Initial Responses

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:55 pm

kttopdad,

Very nice. Esp the gazinters and the gazoutas. I have seen that graph before and have found it very useful.

One of the reasons I love hanging out here is that there are a lot of very smart people working on this. Smart people are more fun.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

JohnP
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Postby JohnP » Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:35 am

Maybe this was already mentioned, but how about the effect of BFR on Canadian tar-sand mining? That could drive the cost of petroleum down. Also, using BFR as a steam generator to pump more petroglug out of the wells.

scareduck
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Postby scareduck » Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:10 am

Working fusion devices would make it cheaper to extract the extra-heavy gunk remaining in a *lot* of old reservoirs, first because you could heat the reservoir cheaply, and second because you could generate a stream of cheap H2 to upgrade it with. (According to some estimates I've read, 2/3rds of the oil in reservoirs remains in place even after the well is exhausted by conventional means.) The question in my mind is whether it would be cheaper to do that or extract CO2 from the atmosphere.

kttopdad
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Postby kttopdad » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:01 am

TallDave wrote:
I suspect that if the BFRs prove out, then the discussion of any type of ethanol production is moot. Ethanol production is designed to offset petro-products in the transportation sector. With inexpensive energy, the drivers for this offset are reduced.
...
If electricity is inexpensive, the marketplace will produce batteries to support electric-powered transportation.


I can see why you might think so, but the situation is quite the opposite in fact. Electricity is not the major cost of a battery, but can be the primary cost in the conversion of biomass to liquid fuel. Even were that not true, liquid fuels are not going away, because they have tremendous utility relative to batteries in many situations.


Electricity may not be the major cost of a battery, but comparing biomass conversion to battery construction is an apples-to-tomatoes comparison.

Electricity and ethanol are both fuels that need to be distributed to the end-user (cars and trucks). If battery technology improves by an order of magnitude (likely in the next 20 years), then I see very little need for a large liquid fuel infrastructure. Distribution of electricity is easier and the infrastructure more flexible. There would be a need for liquid fuels for off-the-grid applications like mining, forestry, etc., but direct transportation use of BFR-generated electricity is "better" than conversion of that electricity (plus biomass) into ethanol. For the 99.99% of daily transportation needs, electricity will win the day within a few decades of BFRs coming on-line.

I suspect you're right in stating that liquid fuels are not going to go away entirely because they're useful in some applications. However, I believe that 1) their importance will wane dramatically within a few decades of BFRs coming on-line, 2) the petroleum infrastructure will be able to meet all of those liquid fuel needs cheaply since supply will (under that scenario) again be more plentiful than demand and 3) investors will shy away from investing in ethanol if BFRs come on strong because of the reduced need for liquid fuels and the reduced need to curb greenhouse gases.

However, my crystal ball is made of plastic and has poor reception. I'm going to enjoy living through the next 10 years - so many questions are going to be answered.

My grandfather (1892-1975) once told me that he figured he'd lived through the most amazing period of human history that one man could experience. He went from horse-and-buggy as the primary mode of transportation to seeing men on the moon. That is a mind-boggling statement, but I think I'm going to do him one better. I was born in 1964 (pre-Apollo), and if BFRs are a reality then I am likely to see mankind populate another planet before I die. From a billions-of-years isolation of Life on this one planet when I was born to a multi-planet species before I die. This is a great period to be alive. Whee! :)
Last edited by kttopdad on Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TallDave
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Postby TallDave » Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:09 pm

Electricity may not be the major cost of a battery, but comparing biomass conversion to battery construction is an apples-to-tomatoes comparison.


Sure, the battery doesn't replace liquid fuel so much as it replaces the internal combustion engine. But in either case the important factor is going to be overall cost, so the primary cost driver for the tech is the paramount issue, as the consumer just wants to get from point A to point B as cheaply as possible (all else being equal).

If battery technology improves by an order of magnitude (likely in the next 20 years),


Anything's possible, but we heard the same thing in the 1980s. It's true the distribution network is vastly better, but chemical batteries have a lot of problems that combustion engines don't.

Of course, with $4 gas they start to look a lot better.

My grandfather (1892-1975) once told me that he figured he'd lived through the most amazing period of human history that one man could experience.


And he was right -- at the time. But the next 50 years will likely see changes unthinkable 50 years ago. If you haven't read it already, you might pick up Ray Kurzweil's book The Singularity Is Near if such things interest you.

Roger
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Postby Roger » Thu Feb 28, 2008 4:26 pm

TallDave wrote:
If battery technology improves by an order of magnitude (likely in the next 20 years),


Anything's possible, but we heard the same thing in the 1980s.


