This is a pretty heavy science article referencing cold fusion.
If you’ve got science speak – GO FOR IT!!!
This is a pretty heavy science article referencing cold fusion.
If you’ve got science speak – GO FOR IT!!!
A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a talk by Ed Moses from the National Ignition Facility (NIF https://lasers.llnl.gov/) about laser fusion technology entitled “Clean Fusion Power This Decade”. You can download and listen to an mp3 posted on the Long Now site here:
In the talk, he describes ignition occurring in the 02010-02012 range, with a prototype reactor ready by the 02020 range and I want to thank Dr. Moses for his work and effort to communicate that research.
I had been a fan of hot fusion technology for years before I knew that cold fusion was real. In 02002 I went to the San Diego fusion facility (https://fusion.gat.com/global/Home) for a teacher training and professional development workshop. I toured the tokamak and met lots of smart and extremely generous people, enthusiastic about a fusion energy future. I wish them, and the NIF, the best of luck in reproducing star-power. It would be a major achievement.
But listening to Ed Moses, and now knowing (since 2003) that cold fusion has the promise to bring a decentralized carbon-free energy source with a simpler technology than large hot fusion reactors, I had to respond more critically. He envisions 9+ billion people populating this planet, concentrated in mega-cities, those cities above a population of 10 million, “because that’s where the jobs are, that’s where culture is, that’s where centers of power are, and by the way, they are more energy efficient.” There are many points to make in response to that scenario, let me make just a few.
Feeding and finding the resources for an additional 4 billion people, the majority of which are concentrated in cities, is quite a challenge even in a future with fusion technology. The carrying capacity of this planet is debatable. But where are we now with planetary resources for six and one-half billion people?
The oceans have been over fished with many species on the brink of collapse. Water resources have been privatized planet-wide and are being rationed. In the last several decades, food production has expanded only because of fossil fuels and the cheap oil available to produce and transport these foods worldwide. The heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers derived from petroleum has reduced topsoil around the globe to “merely a sponge”, a dead layer that has the capacity only to soak up more chemicals.
When Dr. Moses claims that cities are “more efficient”, what does he mean? More efficient than what? It’s not clear how he measures this efficiency. As I understand it, large centralized populations need huge influxes of food shipped in from very long distances. The majority of these shipments come on trucks using petroleum diesel as most mega-cities, that I know of, have no local food production. Many who live in mega-cities have a poor standard of living, with little access to nature.
Many of these large mega-cities of the world have their water transported hundreds of miles, from places that are becoming resentful about sending their water out of their local area. Some mega-cities situated in desert climates have expanded their population by mining water, i.e. tapping into underground water pools left by the recent ice age. These communities will experience a drastic and sudden need for more water when these one-time resources disappear.
I also wonder what kind of jobs are available in the mega-cities of the future? Will there be a second renaissance in advertising and marketing? Are the centers of technological revolution going to be located in these mega-cities? Is that a trend we can identify now? Are technology companies with huge job openings choosing to locate in cities now?
To say “we are in a non-local society” is to miss the dynamic changes occurring right now. We are fast flipping to a local society, where food, water, and energy resources are all farmed, pumped, and created locally. Geo-political forces are emerging that challenge the hegemony of superpowers’ reach abroad.
I just don’t see large cities as apart of our positive future, mostly because of a world population argument. The population explosion is directly related to the oil age. Controlling populations who need food, water, and jobs seems like it would require a police state, a total loss of personal freedom, and plenty of chemical inundation.
Dr. Moses contends that “2030-2050 is where things start happening”. I submit that things are starting to happen now. Perhaps the NIF would be willing to consider the plethora of displaced auto workers, the newly released mid-level office managers from marketing departments, or the shrimpers and fishermen, as new hires for their multi-billion dollar facility. If not, then Houston, we have a problem. The lights are going out all around the world right now as electrical grids are beyond capacity, and we need food, water, and jobs, for an increasing number of people.
Fusion technology will create its own environment, a vastly different one, not merely extend this present system. The Long Now seeks to find paradigms that last on the order of thousands of years, and perhaps large metropolis’ will emerge in that time frame, but the next hundred years are going to be a major transition, and I can only see a positive future if Earth’s population is reduced, not increased.
