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interestrateripoff

Nuclear fusion by 2030 - to give UK limitless energy....

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4455248/Nuclear-fusion-reactor-switches-supply-power-2030.html

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Britain's newest fusion reactor has been fired up and taken the world one step further towards generating electricity from the power of the stars.

The heart of the Tokamak ST40 reactor - a super-hot cloud of electrically charged gas, or plasma - is expected to reach a temperature of 100 million centigrade next year.

That is how hot it needs to be to trigger fusion, the joining together of atomic nuclei accompanied by an enormous release of energy.

And by 2030, the reactor will provide clean energy to the UK's national grid, according to its creators Tokamak Energy.

Great news.... although how much energy do you need to reach 100 million centigrade?

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1 hour ago, monkeyprojects said:

Fusion has been 10 years away for the past 50 years..

I did a materials science degree back in the 80s. One of the modules was nuclear materials, and the lecturer joked that fusion power was 20 years away, just like it had been when he was a student in the 1960s....

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18 hours ago, interestrateripoff said:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4455248/Nuclear-fusion-reactor-switches-supply-power-2030.html

Great news.... although how much energy do you need to reach 100 million centigrade?

The "how much energy" bit is what makes it hard. Nuclear fusion isn't actually that difficult, getting more out than you put (and for long enough, and without turning everything in the area to a brittle radioactive mess thanks to the high neutron flux from fusion) in is the challenge.

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When I saw some chap recently from culham(?) we have to get ITER first and then it's the generation after that will deliver power. 2040s at the earliest and providing the technical problems will be resolved along the way. 

 

Christ, 2030 is going to be a struggle to get the next generation of fission power, a tech we reasonably understand, all online let alone fusion.

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23 hours ago, happy_renting said:

To get atoms to stop jiggling around, so you can fuse them, they need to be cooled down.

I find playing a little light jazz helps.

 

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Whoever gets fusion energy working will not give it away. Developing it will have cost bilions, and building reactors will cost billions.

So they will be, necessarily, already rich and powerful, members of the richest elites, and then have almost unlimited power at their disposal.

Expect them to exercise that power monopoly and to destroy any rival - politically, financially or militarily.

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4 minutes ago, happy_renting said:

Whoever gets fusion energy working will not give it away. Developing it will have cost bilions, and building reactors will cost billions.

So they will be, necessarily, already rich and powerful, members of the richest elites, and then have almost unlimited power at their disposal.

Expect them to exercise that power monopoly and to destroy any rival - politically, financially or militarily.

Most of the research is government funded isn't it? It's too expensive even for Elon Musk.

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The elephant in the room IMO is the dropping cost of PV solar power - will it continue dropping? Will fusion power simply arrive too late to be competive?

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Where's ChumpusRex for the final definitive answer? If it is indeed possible to achieve in our life times then... can we have the date too? 

Happy renting at the kind of pressures required for fusion to happen I don't think it'll be a problem getting the atoms to stay still. Fusion energy will be the game changer for interstellar travel and not watching corrie on TVs solar pv is fine there.

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On 01/05/2017 at 0:37 AM, DeepLurker said:

The elephant in the room IMO is the dropping cost of PV solar power - will it continue dropping? Will fusion power simply arrive too late to be competive?

Fusion works at night. PV is touch and go in countries like the UK anyway, and the storage part required for it to really be mainstream isn't there. IMO it should be kept to the top of office blocks and supermarkets in a "this is already a dump with some wasted space we may as well use" move.

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As far as I know it's still speculative. The reaction does indeed produce energy but there difficulties in getting the reaction started (i.e. more energy than you get out) in currently the showstopper.

History should tell you not to dismiss this purely on the basis of credulity alone - humans have achieved some remarkable things in recent years.

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10 minutes ago, cica said:

As far as I know it's still speculative. The reaction does indeed produce energy but there difficulties in getting the reaction started (i.e. more energy than you get out) in currently the showstopper.

More energy in than out just to get something started isn't the issue. Most power generation systems have that, even if it's just muscle power turning a sluice on a small hydroelectric station (I guess bigger ones use power from the grid, or an on-site generator). It's keeping it going, getting more out than in, that's the hard bit.

I'd say it's more than speculative but still with enough challenges that no-one can meaningfully have a clue about when it'll work. There's no reason to doubt it's doable but don't hold your breath or plan for a future where it'll be contributing.

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4 hours ago, Riedquat said:

Fusion works at night. PV is touch and go in countries like the UK anyway, and the storage part required for it to really be mainstream isn't there. IMO it should be kept to the top of office blocks and supermarkets in a "this is already a dump with some wasted space we may as well use" move.

PV is not appropriate for the UK, and maybe never will be (it's small island at a high latitude, and the most suitable part of the country for solar power - the South - is hopelessly overcrowded).

