First tier, second tier

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

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CharlesKramer
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First tier, second tier

Postby CharlesKramer » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:03 am

If fusion is successful as a source of electricity that is clean, cheap, and decentralized (p-11b without needing big capital investment for steam and turbines) EVERYTHING will change.

Cheap electricity would:

-- substitute for natural gas for electricity and heating

-- help provide feedstocks for industry -- including cheap hydrogen (from cracking water) to provide fresh water from cracked seawater, ammonia from hydrogen + atmospheric nitrogen, aluminum and other metals by electrolytic processing, and zillion other things and combinations.

-- cheap ammonia also makes a good transportation fuel

The first tier of changes are possible to guess:

-- no more coal, no more fracking

-- the global warming debate ends

-- competition for mid-East oil stops

-- many major concerns (peak oil, acid rain, Fukushima) become obsolete

And the cheaper and simpler fusion boxes are to build, the more than happens over-night -- in years, not decades, perhaps.

And probably many more (any suggestions)?

I think the second and tertiary consequences are impossible to determine. Every first tier change will have dozens of sequela. For example, coal becoming obsolete will initially harm (even kill) the railroads that exist mostly to transport coal. But cheap electricity might make super-fast super-conducting levitation trains practical.

All probably more fodder for a science fiction imagination than for a computer model or mere futurist.

- CBK
================================
CBK
Blog: http://www.provideocoalition.com/ckramer

ltgbrown
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby ltgbrown » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:26 am

Think about shipping. You could build a 50 kt ship that doesn't need to be refueled for months, years even. How about a space station with hundreds of mega watts of power available?

Think about negotiations with Iran. "You say it is about energy production. How about we give you a fusion reactor and you give us all your fission fuel." What could they possibly say to that?

Think about Europe, specifically Ukraine, and the leverage Russia has over them. It disappears completely in just a decade, along with over half of the Russian economy.

Think about developing countries where electricity is incredibly expensive. Fusion now becomes part of our foreign aid packages that leads to greater stability and therefore economic opportunities.

As you said, everything would change, if fusion can be done cheaply. ITER is not cheap but pretty much a sure bet. Polywell is cheap, but (at least publicly) an unknown bet. Same with Focus Fusion and GF and some others. So, its not just fusion that will change everything, its cheap fusion. So, if you can burn PB11 cheaply, then everything changes and the changes will happen quickly. If you can't do it cheaply, then everything will change, but it happen much more slowly. The reasons to embrace fusion would then become logistical (fewer hazardous materials and smaller fuel requirements) and political (its safer, easier to fuel (think energy independence), and doesn't feed weapons production, i.e. Iran) reasons, vice economic.

In another post, there was a comment (I am paraphrasing) that China's economy can incorporate new technology faster due to its top-down directed nature. I would disagree. If something is an incredible economic advantage, a market driven economy can incorporate it significantly faster because you have so many factions working to find ways to utilize it, vice a single entity at the top. It is important here because if fusion can be done cheaply, then the countries of the world with market based economies will incorporate it (and therefore benefit from it) faster and deeper than countries with a top-down driven economy. If you can't do fusion cheaply, then that will reverse unless the political will exists to put in place the regulations and taxes in the free markets to make the not-cheap fusion be the economical choice. Right now, I don't see that kind of political will existing here in the US. It might exist is Europe. But not in South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, etc. So, China and Russia (top-down driven economies) and some middle eastern countries (specifically UAE) maybe, will end up leading the incorporation of fusion into their economies.

I believe (to use a word with religious connotations) that cheap fusion burning PB11 is not that far away and I am excited to be alive to see it.
Famous last words, "Hey, watch this!"

ladajo
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby ladajo » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:57 pm

along with over half of the Russian economy.


It is things like this that make me worry somewhat. But on the other hand, as pointed out above, it takes time to change. And that may counter balance the destabilizing effects of such a major shift in "the way things are done".

I also think that Gary makes good points on the nature of change implimentation. I believe he is valid to consider the top down and will thoughts as he has.

