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April 07, 2008

Comments

glasater

TM--I would like to suggest that Kim (who comments here) have a sit down with Senator McCain and explain the facts of carbon emission to him.

One quibble I have with the good Senator is his position on Anwar and someone needs to disabuse him of those notions.

Daryl Herbert

Should we expect a correction from the NYT?

1 - it's an opinion column, so no.

2 - Krugman is badmouthing a Republican, so no.

3 - the word "terrible" is as much a value judgment as it is a factual claim (by implying that McCain took a certain stance on the issue), so no.

But if Krugman was an honest man, he would choose to ask his editors to run a correction anyway. One test of a person's honesty is whether they admit to error when they aren't forced to do so.

GMax

McCain said in November 2003. ... ‘Ethanol does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve our air quality.’”

Bravo john boy. But I dont see how the price of oil makes much impact on any of those items. Energy independence is perhaps the one decent argument for ethanol, and that is not price dependent.

Reports are the fuel economy is worse with ethanol and mixtures and probably increases emissions.

GMax

OT but funny

"After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood."

Fred Thompson

GMax

Substitute in NYT for Hollywood and its just as funny.

kim

I know nothing, I know nothing.

Joe d'Aleo at his blog icecap.us aggregates the latest news from the skeptical side as well as anyone. He was once chief meteorologist for the Weather Channel. He is as able an advocate as anyone. I'm just one of the horde. A vicious specimen, sure.
======================================

PeterUK

As far as I can see,no alternative energy source renewable or otherwise exist without subsidies,hidden or otherwise.

GMax

OT

In case you are despairing about our young people. My 13 year old comes home from middle school today with a joke.

Hillary and Obama are in a boat in the middle of a large lake. A storm comes up and the boat is swamped and finally sinks. Who is saved?

America.

Just in case in the next few months the media starts telling you how all young people are Democrats...

MarkO

Mocking Krugman is too easy.

Rick Ballard

"Mocking Krugman is too easy."

Here's the NYT lineup for editorial page columnists. There is nobody in Junior Sulzberger's lineup who does not qualify as "easy" with regard to mockability.

When TM started mocking the crummy columnists for the crummy newspaper, NYT common was at about 50. Today it's way overpriced at 19.35. Perhaps Krugman appears "too easy", at least in part, because of TM's work over the years?

I'll grant the fact that Krugman has always been a complete buffoon but he was a respected buffoon at one time. TM and others have remedied that error.

Which buffoon would you prefer to see mocked? I'm tired of the pinhead too but I hesitate to suggest an alternative prior to the NYT going bankrupt or being sold.

johobuo

Hi to all members iam new to the community and looking to make friends and
gain support.

PeterUK

"Mocking Krugman is too easy."

Yes,but even professionals like to kick a ball around for fun.

Tom Maguire

Energy independence is perhaps the one decent argument for ethanol, and that is not price dependent.

As a McCain Apologist For A Day, let me try this - it makes sense for energy independence on an unsubsidized basis only if oil prices are high.

McCain's position is pretty subtle - he supports it without subsidies, but so what? Does that mean he will work to remove other regulatory impediments (and are there any)? If ethanol makes sense at high prices, what does McCain's "support" translate into in actual policy terms?

bgates

If ethanol makes sense at high prices, what does McCain's "support" translate into in actual policy terms?
Why does it have to involve policy terms? "Making sense" isn't enough - for ethanol to become a viable fuel, the industry will need investors. Well, McCain's wife has that beer distributorship. Alcohol's been good to them, now they can be good to alcohol.

clarice

Everyone is for energy independence. OTOH everytime the price of oil drops, the higher production costs of the alternatives, drive all investors and consumers away. Price is not a minor consideration. And it shouldn't be. Why piss away money ? Let the oil producers sell it cheaply and when they run out (*if* they do) pressure will build to better exploit our domestic resources and after that has run its full course-- alternativ energy sources.

qrstuv

The corn lobby won't tell you this, but it takes about as much energy to produce ethanol as you can get when you burn it (possibly more).