But much of the world has plenty of sun, and space for fields of PV. Just south of where I live in France is 1000s of km2 of very low grade agricultural land. Lots of PV fields popping up there, making a better use of the land.

The storage issue isn't a real blocker - no one is suggesting that a country goes 100% solar. You need something else (hydro, fission, whatever) for running at night... and for strategic reasons (never rely on a single power source!). Plus, businesses and consumers tend to adapt to variable KWh prices- at present for people on smart metering it's cheaper to run a washing machine at night. If PV power prices keep on dropping then this pattern might inverse - at least in sunny countries.

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5 hours ago, DeepLurker said:

PV is not appropriate for the UK, and maybe never will be (it's small island at a high latitude, and the most suitable part of the country for solar power - the South - is hopelessly overcrowded).

But much of the world has plenty of sun, and space for fields of PV. Just south of where I live in France is 1000s of km2 of very low grade agricultural land. Lots of PV fields popping up there, making a better use of the land.

The storage issue isn't a real blocker - no one is suggesting that a country goes 100% solar. You need something else (hydro, fission, whatever) for running at night... and for strategic reasons (never rely on a single power source!). Plus, businesses and consumers tend to adapt to variable KWh prices- at present for people on smart metering it's cheaper to run a washing machine at night. If PV power prices keep on dropping then this pattern might inverse - at least in sunny countries.

Totally feasible - it just needs international cooperation and weaning off from the petro-dollar (in other words, no chance)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertec

Fullneed.jpg

The red squares represent the area that would be enough for solar power plants to produce a quantity of electricity consumed by the world today, in Europe (EU-25) and Germany (De). (Data provided by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), 2005)

 

1280px-Sunshine.png

All it needs is a suitably sized array of pv on each continent

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What are we going to do with unlimited energy? More consumer goods? More automation? Faster transportation? 

I can only see it making my life worse rather than better.

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9 minutes ago, whitevanman said:

What are we going to do with unlimited energy? More consumer goods? More automation? Faster transportation? 

I can only see it making my life worse rather than better.

Pollution-free transport? Solving climate change? Cheap heating? Keeping our limited supply of fossil fuels for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, materials and agrochemicals rather than using them for fuel?

And further afield - Refrigeration, water-pumping and desalination for the poor in Africa and Asia? 

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8 minutes ago, RentingForever said:

Pollution-free transport? Solving climate change? Cheap heating? Keeping our limited supply of fossil fuels for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, materials and agrochemicals rather than using them for fuel?

And further afield - Refrigeration, water-pumping and desalination for the poor in Africa and Asia? 

That would be great but the reality will be: ravaging of the earth's resources, destruction of human labour, increased unbanisation, more effective methods of killing, unlimited government and corporate power and the destitution of everyone else.

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12 hours ago, knock out johnny said:

Totally feasible - it just needs international cooperation and weaning off from the petro-dollar (in other words, no chance)

Agreed, I cannot see PV megaprojects going ahead - purely for geo-political reasons, as you point out.

However, I think it's not an issue; at a grassroots level there is enormous scope for small PV installations - e.g. here in France it's become very common to see new agricultural barns made of a steel framework with sheets of PV as the roof (instead of corrugated roofs). It helps keeps installation costs down, and keeps land free for agriculture.

Drip by drip this increases the amount of PV installed, and reduces the potential market for fusion (unless if fusion can be demonstrated to be both technically feasible and cheaper than PV by 2030).

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11 hours ago, whitevanman said:

That would be great but the reality will be: ravaging of the earth's resources, destruction of human labour, increased unbanisation, more effective methods of killing, unlimited government and corporate power and the destitution of everyone else.

You're starting to sound like me (although I'm not sure about even the "great" bits if it means more bloody railway electrification).

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On 5/2/2017 at 10:22 AM, Riedquat said:

Fusion works at night. PV is touch and go in countries like the UK anyway, and the storage part required for it to really be mainstream isn't there. IMO it should be kept to the top of office blocks and supermarkets in a "this is already a dump with some wasted space we may as well use" move.

Tesla are going balls deep in domestic solar power.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/tesla-solar-roof-solar-city-features-2017-2/#the-solar-cells-will-be-produced-at-a-plant-in-buffalo-new-york-24

http://uk.businessinsider.com/everything-about-tesla-powerwall-2-battery-2016-11?r=US&IR=T/#in-2015-tesla-unveiled-the-powerwall-a-rechargeable-lithium-ion-battery-weighing-roughly-200-pounds-that-you-can-mount-on-your-wall-panasonic-makes-the-cells-for-the-powerwall-while-tesla-builds-the-battery-module-and-pack-1

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