.

    So No comparison possible between Hot and Cold fusion if Cold Fusion works as it seems.

    PD: Please follow the Cold Fusion/LENR subject and investigate it!

    • melis256 says:

      Thing is, it doesn’t even have to be a metal (like nickel or any transition metal).
      The cathode just have to be able to become well electrically charged and have a 50nm lattice structure to compliment the stimulation frequency.
      Think carbon nanotubes for example.

  • SaintWells says:

    Free energy , that is pretty relative , and applicable to those who deem to preserve , yet the moment something is free , waste becomes a natural by-product . Have you ever noticed the waste and abuse of water / electricity / resources in the school / company / industrial environments by those who preserve the same at home to save on the bills .
    Once we can cut the heating bills ( cooking and hygiene incl. ) The balance is lighter to bear , led technology and many more low consumption devices could then put a better perspective towards the storage and application of solar energy.

  • invient says:

    While everyone is focusing on Rossi… if you believe his claims / his presentations / and math… a reliable long term reaction can be sustained with a COP of up to 12, and a short term reaction can be sustained with a COP up to 200…

    Now, feast your eyes on this….
    http://coldfusionnow.org/iraj-parchamazad-lenr-with-zeolites/

    If Parchamazad’s colleague is correct in his math it would mean generating 1 MW / g of material which in this case is Pd. At the current market price of about $24.00 / g and with the average house hold energy use at about 12,000 kWh… lets overestimate and say 24,000 kWh, thus a power consumption of 2.74 kW… 1 MW/2.74 kW = 364.96 days ….

    in other words, your energy bill becomes $24.00 per year ….. now imagine if he could get the same result with zeolite loaded with nickel… nickels current market price is about $0.02 …. life-time energy costs < $2.50

    Experimental to market is a difficult path, but I sure do enjoy imagining the possibilities.

  • spirulina says:

    What about the US Navy advanced research lab’s new hydrogen power generators that can generate electricity for ships using sea water – making hydrogen and then electricity. That is the kind of technology I can see having a huge impact for everyone!

  • Stephen Green says:

    Your kidding right. I mean, do you think that the big energy producing companies we have with us today are just going to go away..! Uh huh. Nope. Don’t know what your smoking these days but you should share it..

    • MarcusAurelius says:

      So are you saying that because energy companies have a vested interest in staying relevant that they will keep control over the worlds energy options and we won’t see any advances whatsoever?

      That sounds disturbingly like communism. I think you should read up on the current global market and basic capitalism 101. If a breakthrough is made it can profoundly shake everything up. Otherwise the combustion engine would be sitting in the back paddock of Farmer Johns stable. And the horse industry would of seen a boom instead of a bust because of the advent of cars.

  • Robert Schreib says:

    Well, if you want unlimited energy, technically, we could do that already, using windpower and superconductive powerlines. A recurring theme in the wind industry is that, if we installed vast arrays of windmill farms in the windy and isolated American midwest, we can then export the electricity that they make using supercooled powerlines, which is a long-established hardware already made by an American Superconductor company. Ideally, we could install a small ‘Power Pipeline’ and a few windmill farms like this, and then keep rolling over the profits from selling that power into expanding that network and superconductive powerline conducts. If the Nanotechnology scientists ever create a cheap, room-temperature superconducting power cable out of say, Graphene, we would be doing this already! Also, the wind industry is developing new types of flying windmills, which can make even more electricity by exploiting the greater wind power of high altitude winds, sending the juice down to Earth through mile-long kitelines. If they perfect those devices, we could rig Navy fuel tankers with a system that converts carbon dioxide (we have an infinite supper of such CO2 from our coal burning electric power plants) and sea water and electricity into jet fuel, which was invented by the U.S. Naval Laboratory for their aircraft carriers. That setup used electricity from the carrier’s nuclear power plant, but we could use the unlimited electricity from these flying windmills in this way to make jet fuel in the near future. Also, putting the tanker’s jet fuel making factory out in the middle of the oceans, would enable us to use these high-flying windmills without endangering aircraft and avoiding the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard!) people.

    • turtles_allthewaydown says:

      Robert – one question:
      How do supercool a powerline? They run for hundreds of miles out in the open. This would require a whole lot of insulation, probably be too stiff to bend in the wind, and probably require a whole new set of towers to hold up the line and and cooling equipment.
      Not saying it can’t be done, but would it really be cost-effective? Even installing windmills sure isn’t free.

      I’m with you on the high-flying windmill, I think there’s a lot of promise there. Not sure about converting CO2 and water into jet fuel, I would think methane or butane would be easier to produce, but I haven’t read the research you’re referring to.

      • Robert Schreib says:

        Well, the American Superconductor website details how they do it, they have such superconducting pipelines in New York already, using liquid nitrogen supercooling Aluminum cables so they have not elelctrical resistence for less power lost to resistence, and zero EMF, electroMagnetic Force static hurting the airways. It’s the ENORMOUS COST of this setup that is the stubmling block to setting it up in midwest windmill farms and elsewhere. If we even perfect room temperature superconductors and make it cheap, we would be doing something like this.

  • jg says:

    Governments in the western world have invested significant amounts of money and vast amounts of political capital into the idea that we should conserve energy because energy is a scarce resource. In a dozen different ways they have developed this message in a way that has allowed them significant control over every viable large source of energy production (try doing anything in energy without a permit or environmental impact study) and over every significant source of energy consumption (green building rules, etc).

    Given the zero-sum nature of political power, it is unlikely that any technology making energy really cheap and really-not-scary is going to see the light of day. You have to ask yourself why, for example, thorium based fission is such a non-starter.

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