It is not a road to energy independence, with or without government subsidy.

clarice

Solar energy enthisiasts won't tell you either that producing all that glass and aluminum for solar energy collectors uses more conventional energy than most people will save using it. Another reason why price should matter. Subsidizing these collectors means the govt (ie., YOU, the taxpayer) are encouraging the expenditure of more energy (money) than you will save.

Ditto with most recycling programs, and yet taxpayers are so befuddled that when municipalities want to stop these programs because they are too expensive and they cannot recoup the costs (i.e., they also use more conventional energy than they save), the taxpayers insist these stupid programs continue.

GMax

I think we are discussing foreign oil ( read Middle East, Chavez, Nigeria et al ) independence not energy independence. There is some argument to be made for reducing our dependence on supplies of oil from places that do not have our best interest in mind anywhere on their to do list.

Dont get me wrong, I am not a flexfuel supporter, but it is a fair argument.

clarice

Oil is fungible. I don't think you can do much about where it's imported from. In any event most major producers at the moment do not have our best interests at heart. Do they? Nor are they very stable--another reason one can justify an energy independence program.

Rick Ballard

Clarice,

Recycling is a religious act. It has never, ever been anything else. Just as rejection of nukes is an act of faith rather than reason.

There may be policy issues which may be discussed without impinging upon someone's religious beliefs but energy isn't one of them. Were that not true, we would be discussing adding nuclear plants at a pace similiar to France or China. Nuclear power is 20% less expensive than fossil fuels now and it takes absurd "adjustments" for decommissioning and waste removal and storage to make it seem economically less feasible.

We won't be seeing any political "leadership" on energy issues because we haven't any leaders running for President. That's not the worst thing that has happened recently.

Soylent Red

OT, if you haven't seen it, a good discussion on the beat down of the Mahdi Army.

narciso

Actually the few times I considered
anarchism was when Krugman & Friedman
lectured us, on their understandings
of the free market. It's a joke, but
you get the idea.

Foo Bar

I agree that Krugman should have noted McCain's opposition to subsidies.

That said, let's also note that McCain was wrong when he said this in response to Russert:

No, I, I, I don’t, I don’t think I said that at $60 a barrel. I said it when it was $10 a barrel or $9 a barrel.

Russert was essentially correct ($60/barrel was a bit high, but it doesn't change Russert's point). McCain and Kyl issued a 6/28/05 press release which said:

One example from the bill that is harmful to Arizona is the mandate that Americans use eight billion gallons of ethanol annually by 2012. Currently, Americans consume only 3.4 billion gallons. Such mandates will result in higher gasoline costs for states, like Arizona, that do not have an abundant in-state supply of renewable energy or who do not produce their own ethanol

Oil was at $51.22 a barrel on 6/24/05.

Well, we'll chalk that one up to forgetfulness (or confusion in the heat of the moment on MTP) on the part of McCain, I guess.

kim

Thompson was the only one of the twenty early candidates who understood what a hoax carbon demonization is. McCain will see the light, especially if cooling continues dramatically enough to impact the electorate. That is somewhat doubtful given that summer is coming on, however, the Southern Hemisphere has had an exceptionally cool summer and may have a humdinger of a winter. The paradigm of carbon cooking the earth will collapse suddenly as do all false paradigms, but the timing can not yet be predicted. Skepticism is reaching a critical mass and this business of biofuels is bellweather.

Clarice, energy independence is politically desirable for national security, but the market for energy is now global and true energy independence is probably a chimera. Our role as global policeman may well be supplanted as we become distributors of power. Someone responsible has to do it, and the UN is untrustworthy. Interestingly enough, Pachauri, head of the IPCC, has begun to wonder publicly if somehow the 'sums are wrong' in the projections of temperature rise secondary to fossil carbon release.

