Wednesday, May 07, 2008

By the by...

George Monbiot can take his wind power, and his fucking airships (yes, they are cool but only for a hobby), and stuff the lot up his arse.

If he and his Green maniac friends really do like gadgets, let's see what they make of this little beauty.


Can anyone tell me what it is?

The answer to be provided later on today...

UPDATE: well, that didn't take long. Yes, this is the electron grid, the plasma confinement chamber of the 2005 WB6 Polywell fusion reactor. Developed by Robert Bussard, it is the future of energy generation and is currently being developed by the not-for-profit EMC2 Fusion Development Corporation (having been massively funded by the US military).
EMC2 Fusion Development Corporation has been formed as a charitable research
and development organization in frontier energy technologies with emphasis on fusion.

Fusion R&D Phase 1—Validate and review WB-6 results:
1.5–2 years / $3–5M

Fusion R&D Phase 2—Design, build and test full scale 100 MW Fusion System:
5 years / $200M

Successful Phase 2 marks the end of fossil fuels

Well, the beginning of the end of fossil fuels used for the generation of electricity, certainly. For people concerned about such things, it also ends the importance of, and our pandering to, the Middle East oil states.

Go, go, Gadget Fusion Reactor!

23 comments:

guido faux said...

Plasma confinement chamber (I cheated).

lettersfromatory said...

Interesting stuff. I'd like to know a bit more about it, but no doubt the government will ignore it.

Rob said...

Funded by the US Military? Then the Left will oppose it automatically. It could end greenhouse gas emissions, end poverty and end everything else they care about and they would still automatically oppose it.

Anonymous said...

Fusion is clearly the Holy Grail of energy production. Now all we need is to get governments to start investing in research instead of building fucking wind turbines.

Roger Thornhill said...

Holy dog sh*t, just look at the numbers, Batman!

£100m. Compare that to the amounts of our hard-earned being pissed up the wall in wind and other monbiottery(tm).

In the name of national defence we should be able to justify 100m squids for a development of this in the UK.

Anonymous said...

the budget for this is chump change for the billions pissed up against the wall over here on wind farms and biofuels...

all thanks to the same people who brought you the frigging internet - i.e. the US Military...

number 6 said...

Line up the greenies (after a hearty mung bean and lentil - fair traded and ethically sourced, organic no air miles, carbon footprint free dinner) and let them produce enough wind to power their own homes. Then let them fuck off and leave everyone else to get on with their lives.

Jones said...

Better still, its successor the WB7' has already attained 'first plasma' late in 2007. The project has already attracted funding from the State of California, as well as the DOD.

On the surface, it appears to be a far smaller and more promising solution than the ITER approach of all the old Soviet invented Tokamak fusion reactor designs. Far more compact, too.

The future looks brighter already.

f0ul said...

For those who really want o know more about this, there was a fantastic seminar by the good prof at Google Tech last year.
Go to Google video and enter Google Tech Nuclear

Basically, the story behind it all is, firstly, this works. It really can do nuclear fusion.
The problem is, the DoD paid a tiny amount towards this project in comparison to the billions the US Government threw into it other nuclear fusion research projects.

The other project doesn't work and no one wants to admit this.

These US politicians would prefer to save face than to be honest with their people and release the funding to upscale this project to a working size.

It just goes to show that private research really is so much more efficient than government grants - and so much less corrupt!

Devil's Kitchen said...

f0ul,

The lecture, in the video to which you are referring, is actually delivered by Dr Bussard (a few months before he died).

This project was heavily funded by the US military and only came out of embargo a couple of years ago (December 2006, IIRC), when it won an award for being generally amazing.

DK

timtitan said...

Just so you know, we also have a fusion reactors, MAST, and JET at Culham. Neither produces more than it uses, but they have been crucial stepping points in the design of ITER, which is being built in Southern France. It is in fact the only project to do with the EU that I approve of. I just wish it wasn't associated with the EU.

Chalcedon said...

Wind power is daft. too windy, the cannot work. No wind, they cannot work. Tidal power, twice a day, every day. Obvious choice eh for sustainable power production? Unfortunately not.

Fusion is in fashion again, and if anyone could do it, the late Dr Bussard could. The investment required is nothing compated to what McBroon squanders every year on failed IT projects. A drop in the ocean to the corruption and money wastage by the EU.

I can't wait for the day oil is only used for petrochemical synthesis, we can use oil extracted in the US/North Sea exclusively and can give the ME two fingers and let the ME destroy itself. Good riddance.

