From: Rich Blinne (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Sep 09 2002 - 13:14:24 EDT
----Original Message Follows----
From: "Glenn Morton" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Walter Hicks" <email@example.com>
CC: "ASA list" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
>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
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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