Hydrocarbons can only get more expensive. Alternative sources will eventually make economic sense. I worry, however, that the dream of 'sustainability' from windpower, waterpower, and sunpower, will only interfere with the earth's natural climate regulatory mechanisms. I realize there is a lot of energy in the wind, but we are all downwind from the unintended consequences.

Foo Bar. It is a good time to be a skeptic. Tell your friends.
====================================

clarice

Rick, There was a short period of time when recycling paper was very lucrative because there was a paper shortage in Asia and the price was so high it paid for haulers to pick it up for free and ship it overseas. From time to time that may be true of other recyclables. But generally, you are right. It is a losing proposition with a religious, not an energy saving, proposition.

clarice

**not an energy saving, justification.*********

kim

Yes, excellent SR. Something in there that I didn't know is that Sistani issued a fatwah back during the height of the 'civil war' reminding the Shia that is was their duty to protect their Sunni brethren. Maybe that is the same as the edict issued by leaders of all the major sects in Iraq back in August urging the cessation of violence. That edict was co-ordinated and encouraged by Anglican Canon Andrew White, who, along with Sistani, deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. They'd get it, too, in an alternate and more just universe.
==========================

kim

Generally speaking, the two things most likely to be economically recyclable are glass and aluminum. The raw materials for each are plentiful but both require large amounts of electricity to manufacture. Electicity in great chunks fuses silica, and drives electrolysis, by which elemental aluminum is separated from the ore.

There is enough aluminum in your front yard to supply the world. Well, if you dig deep enough. Silica is sand.
=====================

kim

I forgot to add, it is much easier to re-melt glass and aluminum than to produce it in the first place. Oh yes, small point, but it makes all the difference as far as recycling goes.
=========================

Charlie (Colorado)

Everyone is for energy independence. OTOH everytime the price of oil drops, the higher production costs of the alternatives, drive all investors and consumers away. Price is not a minor consideration. And it shouldn't be. Why piss away money ? Let the oil producers sell it cheaply and when they run out (*if* they do) pressure will build to better exploit our domestic resources and after that has run its full course-- alternativ energy sources.

What she said.

Dammit, the deepest thing about Adam Smith and his successors was that he recognized that economics always works itself out. Whether you like it or not.

Charlie (Colorado)

The corn lobby won't tell you this, but it takes about as much energy to produce ethanol as you can get when you burn it (possibly more).

It is not a road to energy independence, with or without government subsidy.

Arstuv, be a little careful ehre, as you're being misled by soundbite economics. Yes indeed, neither H2 nor ethanol will make us energy independent per se. However, the issue we;'re talking about isn't really energy independence, it's foreign-source oil independence, and even if it takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than it provides, it could still help us become foreign oil independent, as long as that energy came from, eg, nuclear, or coal, or shale oil, or solar. Same for H2: it's not just how much energy it is, it's that we need a convenient, highly energy-dense source of fuel for cars and trucks and trains and planes.

The other problem right now with ethanol is that, via subsidy, we've made it pay better to sell feed corn for ethanol production than for feeding hogs. Farmers, perfectly reasonably, stopped selling corn for food products and started selling it for ethanol. But there is a lot of fallow land that people would happily farm again if there were a product that made it worth while.

Tom Maguire

Foo Bar - I am a near fossil and I barely remember $10 oil, so I am not sure what McCain is thinking of. At best we would be talking 1986 (sorry, overcome by laziness). I have to go with hyperbole on his part, and figure that McCain was offering the defensible point that there ought to be (or might be) some oil price at which ethanol is viable without subsidies.

To me the key point is opposition to subsidies.

I think we are discussing foreign oil ( read Middle East, Chavez, Nigeria et al ) independence not energy independence. There is some argument to be made for reducing our dependence on supplies of oil from places that do not have our best interest in mind anywhere on their to do list.

Cosmetically, yes, but Saudi Arabia will be one of the low cost producers while oil is produced. That means that as alternatives become available and the price of oil drops, they will be the last man standing.

That also means we get to bankrupt Russia and Texas first. Not a bug!

