The Middle East

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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The Middle East

Postby sd_matt » Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:36 pm

What are your thoughts on the oil producers slowly seeing their oil revenues go to near zero?

Kind of a side note; Dr. Bussard said that production of alcohol would be feasible. What about conversion to a hydrogen economy? I don't remember the exact figures for K/wh of electricity produced by a Polywell.

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Postby rj40 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:02 pm

This discussion went around a few years back.

Maybe not much at first, since so much electricity is from coal. But if we could use Polywell energy to convert that coal to gasoline...perhaps that would start to put the squeeze on police states in the middle east, and eurasia, and south america...and...

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Postby sd_matt » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:08 pm

do you have the thread links?

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Postby Giorgio » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:20 pm

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Postby jsbiff » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:11 pm

I'm of the opinion it will be a bit of a long, slow decline.

Let's say that EMC2 and the Navy finish their tests, and release a press release to the world about the advent of plentiful, safe, clean, cheap fusion power.

1) Even assuming a capital investment frenzy in PW reactors (which isn't necessarily guaranteed, but seems reasonable), it will take something on the order of a decade to get enough of them built to really make a difference, and to begin to displace coal, natural gas, etc.

The most immediate effect wouldn't be that coal, oil, and gas plants get shutdown, but simply that you get a pretty quick drop-off in orders to build new coal, gas, oil, fission plants. Many hydrocarbon and fission plants will continue to operate. Even once you get quite a few fusion plants up and running, the others will continue to operate for a time at reduced profits (if the price of electricity drops enough that running such a plant nears or reaches the break-even point, utilities will being decommissioning them, but that will take awhile to reach that point).

2) During this initial 'conversion' phase, I think electricity prices will gradually begin to come down, but I wouldn't expect any sudden drop. During this conversion, I think most personal/family vehicles, cargo trucks (lorries/tractor-trailers), boats, planes, ships, military vehicles, construction equipment, etc, etc, will all continue to predominantly use gas or diesel, meaning that, I think, during that first decade, there will be little reduction in the global demand for petroleum.

If for no other reason, that people don't throw away perfectly good, useable vehicles just to convert to a new, cheaper energy source - if you've already spent $30,000 on a new car a year ago, it doesn't make sense to replace it just to save maybe $2000 on gas. But, there is another big reason - electric vehicles are really still in their infancy as a technology, and hydrogen vehicles are currently non-existent as well as the infrastructure for refueling.

Cargo ships and cruise ships are an interesting target for deploying Polywells - I think they will be some of the earliest targets for deployment of PWs, but even at that, it will probably take years for designs to be created, tested, approved, and go into production. Meanwhile, you have a fleet of existing ships which all use oil for their power (it may be that some existing ships could be retrofitted with PWs, instead of completely replacing the ship, but even then, that only makes sense for ships older than a certain age, so that the owner of the boat has recovered enough profit from the original engine to justify the retrofit), so it will take decades for the world-wide fleet to substantially convert.

Small, recreational boats (fishing boats, sailboat, yachts) will, of course, like small vehicles, not ever be good targets for PW reactors (although, small boats might possibly be good targets for hydrogen motors, or hydrogen fuel cells, similar to cars).

3) I don't think during the initial conversion phase, electricity will get cheap *enough* to encourage the use of fusion-sourced energy to be used to increase things like the extraction of oil from tar sands/shales, production of synthetic hydrocarbons, gassification of coal, etc (after a time, it probably will). But, once that does happen, the price of gasoline and diesel may actually come *down* as the cheap energy from fusion 'subsidizes' the price of petroleum products.

That may have the effect of lowering profit margins for OPEC nations, but it also means that there is increased incentive, for a time, for everyone to keep using gasoline and diesel vehicles (because the price of fuel goes down, meaning there's even less incentive to switch to electric or hydrogen vehicles).

4) After a decade or two, when enough fusion reactors have been built so that electricity costs begin to substantially fall, there will begin a serious push towards more electric vehicles, or hydrogen, or something along those lines (depending on technological advances with respect to vehicles, hydrogen generation, battery technology, etc).

