A Hawaii-based web site devoted to OTEC ( http://
<http://www.hawaii.gov/> dbedt/ert/otec_hi.html#anchor351481 ) lists some of
the disadvantages associated with this potential energy source. At this
stage of development, the technology still requires more energy than it
produces. A temperature difference of at least 40 F (22 C) is needed year
round and the ocean must be deep enough near the shore to allow shore-based
I'm not very optimistic about fusion [just think of the highly radioactive
pole pieces that will be produced in an intense neutron field] and I think
it would be a mistake to continue our misuse of currently available energy
resources in the faint hope that, when the time comes, scientists and
engineers are able to "pull the fusion rabbit out of the hat" in the nick of
IMHO, it's important to consider the use of energy. Even if we would be
able to supplant fossil fuel with energy supplied through fusion, fission,
or temperature gradients in the ocean, we will still need to convert this
energy in a portable form. For transportation, batteries won't do the trick
(yet) and environmentalists continue to frown on trolley buses as they
require "unsightly overhead wires that create visual pollution. "(I'm not
making this up; some 20-odd years ago, this was the argument used against
the use of trolley buses in Winnipeg, MB).
It's high time (probably too late already) to reserve fossil fuel (in
particular oil) for transportation, lubricants, and as feedstock for the
chemical industry. There's no good reason to heat houses and factories with
My guess is that the first evidence of the impact of a decrease in oil will
be a sharp reduction in air travel: trains can run of electrical energy and
ships can go back to using coal, if necessary. But it's a bit of a stretch
to think of coal-powered 747s. ;-)
From: Walter Hicks [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday January 19, 2002 7:22 PM
To: Glenn Morton
Cc: Jack Haas; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: tidbits on oil
Although I have dominantly worked as an engineer, 3 decades ago I did my
Ph.D. thesis on the dynamics of fusion plasmas. At that time, the major
problem was instabilities. Some 15 years later I had the good fortune, on a
business flight, to sit beside the then head of the tokamak project at MIT.
He said that the primary problem was no longer instabilities and
confinement, but rather the difficulty of extracting the heat in a useable
fashion,. His claim was that nobody even had a decent idea for a line of
research to offer in order to get funding.
I see that Hutchinson of MIT will be speaking at the ASA meeting in August.
I hope to be there and hope he has something to say on this subject.
Glenn Morton wrote:
The problem with all the alternative energy sources I have looked at is
that they can't come anywhere near providing the energy which oil gives us.
And I agree that the funding for alternatives, especially fusion, is far too
little. We need to fund fusion research and solve that because that is the
real answer as I see it.
Walt Hicks <email@example.com>
In any consistent theory, there must
exist true but not provable statements.
You can only find the truth with logic
If you have already found the truth
without it. (G.K. Chesterton)
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