TCO

Please censor TCO. He is foul-mouthed and it will offend the "delicate like a flower" types on the blog.

PeterUK

We have had the "Burnt Stick Age", the Stone Age",the "Bronze Age",the "Iron Age",why the panic now?

kim

Naw, TCO, all the bloodthirsty thugs have been watching the game.
======================================

Charlie (Colorado)

Hydrocarbons can only get more expensive. Alternative sources will eventually make economic sense. I worry, however, that the dream of 'sustainability' from windpower, waterpower, and sunpower, will only interfere with the earth's natural climate regulatory mechanisms. I realize there is a lot of energy in the wind, but we are all downwind from the unintended consequences.

Mmmm. I suspect that we're okay with this. According to Wikipedia, the Earth's atmosphere has a mass of about 5 quadrillion tonnes, or around 5×10^18 kg. So if the average wind speed is 10 km/hr, the total energy involved is about 5.4 quadrillion Watts, and the total energy used in the world is around 15 trillion Watts, which is only about 0.2 percent of the total. Or, looking at it another way, every time we build a gigaWatt wind generator, we're taking up about 0.00000002 percent of the wind energy potentially available.

Elliott

I think oil was $10 and even lower back in early 1998.

(Going to look it up now.)

kim

Charlie, I know this isn't strictly energy, more about unintended consequences. Google Bodele Depression and see what wind turbines in a mountain gap in Africa would do to the biology of the Amazon basin. I'll make it easy. It would starve it of nutrients.
=================================

RichatUF

Elliott-


It was late 1998 after the Asian Financial Crisis was in full swing. The price I think got as low as $9.85 for a few days. I remember filling up my car for about 10 dollars (gas was 79 cents a gallon).

RichatUF

Here is a helpful chart from EIA

Elliott

Thanks, Rich.

Rick Ballard

Some oil price history.

You pegged it, Rich

RichatUF

I also think that ethanol is corrosive reducing the life of pipelines and containers and increasing maintenance costs. It also freezes at a higher temperature.

M. Simon

Kim,

I was over at Althouse the other day (moderate liberal) and CO2 came up and the sceptics outnumbered the believers 5:1.

It is over. Now with the biofuel scam big news it is way over. Once you lose the cheering section the balloon deflated. Those guys are now in panic mode. Fill your tank. Starve a third worlder and destroy the rain forest? That will keep those mopes busy at least until the election is over.

amr

I have been following ethanol use since 1989 and have done what I could to get government to emulate Brazil’s shift to ethanol which started in the 1970s. But hey, I’m just a small voice without a damn bully pulpit.

Part of the present problem is that the protein rich corn residue is apparently not being widely used as feedstock as it could be had we started an early sane production of alcohol for ethanol and the needed realignment of our animal feed process/transportation system (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=87782087). This from NPR no less. But as usual with a rush of government interference, the corn field to feed yard loop has been broken. The corn residue could also be used for human food, but I doubt that that will be done.

The future of ethanol is switchgrass and/or waste use with the new ethanol process that GM is now involved in (http://www.trollhattansaab.net/archives/2008/01/gm-invests-in-experimental-waste-to-ethanol-process.html).

That our country is fueling world terrorism with our purchase of oil from the ME while ignoring our own oil resources because of environmental scare tactics is also worrisome. Yet we basically ignore TDP and other similar processes that recover oil from organic waste, so why not ignore this new process too to rid ourselves of organic waste and produce fuel. That would be typical government. So where is the Manhattan Project for energy independence? Just indicating we will drill for oil in the places now off limits would lower the large speculative portion of oil costs.

There is no shortage of corn feed stocks nor sources of fuel to power our economy and the family car, just a shortage of imagination and due diligence.

nichevo

on the one hand any btu is a good btu. if it is convenient at a given time to brew up some crop surpluses; if we ever figure out alternative/waste stocks like switchgrass, kelp, cornstalks, sugar cane pulp, whatever; then it makes some sense.