Once that push begins, I think the oil companies and oil-producing nations will begin to see a long (1-2 decades) decline in oil demand. Long enough that if their leadership has any foresight, they can cope pretty well with the change.

I might be wrong, but I just really seeing it taking somewhere on the order of 3-4 decades after a cheap fusion reactor (like, hopefully, a Polywell), is available, before oil producers start to hurt.

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Postby sd_matt » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:03 am

If the idea works then there is a wild card of sorts. How would a Polywell built in 2025 compare in cost to the first one used in an operational power plant?

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Postby KitemanSA » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:04 pm

Not TOO long ago (jeez, maybe twenty years?) the Saudi government provided funding to the MIGMA group for fusion research because they understood that oil would run out... and they had a lot of lithium salts that formed the fuel basis for MIGMA. Well, where you find lithium salts, you often find Borax. pB&j anyone?

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Postby PMN1 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:14 pm

Reports of the Saudi King ordering a review on new oil drilling have popped up over the past few days.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has ordered a halt to oil exploration operations to save the hydrocarbon wealth in the world's top crude exporting nation for future generations, the official Saudi Press Agency, or SPA, reported late Saturday.

"I was heading a cabinet meeting and told them to pray to God the Almighty to give it a long life," King Abdullah told Saudi scholars studying in Washington, according to SPA.

"I told them that I have ordered a halt to all oil explorations so part of this wealth is left for our sons and successors God willing," he said.

A senior oil ministry official, who declined to be named, told Zawya Dow Jones the king's order wasn't an outright ban but rather meant future exploration activities should be carried out wisely.

Saudi Arabia, the largest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumped oil unchanged at 8.26 million barrels a day in June, a survey by Dow Jones Newswires showed Thursday. The kingdom is pumping about 209,000 barrels above its target.

The kingdom's recoverable crude oil and condensate reserves stood at 260.1 billion barrels at the end of 2009, the world's largest, according to state-run Saudi Arabian Oil Co, or Aramco. The world's biggest oil company said in its 2009 annual review published in June that it discovered two fields--a non-associated gas field and an oil field--last year.

"Saudi Arabia will continue to maintain a strategically important balancing role in global oil markets and to provide adequate supply in line with the maintenance of its 12.5 million barrels of daily crude oil capacity," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Riyadh-based Banque Saudi Fransi-Credit Agricole.

"King Abdullah's message does not mean that Saudi Arabia is changing it's view of the country's global oil balancing role or its commitments but only that it should be mindful of its future usage," he said.

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Postby PMN1 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:17 pm

Something to remember is the ME has the cheapest to pump oil so even as oil demand falls, it will increasingly come form the region as other more expensive regions are priced out.

However, whether the reduced prices will continue to generate enough revenue to keep the lid on the population is another matter with all that means for the vulnerability of supply form the region.

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Postby Roger » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:43 pm

Oil exploration in KSA has paid a good return in nearly 20 yrs, because all the significant plays were drilled 40 to 60 yrs ago and are in decline and early water injection has made gospogs the main bottleneck on production. When you pumping out oil that's 60% water or worse you need gospogs.

Light sweet crude from the ME is no longer a big seller as light sweet productio has been in decline. These days the big volume products are API 32-36, quite often with sulfur %'s over 2%.

Hydrogen tech vs batteries for electric cars vs polywell powered liquid fuel from coal. They are all possible and have negative technical issues, I say let the market sort it out. % of electricity from coal has dropped from 52 to 48 in 3 yrs due to increases in nat gas, solar and wind. Is rthis the start of the decline for coal? I dunno. The upside for solar and wind is currently looking @ at growth. Hopefully followed by polywells. So what's in the lead and has momentum? Solar wind electric cars. I see liquid fuels as not politically viable and will start a decline. IRCC hydrogen fuel cells require platinum and should be veiwed as similar to batteries.

There is considerable political support for electic cars solar and wind and a new smart grid.. Isee nothing on the political horizon that shows any promise of reversing those political realities except for anuetronic fusion.
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.

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