Sacerdote said...

Hurrah for 'technological quick fixes' f the sort the greenies object to. Then there's this (no it's not a rickroll).

Jones said...

Timtitan,

MAST, JET, ITER, and all their experimental cousins have one major problem; no one has ever worked out how to convert the plasma toroid into consumer usable electricity. All rely on the bulky and expensive to build Tokamak design.

The Polywell WB design (WB stands for 'Wiffle ball' would you believe) proposes to generate power via an electrostatic grid from a Hydrogen-Boron fusion reaction. The numbers from Richard Nebel's team look promising; but then I'm not a physicist, just interested in what it means for the rest of us.

Incidentally, has anyone heard more about Ofcom's latest bit of fuckwittery to microchip people when they get older?

chris said...

The problem with fusors is that they have never been able get above 1% of break even, JET was at about 70%. Dr Bussard was convinced that he could get around the breaking radiation (I'm not going to attempt to spell the German word) problem with his design but hadn't proved it yet. Fusor type designs have amazing potential, eventually more than Tokomacs in my opinion, but they are not a perfected technology by any stretch of the imagination.

As for getting energy out of a D-T fueled reactor like JET, Iter and the rest that is fairly easy. The reactor chamber is surrounded by a thick blanket of Lithium, this absorbs the high energy neutrons that the reaction itself spits out in order to breed the Tritium that the reactor needs as fuel. In the process of absorbing neutrons it gets very hot, and so you can use that heat to make steam to power turbines just like in any other thermal system. Of course no reactor has ever got to break even yet in terms of total energy, let alone break even on recoverable energy (which is limited by the fact that a thermal system like this is hard pressed to get to 40% efficiency whereas a direct to electricity system like in a Fusor type reactor can get closer to 80%). With the amount a Tokomac costs it is hard to imagine that any will be approaching economic break even for some time, though the first Fusor type system is going to get to that almost as soon as it reaches mechanical break even.

mitch said...

Scrap ID cards and all that other bollox fund this to the max and wave a pork sword at the middle east.

Anonymous said...

WTI Crude Oil today at $123.68, up 20% in 4 months.

Canned food and ammo people, not techno-fixes.

Cinnamon said...

If that doesn't work, this surely will:

"Researchers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory have just announced a groundbreaking new project called Green Freedom, which will extract CO2 from the air and convert it into fuel to power cars and airplanes."

http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/02/18/los-alamos-laboratory-harvests-fuel-from-air/

Anonymous said...

Monbiot is a dickhead and I don't give a rat's arse about enviromentalism but the airship has collosal potential. Instead of the piddling backward looking airships he describes imagine a collosal nuclear powered(fusion powered and millions of solar cells on top)disc shaped airship a mile in diameter. Hot helium, hot air or perhaps steam or a combination of all of them as the lifting gases. Such a monster could carry 10000 passengers in QM2 liner like luxury and smash its way unaffected through any weather system going. Imagine crossing the world sitting watching a 3d giant screen movie (after you've tired yourself out walking miles on the vast promenade deck). No need for sitting jet style with your knees under your chin breathing poisoned air at huge expense. Also 100 suicide bombers at once would hardly dent such an airborne monster as I propose so no more need for airport nazis and the end of civil liberties. At first I was troubled by where such vessels might land--but of course being an airship it wouldn't need to--such craft would constantly fly around the earth and you be carried up to it by a smaller airship. No more time now but think about it.

John A said...

"Of all the charges levelled against environmentalists, perhaps the most unfair is the accusation that we are opposed to technological change."

And as proof he cites the airship? A technology well over a century old? And of which he knows nothing, as shown by his seeming to think that the Hindenburg and its hydrogen is still about the height of tech - Hey George, the Big H used hydrogen because Germany could not get helium (already in use for years at the time) because it was a "strategic material" and countries (ie the US) that had it forbade its export!

Airships come up once in a while. More for cargo than passengers, as speed is generally of less concern. But I am not aware of any company that has succeeded in making a profit - possibly excluding Goodyear, which leases a blimp to television.

John A said...

Cinnamon, as you know but the article does not say, a CO2-burnablefuel converter is called a "tree", NASA or no.

The Remittance Man said...

Fusion? That's sort of, vaguely nucular sounding.


Who's willing to bet the Greenies won't try and get it classed as very, very bad stuff.

Martin Meenagh said...

The Aeros corporation has a lovely, beautiful looking airship about to start trials.

Great piece! I'm very taken with the peak oil idea and the more stories I see like this the less gloomy I get