Alcohol may also be useful as a storable medium for both inconstant and constant energy producers as an energy sink better than current batteries. Alcohol will after all feed fuel cells.

That said, somebody quoted an itty bitty percentage regarding windmills as nothing to worry about. In the great scheme of things, AGW against GW certainly has to be just as marginal.

But half the whole GW fuss is over the notion that we rate against the natural environment for greenhouse effects, let alone whether or not it's all sunspots.

I wish we would drain dry the Saudis, Russkis, etc., first, just as long as our own remaining/huge deposits, in shale, tar, even possible future oil finds (as in North Dakota, far bigger than ANWR as I recall), and the necessary infrastructure, are ready to implement without dislocation when KSA suddenly grinds to a halt. The last oil standing will be the most valuable.

Always remember that even with zero gasoline, we'd still use half the oil we do now for petrochemicals. Plastic, fertilizer, chemicals, pharma, etc., etc. Unless we come up with alternatives for those.

And of course the actual answer that people won't like but will work would be nuclear power. (It's not just for Godzilla anymore. Just ask the French and Japanese about vitrification.)

But we do need to be forward about that. We need to recycle plutonium, learn to use other fissionables like the readily available thorium. I think we have to premise that fusion will be along and this is a stopgap.

Fissionables, specifically uranium, are finite and worth conserving. If used wastefully we might not have more than a couple hundred years worth of uranium as presently known available.

The issue really does deserve thought. Green jazz aside a watt is a watt is a buck and saving one can save the other. I think green data centers, for instance, are a very sound idea. Just because at present, big computing centers like Google's disrupt the whole power economy. The NSA in Maryland is running out of power capacity. There are good reasons to go green.

Just not that we're all going to DIEEEEEEEEEEE!

kim

Whoa, good ideas, nichevo and amr; and far thinking nichevo.
======================================

Jack Olson

I just attempted to hear the audiobook version of Krugman's "Conscience of a Liberal." After hearing one lie after another in the early chapters, I gave up. Liberal, that's obvious, but I can't see any conscience.

Daryl Herbert

I thought about this some more, and in Krugman's defense, I don't think he was deliberately lying.

If he knew he was going to raise a subject that would help Sen. McCain and hurt both Dem contenders, he never would have written the column in the first place!

Paul F. Dietz

I also think that ethanol is corrosive reducing the life of pipelines and containers and increasing maintenance costs. It also freezes at a higher temperature.

There were some cases of impure ethanol causing accelerated corrosion (100% ethanol is produced by a dehydration process in which the final step involves sulfuric acid; the contaminant, ethyl sulfate, can produce sulfuric acid when exposed to trace amounts of water). The solution is better quality control of the ethanol.

The freezing point of ethanol is -114 C, which I suspect is not going to be a practical problem anywhere on this planet. The freezing point of iso-octane is -107 C, btw.

Daryl Herbert

M. Simon wrote: I was over at Althouse the other day (moderate liberal) and CO2 came up and the sceptics outnumbered the believers 5:1.

Althouse is basically a moderate lib, but a good portion of her commenters (myself included) are right-wing. So you can't use that as a weathervane. Global Warming is still a very popular idea, especially among Democrats.

M. Simon

The trouble with 100% ethanol is that it is hydrophilic. You have to keep it in air tight containers so it doesn't absorb moisture from the air.

Oil products are of course hydrophobic.

And hi Paul.

Heard the latest on the Bussard experiments?

M. Simon

Daryl,

True. Still the warmers are not out in force the way they were even a year ago. The proportions are very changed.

kim

The biofuel mess is a knife through the ribs to the warmists. It is apparent to all but the most brain dead among them that this was an effort with high moral value, to save the earth, that has turned rotten on them, with starving children as a result. Good intentions and so on. It is causing enough cognitive dissonance to make the truly good among them rethink a few things. As cooling continues, we may see a sea change. Here's hoping. God knows, we have enough problems without chasing a chimerical CO2 daemon.
========================

Paul F. Dietz

Heard the latest on the Bussard experiments?

