NYT: Energy Miracles Wanted

Justin Gillis, an environmental reporter at The New York Times has begun a monthly column dealing with climate change-related problems. His first piece is entitled “In Search of Energy Miracles”, which takes its title from a TED talk by Bill Gates in 2010 where he was calling for breakthroughs in energy technology and specifically promoted a new generation of nuclear plants.

Gillis acknowledges that traditional alternatives of solar and wind are not able to provide all the energy we need, and mentions three possible candidates that could make a big difference: The Lockheed Martin fusion project; TerraPower, a ‘travelling wave reactor’ that is supposedly able to run on nuclear waste (Bill Gates is a partner in this company); and thorium based nuclear power –a plant is being built in China.

Unsurprisingly, cold fusion/LENR is not on the list, but perhaps this could be a topic for future discussions in one of his pieces. It seems like it will take something significant to happen in the LENR world for reporters in major media outlets to mention cold fusion as a possible energy solution — which is something many people are hoping to see in 2013. Of course Andrea Rossi is on the watch list, but there are other researchers and companies that are in the mix too. