Yes. Foolish engineers. They actually have to deal with things like finance.chrismb wrote:Well, that's dim-witted, shortsightedness for you! You can tell the engineers who are stuck in their ways... you just can't tell 'em much. As I've said above (but will repeat - because of my personal insecurities over not making my point well!) if someone said "hey, I've just found a 20GW power source that needs [essentially] no fuel" you can be damned sure people will find a way to tap it - what! d'you they'll just say "err, sorry, too much power for us, better leave it. We'll stick with coal, thanks..." yeah! sure..... This thread question, over whether there is some limiting ceiling on the amout of power that can be made use of, is completely daft!kurt9 wrote:The utility people they discussed this with actually laughed in their faces.
To give a ridiculous example to make the point.
"Why not build a power producer that has a capital cost of a billion dollars a watt? After all the fuel is free."
Currently the power companies say around $7,000 a KW is maximum and $1,000 a KW is realistic. Under $500 a KW would be ideal.
Because toks use a thermal plant to extract electrical power you also have the problem of cooling. Suppose you don't have "unlimited" water available. You need cooling towers. Fine. If you don't want 40 or 50 cooling towers per plant you can reject the heat at a higher temp. But that lowers the net power which makes your $/w worse.
Well any way. The reason engineers as a rule make more money than scientists (despite the fact that the math is easier in engineering) is because their decisions affect profitability. Money is why marketing and sales guys make more than engineers. No sales. No money.
Two things engineers have over scientists - they get logistics and know the value of time. Of course some scientists make very good engineers. But in general the demands are different.
Take the computer industry which I have worked in from time to time. Typically it takes two years to produce a new design. At two years and six months you are out of the money. For decent profitability the margin for error is one month.