The change in maritime transport (PB11) alone will rewrite the global economy and political power lanes. Shipping and air are the top burners of fuel.
That will be the pointy end of the stick regarding change in my thoughts. The shipping industry will move quickly to convert. Behind that will be navys, and then behind that or concurrently will be national infrastructures.

The problem children will be the oil economies that will collapse. You think Iran is backed into a corner now, see what they think when they are told oil doesn't really matter anymore. Similar thing with Russia. For China, I think they would be happy, but would still seek control of surrounding seas from a food aspect (and national pride, which is about the only thing holding the house of cards together right now).

Anyway, good post above.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)
What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

mvanwink5
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby mvanwink5 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:21 pm

I realize most folk's first thoughts go to fossil fuel, but my first thoughts go to fresh water and the impact is agriculture.

For economic transitions, just the option of fusion will cause a crash in oil prices as Oilpeck will loose control of their members as they try to unload as much oil before prices crater. Socialist countries like Venezuela exist only by subsidy of their oil. Imagine how the Marxist dream will do without oil dollars. So, political and economic impacts won't wait for actual rollout.

All it takes is one successful dark horse fusion method to succeed and money will jump at the competing approaches. Personally, my 2 cent bet is on GF as it is the only approach that I have seen recent progress information. I expect net fusion hardware investment cash to be committed in 2014 predicated on full scale plasma compression tests reaching net fusion plasma injector targets (Q1 2014?). Even VC funding commitments for net fusion hardware will shake the ground, especially if it is GF as their approach controls investment risks. If GF gets the last full scale component (plasma injector) proven, since VC's are already committed to go for net fusion hardware with proven full scale components, it will be a shock to ITER crowd, the water mellon energy cronies (solar, wind), and dreamers of one big green socialist world government.

I think 2014 will be the exciting year. I am betting my full 2 cents on it.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

ladajo
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby ladajo » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:30 pm

I don't know about this year, but I am thinking within the next three it will be clear.

But you are correct, the privates are pushing ahead, and if they build any momentum, such as GF is seeming to portray, step aside.

It will be interesting to see what happens with ITER if a Dark Horse pulls ahead.

I also agree that the oil economies will be seeking to maximize what they can. But they are not dummies, and there is enough corruption in the system that they should be able to sustain for a bit artificially, then drop like a duck hit with birdshot.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

KitemanSA
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby KitemanSA » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:31 pm

Of course, if the ARPA-E grants bear fruit...
http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/01/arpa-e ... of-up.html

ladajo
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby ladajo » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:34 pm

Cross post from the Rossi thread.

To be clear, ARPA-E is not focusing on LENR. It is but a single mention in a large category. What concerns me about this is that it is not for basic research, but development. And $500K ain't squat for real development.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

mvanwink5
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby mvanwink5 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:56 pm

I think Rossi is sub-fringe, wasteful controversy, best left in its relegated topic. Consider this just my opinion.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

ladajo
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:18 pm
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby ladajo » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:50 pm

Yes, I did not mean to drag the idiot in here. Just pointing out that Kite's link was over there as well courtesy of Rossibot Axil.

No more mention here.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

CharlesKramer
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby CharlesKramer » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:11 am

mvanwink5 wrote:will cause a crash in oil prices as Oilpeck

I wonder.

In particular, I wonder about the extent to which cheap electricity from fusion can substitute for everything else.

Fusion can't *directly* replace oil as a transportation fuel, or as an industrial feedstock. Fusion-derived cheap electricity can crack water for hydrogen, and that is the root for many useful compounds (for example, ammonia). Ditto cheap electricity would make aluminum correspondingly cheap, and perhaps other metals that can be electrolytically derived.

But quality of metal ores has been in decline for literally thousands of years. In antiquity, ore quality may have been 100% metal -- the discovery that pounding certain pretty rocks (especially gold and copper) become useful when whacked with a rock.

But by the 1800s "good" copper ore was down to 3% copper, and by 1900 1.5% was good. Today good copper ore is only 0.6% copper. (I haven't read the origin of those statistics for awhile, so the details may be off, but the order of magnitude is correct).

Something similar happened with iron. The iron mines of New Jersey shut partly because much better ore (60% out of the ground!) came from the USA's Mesabi Range; now good iron ore is more like 35% iron.

