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Thread: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

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    Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    A working stellarator is reported to be on track, and functioning as planned.
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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    I hope this will replace the nuclear plants within 10 years.

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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    Quote Originally Posted by MarcelTimmer View Post
    I hope this will replace the nuclear plants within 10 years.
    Not a chance. ITER (the test/research fusion reactor being built in France) doesn't even expect to be running their full range of experiments by then. And after that they'll need to do a bunch more tests and a lot more engineering before it even gets close to being commercially viable. Fusion power has been 'about 30 years away' for several decades. We'll need at least another generation of nuclear (fission) power plants or an equally productive alternative.

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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    Probably more like 30 years

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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    Maybe once they've solved the problem of more power in than out it will become interesting, until then it's little more than theoretical engineering.

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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    Nice to think this is getting closer. But.....

    I've turned 60 now and remember sitting in front of a slide projector at school with B&W slides coming up announcing "free clean energy within 30 years" and I'm still waiting.
    Live long and prosper.

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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    For anyone else wondering what the difference between the W7-X stellarator and the ITER's tokamak are, there's a good (though long) article here. They are both based on toroidal confinement of the plasma using magnetic fields; tokamaks use a current within the plasma to achieve some of the necessary heating, but this current makes it difficult to keep the plasma stable. A stellarator doesn't have this current and has to rely wholly on other heating methods to get the plasma up to temperature for fusion; it's a more complex design, but with potentially better stability it seems better for a continuous production environment.

    I wonder how the current scale of investment into the various fusion projects compares to the investments still being made into fossil fuel discovery, development and production?

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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    Quote Originally Posted by MarcelTimmer View Post
    I hope this will replace the nuclear plants within 10 years.
    Lol...fusion is one of those science endeavours that's always 50yrs in the future.

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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    Maybe once they've solved the problem of more power in than out it will become interesting, until then it's little more than theoretical engineering.
    I expect they said that about steam power too, until Newcomen developed the atmospheric engine (which was practical but very inefficient) and then developed further by Trivithick and the high pressure steam engine.

    Technological advance tends to be incremental, with small steps, particularly as technology becomes more complex.
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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    There is no such thing as Free energy it all comes at a cost to you the general public, Plus the range of alternative free source energy like Wind, Air and solar are not being used to their maximum potential as OIL and GAS are the Dominators in the Fuel industery and makes quite a large amout of revenue for certain companies worldwide.....

    OIL and GAS remain the rest are OUT until there is a natural catastrophy where these are no longer viable fuel sources.... When will humanity wake up and realise

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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    Quote Originally Posted by c12038 View Post
    When will humanity wake up and realise
    Probably never will. When there is no humanity left I suppose. Those who remain in their doomsday bunkers will be shaking their head saying was it all worth it ? and if they are intelligent enough to recognise our curse maybe then.

    But surely, when that day comes it's already too late. Bottom line as long as there is greed there will never be progress.

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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    Quote Originally Posted by c12038 View Post
    There is no such thing as Free energy it all comes at a cost to you the general public, Plus the range of alternative free source energy like Wind, Air and solar are not being used to their maximum potential as OIL and GAS are the Dominators in the Fuel industery and makes quite a large amout of revenue for certain companies worldwide.....

    OIL and GAS remain the rest are OUT until there is a natural catastrophy where these are no longer viable fuel sources.... When will humanity wake up and realise
    I think "free energy" generally means, largely limitless and cheap to produce in vast quantities (sounds less catchy). Fusion, if cracked, has the potentially for this as Hydrogen is theoretically so abundant (although it has the habit of sticking to things, which makes it tricky to get hold of).

    There has been a large drive in renewables over the last decade, the UK is lagging behind many other countries (I think I even read something saying China was doing better). But there has been a change. Coal is pretty much dead in the UK.

    I'm personally of the view that we need to suck it up and build a bunch of Fission reactors as a stop-gap. It's not cheap nor renewable, but it should last long enough to cover the development of fusion and other technologies - but whilst there is waste, it doesn't add to our immediate problem: green-house gasses.

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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    Quote Originally Posted by c12038 View Post
    OIL and GAS remain the rest are OUT until there is a natural catastrophy where these are no longer viable fuel sources.... When will humanity wake up and realise
    And yet the amount of renewables coming online keeps increasing, I now know quite a few people with plug in cars which can better make use of it, and tax breaks for cars next year will only be for electric vehicles not the improved fossil fuel burners.

    Oil and gas will always be a viable fuel source, in the same way that we didn't run out of coal. We just ran out of people who wanted coal because oil and gas were just so much easier and cheaper to handle. If people believe they are OK in an electric car, then the low cost of re-charging will attract people.

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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    And yet the amount of renewables coming online keeps increasing, I now know quite a few people with plug in cars which can better make use of it, and tax breaks for cars next year will only be for electric vehicles not the improved fossil fuel burners.

    Oil and gas will always be a viable fuel source, in the same way that we didn't run out of coal. We just ran out of people who wanted coal because oil and gas were just so much easier and cheaper to handle. If people believe they are OK in an electric car, then the low cost of re-charging will attract people.
    Except that the energy for recharging comes largely from fossil fuels, particularly if cars are recharged overnight. It raises the question of whether it is thermodynamicslly more efficient to generate electricity to charge a battery to power a car, or to burn the fossil fuel directly to propel the car.
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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer


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    Re: Star in a jar: limitless clean energy one step closer

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Except that the energy for recharging comes largely from fossil fuels, particularly if cars are recharged overnight. It raises the question of whether it is thermodynamicslly more efficient to generate electricity to charge a battery to power a car, or to burn the fossil fuel directly to propel the car.
    Our fossil fuel based power generation is around 40% efficient (ish) and that Petrol powered cars are 25%-38% (http://www.greencarreports.com/news/...-of-38-percent) efficient, and that Diesel engines are up to 40% efficient.
    There are also losses in transmission (think power lines, substations etc) to take into account.


    However electric cars have some advantages over internal combustion cars.
    1. Regnerative braking - In town driving, the vast majority of fuel is spent on heating the brakes. Maintaining speed takes vastly less fuel than accelerating. Electric cars slow down by using the motors as generators. They still have brakes of course but they aren't used nearly as much. Manufacturers have a rating for electric cars to show what their equivalent MPG is compared to normal cars. It's the MPG equivalent rating (MPGe) Many electric cars have an MPGe rating of over 100 MPGe
    2. Reduction of localised pollution. Fossil fuel cars leave lots of nasty gasses wherever they are. Power stations don't need to be in cities. Also, since the scrubbing equipment doesn't need to me part of the car, it is viable to have a lot more of it and use a lot more weight meaning it is practical to make sure that what goes into the atmosphere is much cleaner than what comes out of a car exhaust.
    3. A significant percentage of our power now comes from Wind and Solar. That directly means that if 20% of our energy generated is zero emission, 20% of the electric car's energy is zero emission. If you really are concerned about reducing that, get some solar panels, a powerwall or similar and maybe even some wind generation on site and you can reduce it further. Note that microturbines are utter rubbish and a waste of time, effort and money. You need a good size field and a huge turbine.
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