Every new technology creates an environment of services and disservices. Cold fusion technology, with its simple structure, small, compact and portable would surely allow the freedom to live in a decentralized world, closer to nature, if one so chooses.
Hot fusion technology is great. I hope that the NIF finds the answer to ignition soon. I am excited about basic research in science and have always been particularly interested in the science of stars, energy, rocket propulsion and space exploration. But hot fusion has had its share of the funding pie, with good results. Isn’t it time to take a look at cold fusion, low-energy nuclear reactions, which has had just as astounding results without the “infusion” of funding? One could argue the results that low-energy nuclear reaction scientists have obtained is even more remarkable given the paltry funding on the order of millions of dollars, as opposed to the tens of billions that hot fusion has received.
When Dr. Moses describes a “sustainable, carbon-free, not geo-political, safe, modular, compact, relatively rapid development path”, that “uses our existing infrastructure” and “accepts evolutionary improvements”, he is describing the technology of cold fusion. Yes, “it is too good to be true”.
ACTION Let’s contact the Long Now and ask them to present a cold fusion scientist to discuss the future of energy in a de-centralized and local world. You can find their contact information here: http://www.longnow.org/contact/
Edmund Storms is a long-time researcher in nuclear physics and cold fusion science, formerly of Los Alamos National Laboratory. His most recent book is The Science of Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions: A Comprehensive Compilation of Evidence and Explanations about Cold Fusion published by World Scientific Publishing Company 2007.
This is a Q&A Dr. Storms.
Q: How much money has gone into cold fusion research in the US? worldwide?
A: Hard to tell because the money comes from different sources that don’t publish their accounting. l guess the total might be near five million dollars in the US. World wide expenditure is harder to guess but might be well over 10 times the US investment.
How do research labs in other countries go about getting their funding?
This depends on where the research is done. Universities generally have funds that can be spent on whatever the professor wants to study within reason. Government laboratories generally need to budget for the work. Private investors give money based on their personal interests. Cold fusion is funded just like all other research efforts. However, in this case, the money available for research is very small compared to most other efforts of similar importance.
How is the majority of funding procured in the US?
Most work in the US is either funded by private individuals or is part of larger programs funded by the government. Because of the negative history, direct funding of cold fusion by the US government was not possible until very recently.
What kind of cost to set up a cold fusion lab?
How much palladium is used annually in this research?
A study requires very little palladium. I have probably used no more than a few ounces in 21 years of work.
How much platinum is used annually in this research?
The platinum is not lost and is continuously reused.
Why is the Dept. of Energy not on board with this while the Naval Research facility actually gets results? Why doesn’t the science agencies of the federal gov have a coherent policy on this important issue?
The different agencies of the government are run by people having different skills and attitudes. The Navy has always been more creative than the DOE. The attitude of the DOE is gradually changing thanks to creative people being put in charge by the present administration.
How much money has gone into hot fusion research?
In the US, this investment has now exceeded 20 billion dollars and counting.
How long has hot fusion research gone on?
Serious work was started about 60 years ago.
What are some of the advancements made from hot fusion?
The method has achieved production of megawatts of power for brief times. Containment of the plasma has been mastered. However, many problems remain, not the least of which is whether the huge machine will be sufficient reliable and can actually pay for itself in the market place.
What is the probability of achieving energy production from hot fusion?
Energy can be made but the whether it will be practical, i.e. cost less than energy from other sources, is very unlikely.
Are there any results from hot fusion research that could in any way help the cold fusion research?
Money spent to achieve a goal such as hot fusion always generates basic understanding that can be put to other uses.
Is there a growing number of scientists doing research in cold fusion?
Yes, but growth is slow.
What is the number of scientists researching this technology?
This is hard to tell. The annual conferences attract about 175 people from all over the world. Perhaps the actual number working on the subject is twice this number.
Who is the furthest along in their research?
Japan followed by Italy, Russia, and China.
List the different avenues of research going on right now.
Which among them seems most promising? least promising?
Gas loading and gas discharge are most promising with electrolysis being the least promising.
How many years are we away from actual implementation of cold fusion as a source of energy for the public?
More than 10 years are required unless more money is applied and someone gets lucky in finding the necessary conditions.
How many dollars of research are we away from actual implementation of cold fusion as a source of energy for the public?