Going from lead acid to nickel metal hydride is what sort of improvement in performance?

Bringing charge times down from 12 hours to 1 hour should count for something... no ?
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.

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Postby MSimon » Thu Feb 28, 2008 4:49 pm

Roger wrote:
TallDave wrote:
If battery technology improves by an order of magnitude (likely in the next 20 years),

Anything's possible, but we heard the same thing in the 1980s.


Going from lead acid to nickel metal hydride is what sort of improvement in performance?

Bringing charge times down from 12 hours to 1 hour should count for something... no ?

The difficulty (assuming battery improvements) comes with the 5 minute charge. The electrical infrastructure would be daunting. Going from 8 hours to 1 hour (for auto size loads) already means 64X as much copper for the same losses.

"Overnight" charging makes a lot of sense. Trying to put 100 KWh into a battery - even in one hour is a lot of energy. At 220 volts it amounts to a 450 Amp load - probably requiring 700 or 1,000 amps rated service.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

scareduck
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Postby scareduck » Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:42 pm

MSimon wrote:"Overnight" charging makes a lot of sense. Trying to put 100 KWh into a battery - even in one hour is a lot of energy. At 220 volts it amounts to a 450 Amp load - probably requiring 700 or 1,000 amps rated service.

Which is why this will likely end up with megavolt feeds. Which is why home-charging isn't likely to happen. Which is why the initial work that's been done claiming PHEVs will have little to no effect on the grid is untrue.

Roger
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Postby Roger » Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:50 pm

I used to charge 1500 maH Ni-cads in under 20 minutes



I dont know how long the new Li poly pacs take to charge, but the same size Ni-cad was 1500maH, while the new li-poly's are 4400maH. I believe charging times have been reduced, though even if charging times are the same, thats a 3 fold improvement over 8 yrs, 1500maH /4400maH.


scareduck wrote: Which is why home-charging isn't likely to happen. Which is why the initial work that's been done claiming PHEVs will have little to no effect on the grid is untrue.


Right, they will have to suffice with a 100 or 200 amp service, and the overnight trickle charge which wont cut it. Unless you charge your car for a week.....

MSimon wrote: probably requiring 700 or 1,000 amps rated service.


AS late as 15 yrs ago I would occasionally see a home with the old 30 amp service..... OUCH.
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.

rj40
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Oil

Postby rj40 » Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:29 am

However it is done, I think we need to get off imported oil ASAFP. Every time I put gas in the car, I feel like a very small part of my money ends up as shrapnel in some Marines leg or hurts some Iraqi kid. It may even kill the chance for some Iranian college student to speak her mind. I know everything is connected, but cutting off oil revenue to the land of the Middle Ages would be very good indeed.

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Postby MSimon » Sat Mar 01, 2008 1:41 am

Roger wrote:AS late as 15 yrs ago I would occasionally see a home with the old 30 amp service..... OUCH.


When I was 13 my summer job was installing room air conditioners and fixing TVs.

Some of the people were so poor. We couldn't figure out why they wanted AC. I saw lots of 30 Amp service (1957). It was often a problem when the AC drew 12 amps plus the starting surge.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

scareduck
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Re: Oil

Postby scareduck » Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:19 am

rj40 wrote:However it is done, I think we need to get off oil ASAFP.

Fixed.

Roger
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Postby Roger » Sat Mar 01, 2008 6:21 am

MSimon wrote: I saw lots of 30 Amp service (1957). It was often a problem when the AC drew 12 amps plus the starting surge.


I think when 30 amps was the new standard, a toaster was the big draw, LOL.
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.

sd_matt
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Postby sd_matt » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:52 am

What about hydrogen and fuel cells?

How cheaply would the Polywell have to make electricity to make hydrogen competitive with fossil fuels?

GIThruster
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Postby GIThruster » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:26 pm

Right now, hydrogen is generally taken from methane, so using hydrogen is still using a fossil fuel. If you had enough cheap energy, you could make a habit of stripping water for H2, which I imagine was your interest? Just note this is much more expensive than getting H2 from methane.

I can't answer your question except to say that H2 is hardly an ideal source of motive power. It's damned dangerous. If you think the reasons for not allowing propane through things like tunnels are good reasons, imagine an economy powered by H2.

At least the cyclists would have a couple easy ways in and out of NYC, as no one would be using the Lincoln and Holland. . .

Rather, it looks like electric cars are going to make their way this coming year. There are lots of batteries and still some caps to hope for.
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