Haven't wasted my time following them lately. IMO, the chance they will lead anywhere useful is not significantly different from zero.

Mister Snitch

Krugman is The Conscience of NOTHING.

Pat

"Ethanol is a product that would not exist if Congress didn’t create an artificial market for it. No one would be willing to buy it," McCain said in November 2003.

I have to disagree with McCain on this point. A market certainly exists for ethanol . . . as a beverage.

Pat

There is enough aluminum in your front yard to supply the world. Well, if you dig deep enough. Silica is sand.

Silica contains no aluminum. It's a compound of silicon and oxygen.

TallDave

With experimental proof of the double well formation and POPS added in the mix, Bussard's Polywell concept looks much more promising than any other fusion concept, in terms of getting to economically competitive fusion energy production.

Still a bit of a long shot, but the shortest one we have at the moment.

It will be interesting to see what Nebel reports next month, and whether the $200M 100MW full-scale reactor project is picked up.

Of course, then we'll have to deal with alpha sputtering and surface heating, but those would be nice problems to have.

TallDave

Paul,

This might be of interest.

http://flux.aps.org/meetings/YR98/BAPSDPP98/abs/S6300023.html

In the spherical IEC concept, ions are focused radially inwards by a kV potential well, and converge to a dense central core where fusion may occur. However, ion diffusion in velocity space may prevent a satisfactory energy balance in the system. A previous theoretical analysis suggests(Nevins, Phys. Plasmas), 2(10), 3804-3819 (1995) that ion diffusion is much faster than fusion. However, this result was obtained under very limiting assumptions about the ion-electron distributions in energy space, neglecting important self-consistent space charge fields. BAFP is a fully implicit code developed to analyze IEC physics under a wide range of conditions without requiring the approximations that limited the earlier work. Ion-ion collisions are handled by the Fokker-Plank collision operator, which is bounce-averaged on the grounds that the ion plasma is collisionless in the bounce time scale. BAFP does not handle either ion-electron or electron-electron collisions. In BAFP, electrons are assumed Maxwellian in energy space. The electrostatic potential profile within the electron cloud is obtained self-consistently every time step; multiple potential wells can be handled. Initial numerical results from BAFP will be presented and compared against key limiting cases and previous theoretical results.

kim

Sorry Pat, I was too concise. Fused silica(sand) is glass. What's in your front yard is weak aluminum ore.
================================

TallDave

Also, this:
In spherical Penning fusion devices, a spherical cloud of electrons, confined in a Penning-like trap, creates the ion-confining electrostatic well. Fusion energy gains for these systems have been calculated in optimistic conditions (i.e., spherically uniform electrostatic well, no collisional ion-electron interactions, single ion species) using a bounce-averaged Fokker–Planck (BAFP) model. Results show that steady-state distributions in which the Maxwellian ion population is dominant correspond to lowest ion recirculation powers (and hence highest fusion energy gains). Operating regimes with fusion power to ion input power ratios (Q-value) >100 have been identified.

kim

TD, is this the low pressure high temperature ionic fusion method that disappeared in the 60's when all the research dollars went to the high pressure magnetic bottle, which is still stalled?
====================================

kim

I know it showed promise but wasn't getting much output.
===============================

TallDave

kim,

No, this is different. This is gridless IEC, basically a speherical Penning trap with exceedingly low electron losses (1e5 electron transits).

The Polywell fusion wikipidia entry has good general info. Links are being blocked by spam filter, but here's a good roundup.

http://www.strout.net/info/science/polywell/index.html

Papertiger

Would the discovery of 200 billion barrels of oil in North Dakota change things?
Peak oil update: 10x increase in US reserves.

kim

Why the need for horizontal drilling, and why is that so much more expensive?

Please don't tell my folks I work in the oil patch; they think I'm a piano player in a whorehouse.