Bottom line: no matter how cheap electricity is, can it overcome declines in supplies of good ore? And lots of other things are in decline -- clean fresh water, the fertility of soil for farming.....

Is there a chemist in the house?

CBK
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CBK
Blog: http://www.provideocoalition.com/ckramer

CharlesKramer
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby CharlesKramer » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:17 am

ltgbrown wrote:over half of the Russian economy.

I wonder.

Oil has uses (for example, as an industrial feedstock) that may continue to make it valuable.

But if you are correct that fusion will kill oil economies, isn't that just a part of the equation? Because fusion should also spread prosperity.

As long as fusion fuels are not geographically favored (so, no danger, presumably, of the rise of an 11-boron version of OPEC) then prosperity should be less dependent on geography.
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CBK
Blog: http://www.provideocoalition.com/ckramer

mvanwink5
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby mvanwink5 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:54 am

CK,
Think replacement of natural gas and oil for electric generation just for a start. Aluminum and titanium are heavy electric power consumers. Russia will be fine, it is socialist countries that depend on oil pumped out of the ground to tankers sitting in their harbors expecting a check that will have one more straw added on their proletariat camel's back.

Prosperity is dependent on free market organization of economies. Modern economies are too complex for totalitarian, socialist, heavily regulated, bureaucratic controlled, big government strangled societies. As long as people think government is the solution to anything not even cheap fusion power will help. Heck, Chavez was having trouble getting oil to the waiting ships in port, and food rotted in his warehouses while the shelves were bare. So, he arrested the shop owners. It won't take much to finish those guys off, they barely can keep their cities from falling down.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

prestonbarrows
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby prestonbarrows » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:52 am

CharlesKramer wrote:...But quality of metal ores has been in decline for literally thousands of years. ...


NASA and private industry are learning how to tug-boat asteroids into lunar orbits for the purpose of exploration and mining.

also,
lhttp://www.nasa.gov/content/new-nasa-m ... asteroids/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSIRIS-REx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Space_Industries

Wild stuff.
Last edited by prestonbarrows on Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

CharlesKramer
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby CharlesKramer » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:28 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:Prosperity is dependent on free market organization of economies.
That is a common attitude, and it surprises me. It seems obsolete in light of the rise of communist China, which combines local free markets with top-down long range planning. Whatever else can be said about Chinese society (and I am not advocating its methods for the USA or anywhere) it has for decades grown faster than any place else.

My guess is cooperation and planning on an international level will increase because problems require it -- Fukushima, for example.

But however anyone gets to prosperity (which I won't debate) the most direct way to measure prosperity is energy per capita: the more, the more prosperity. The technocrats (a movement in the 1930s through the 1950s, mostly, I think) wanted to make that association explicit by replacing dollars with energy units --- to reflect the reality that every dollar (and Euros) etc. equate to a part of a barrel of oil.

England's recent history helps illustrate this point. For many, the debate is over market policies (free market Thatcher v. Labor); but the more accurate explanation for England's ups and downs is probably North Sea petroleum. When production was riding England was a net exporter and prosperity rose; now North Sea petroleum is in steep decline....

The big issue is when will the earth reach its carrying capacity -- a level of energy per capita better than which cannot be achieved, when growth ends as a goal, and the world learns to thrive in a steady state. If that's possible. With fossil fuels the Earth's carrying capacity arguably passed a few years ago.

Fusion might change that, and start a whole new game.

- Charles
================================
CBK
Blog: http://www.provideocoalition.com/ckramer

CharlesKramer
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Re: First tier, second tier

Postby CharlesKramer » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:40 pm

prestonbarrows wrote:earning how tub-boat asteroids into lunar orbits for the purpose of exploration and mining

That *is* wild!
And surprising. It implies a lack of confidence in terrestrial sources, including under-sea sources. Maybe the space boys (and girls) will come up with something brilliant (a ore-capacity space elevator?), but difficult to imagine metals not being more scarce and more expensive in the future -- even with fusion powered electrolytic extraction of local ores.

CBK
================================
CBK
Blog: http://www.provideocoalition.com/ckramer


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