This is impossible to guess. Even hot fusion is not able to guess how much money would be required to make it work even though the process is basically understood. The cold fusion process is not yet understood.
Have petroleum or traditional fossil energy corporations been involved in cold fusion research in any way?
Occasionally these companies have looked at the process but lost interest when they could not make the process work at practical levels.
In what way do you think cold fusion will change the world?
Cold fusion would produce profound and basic changes in the world that are hard to even imagine. People had better change their ways before this source of energy is available because the effects will be huge. The discoveries being made over time have each had an increasingly large effect on how mankind lives and fights. First, there was fire, then creation of explosives, cheap steel, heavier than air flight, atomic fission, computers , mastery of the genome (life), and now the potential availability of cheap and unlimited energy. Each of these discoveries led to applications and uses that changed everyone’s lives. Cold fusion will be the most important in this series of discoveries and will have the greatest effect, both good and bad.
List some services of cold fusion.
Space travel within the solar system would be much easier.
List some disservices of cold fusion.
Initial destabilization of the world’s economies would occur.
Fight for resources could lead to another world war.
McLuhan’s Tetrad questions:
What’s cold fusion enhance?
It makes energy.
What does cold fusion make obsolete?
All other sources of energy.
What does cold fusion retrieve that was previously obsolesced?
Impossible to answer.
What does cold fusion flip into when pressed to an extreme?
The process that makes cold fusion work would also make possible the conversion of common elements into other more valuable elements. In other words, the claim of the Alchemists would be realized.
If you are in southern California this Saturday June 26, get down to the Long Beach Conference Center to hear a public lecture on cold fusion. From the press release:
(PRWEB) June 3, 2010 — The 17th Annual Natural Philosophy Alliance (NPA) announces its first free Public Science Day on Saturday June 26, 2010 at the UC Long Beach Pyramid Pointe Conference Center from 9 am to 6 pm during its 4-day conference starting June 23 at Cal State Long Beach. Independent scientists from around the world will be on hand for a day of experiments, demonstrations, thought provoking lectures, and comradery.
“…In the early afternoon Dr. Michael McKubre will answer the question “How Hot is Cold Fusion?” as he did when he appeared on 60 Minutes in April 2009…”
“The NPA’s full scientific conference takes place at UC Long Beach from Wednesday, June 23 through Saturday, June 26. Independent scientists from around the world have submitted over 100 technical papers, to be collected in a conference proceedings book, available to the public for $25. From 8:30 to 6:00, Wednesday through Friday, many of these scientists will present the ideas from their papers to an attentive audience of peers. Interested students may also register for the conference and hang out to discuss physics with the many presenters in the campus dorms.”
Also recent article by posted on The Examiner by Fred Burks touts cold fusion documentaries. Read this other voice for a changing paradigm:
Energy crisis: Top scientists show how to make oil obsolete in two powerful documentaries
by Fred Burks
There’s a recent petition making it’s rounds on the net, titling itself as “Demand Clean Energy”, relating the action to the attack on the gulf. People have been jumping all over this in light of the gulf disaster. Signing it, posting and re-posting to their facebooks, twitters, email lists and so forth.
But what exactly is “clean energy”? It sounds nice. Seems like it should make sense. But specifically what is supposed to suddenly stop all the drilling and allow us to power ourselves without petroleum?
Unfortunately reality doesn’t have anything to do with good intentions. When asked by most people what they believe the clean energy being proposed is, likely you will hear the stock alternative energy responses: Solar, wind, etc.
Why is it that people are still unaware that NONE of the stock clean energy alternatives, and NO combinations of the stock alternatives will be able to run what we are running now from oil?
It simply won’t work.
And this is old news. It’s been mentioned time and again from experts over the better part of the last decade. Yet the belief still exists that these will somehow work on large massive scales, that we have the time and resources to make this mass “flip of the switch” transition, and if we do it then in a few years we will all be driving around in electric cars.
This is how behind everyone is. Lacking in specifics and putting it all under a vague and unrealistic umbrella of “clean energy”.
It’s time to get real, get honest, and get specific. Start waking up to the realities of what won’t work on a massive scale, and the technologies that do actually have the potential to work on an enormous scale, and deserve the investment, willpower and push for immediate developments.
Yes, demand clean energy but be specific about it. Demand cold fusion now.