Another bumper sticker on a big fat Buick in Oklahoma: "If you don't have an oil well, get one'.
====================================

cathyf

Hmmm, kim -- do you think that they need the horizontal drilling because they are sneaking the drill bit across the border into Canadian fields? ;-)

Seriously, I googled "bakken formation horizontal drilling" and came up with this wikipedia article which explains:

Porosities in the Bakken average about 5%, and permeabilities are very low, averaging 0.04 millidarcies—much lower than typical oil reservoirs.[2] However, the presence of horizontal fractures makes the Bakken an excellent candidate for horizontal drilling techniques in which a well drills along the extent of the rock layer, rather than punching a hole vertically through it. In this way, many thousands of feet of oil reservoir rock can be penetrated in a unit that reaches a maximum thickness of only about 140 feet (40 m).

Andrew Garland

Humility

When a politician says that ethanol production should be subsidized, he is proclaiming that his personal knowledge is better than the combined wisdom of all the other entrepreneurs in that business. He is willing to bet other people's money on that belief.

When McCain said that Ethanol is a good development, but should not be subsidized, he was supporting the idea of research, but was leaving the development to others with their own money. He was not substituting his own knowledge; he refused to bet other people's money.

McCain should be applauded. The main point is no subsidy. His changing private opinion on Ethanol is not a flip-flop, it is a reaction to the results of private research.

kim

Very interesting, cf. The low porosity and permeability helps explain the difficulty of recovery. The oil won't just drain to a central, vertical well. It looks like this is primary recovery with a secondary recovery process. All is made clear. It's nice to know it is there, though not cheap to recover, and it doesn't seem as if this will have the requirement for water that oil shales have, nor the difficult refining of tar sands.
=======================================

Paul Dietz

TallDave:

With experimental proof of the double well formation and POPS added in the mix, Bussard's Polywell concept looks much more promising than any other fusion concept, in terms of getting to economically competitive fusion energy production.

But this was never the showstopper for Polywell. The problem was energy losses exceeding fusion gain on H-11B fuels.

BAFP does not handle either ion-electron or electron-electron collisions.

Since ion energy loss to the electrons (or, electron energy loss to bremsstrahlung on the ions) is one of the showstoppers for H-11B fusion in IEC devices, this seems to render the passage you quote irrelevant to Polywell. I believe (haven't read the second paper) that Nevins is talking about DT fusion systems, or perhaps DD, where the electron losses are much lower. The no-go results of Rider don't apply to the relatively less challenging fuel combinations.

TallDave

Hmmm? Unless I'm misrecalling, Nevins' paper says ion diffusion is a showstopper for any IEC setup. Q < 1.

TallDave

Brem was another problem, yes. Bussard believed brem losses would be low, others disagree.

TallDave

Of course, Polywell isn't necessarily p-11B, p-11B is just the optimal end-state.

TallDave

The study is certainly relevant to D-D/D-T, and if Polywell can work at Q>1 for D-D/D-T it probably does so for orders of magnitude less than ITER, so that would be a big .


p-11B is far enough out we can't really say too much about it, other than that it would be far more difficult than D-D/D-T for a variety of reasons.

TallDave

Sorry for the broken out comment, spam filter didn't like some words.

M. Simon

Kim,

I would love to have you join the club if you are interested (any one else too!!)

Go to the sidebar here and look for the Working Groups section. There are 4 of them and you will be totally hooked in. As with any technical forum the newer guys teach the newest. And so on.

IEC Fusion Technology blog

Currently a $2 million experiment is going on in New Mexico to decide if it is worth while to build a full scale (100 MW thermal) prototype.

Answers to that question should be resolved by August. Possibly sooner.

M. Simon

BTW if we can get these fusion suckers to work they would be ideal for oil shale recovery requiring 1/2 the cooling water of an equivalent nuke power plant.

M. Simon

kim,

Saw you over at the NYTs coal to oil thread.

You sure like to whack those hornets nests. From the inside. Bravery of the highest order.

I left a few comments. You will probably see them tomorrow.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Wilson/Plame