RE: Fusion Reactors

From: Rich Blinne (richblinne@hotmail.com)
Date: Mon Sep 09 2002 - 13:14:24 EDT

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    ----Original Message Follows----
    From: "Glenn Morton" <glenn.morton@btinternet.com>
    To: "Walter Hicks" <wallyshoes@mindspring.com>
    CC: "ASA list" <asa@calvin.edu>
    Subject: RE: Fusion Reactors
    Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2002 19:33:24 -0700

    Walter Hicks wrote:
    >Glenn Morton Writes :
    >
    >Think of the things for which petroleum or natural gas is the base.
    >Airplane travel, Fertilizers(made from petroleum and natural gas) and
    >insecticides(made from petroleum) for crops, plastics, distribution of
    food
    >and raw material.
    >
    >But nuclear fusion cannot be used in these applications all that fusion
    would do is offload electrical power
    >generation from consuming it's portions of oil.

    >Bull. If we had the kind of energy available from Fusion, we could
    >(inefficiently) spend it creating the carbon chains required for gasoline
    >etc. or for creating hydrogen for that wonderful hydrogen economy everyone
    >speaks of.

    If we are talking about a 20-30 yr. gap, there are stop gaps available to
    us. Our current mix of electric generation is predominately natural gas,
    coal, and fission. Now I am not as up on the exploration angle to know
    whether there is a similar problem with natural gas (see below) as there is
    for oil, but there is not a similar problem for coal expecially if you only
    have to limp along for thirty years. While natural gas "peaker" plants can
    be turned on and off to match peak demand, coal and nuclear plants are
    required to have what is known as spinning reserve, basically wasting energy
    at night. While clearly this does not have the size of reserves a fusion
    plant would heve, nevertheless it can be used to store the energy in a
    convenient chemical form be it H2, CH4, or charging batteries.

    Glenn, is there a problem with natural gas production? If there isn't,
    couldn't GTL (gas to liquid) technology be used to create more hydrocarbons
    when the relative price of natural gas to petroleum plummits? The synfuel
    has nice environmental properties (cetane rating of 75 versus 50-55 for
    commercial diesel) against other diesel fuel so it could (and does) demand a
    premium over convential diesel fuel. Changing technology over to diesel is
    also an easier task than some of the more exotic fuel cell technologies.

    I would like to make a comment concerning the comparison between the fusion
    and genome projects. The genome project had one characteristic which made
    it successful, competitition. If it wasn't for the competing company the
    government project would not have gone nearly as fast. The Apollo program
    in the 1960's would not have gone as fast if the Soviets were not breathing
    down their necks. Nuclear fission power was merely a biproduct that we were
    racing the Soviets to make the "bomb". If we want fusion energy more
    viable, more quickly, a source of competition be it an enemy government or
    an enemy company needs to be found post haste.

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