Thursday, November 10, 2005

Focused Fusion

By their nature, corporations and government bureaucracies have a stake in keeping things going the way they always have been going. New technologies that threaten to replace the existing order jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in revenue.

It is therefore easy to see why a technology such a fusion - a threat to the petroleum industry - would be sabotaged at worst, and under funded at best.

Jim at the Energy Blog, always leading the way on news that is threatening to the Oil industry, today points out an under funded Fusion project.

About Focus Fusion

Developers, led by Eric J. Lerner, are developing Focus Fusion, a fusion process to generate electricity that is expected to be relatively cheap, highly efficient, and small enough to fit into a garage. The process which channels hydrogen-boron fuel through a plasma focusing device, uses a smaller, more elegant approach than is currently being pursued by conventional fusion researchers. This device could be fired up and shut off with the flip of a switch, with no damaging radiation, no threat of meltdown, and no possibility of explosions

Focus Fusion reactors are small and decentralized, ideally suited for distributed power generation. Focus Fusion reactors can fit into a garage. Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP) Focus Fusion project aims at developing an electric generator with a projected output of about 5 MW, sufficient for a small community. The Focus Fusion process can produce electricity directly without the need to generate steam, use a turbine or use a rotating generator. The reactors are extremely compact and economical, with expected costs of $300,000 apiece. As the fuel is an insignificant cost, electric power production is estimated at about one tenth of a cent per kWh, fifty times cheaper than current costs. Because it can be shut off and turned on so easily, a bank of these could easily accommodate whatever surges and ebbs are faced by the grid on a given day, without wasting unused energy from non-peak times into the environment, which is the case with much of the grid’s energy at present. On-site personnel are not needed on a daily basis, maintenance would be rare. One technician could operate a dozen facilities by themselves.

There is much more, read on…

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Well wha'dy'a know

From the Associated Press:

DALLAS - Wind turbines supplying energy to homes and businesses will one day line Texas' 376-mile coastline if the state's Land Office Commissioner has his way. The turbines will stand about 10 miles offshore, enough to preserve the treasured view but close enough to make coastal wind power an affordable energy alternative still missing in the United States, Commissioner Jerry Patterson said. Last month, the office announced a deal with a Louisiana contractor to build 50 turbines designed to power about 40,000 homes.

That, and a great statement the other day from AWEA:

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) stated today in its Third Quarter Market Report that the U.S. wind energy industry will install about 2,500 megawatts (MW) of new wind power this year, a record amount that will help lower skyrocketing home heating and electric bills by reducing the demand for natural gas. Wind energy projects also bring new jobs, rural economic development, and tax revenues to cash-strapped states without creating any of the harmful side-effects associated with conventional power generation.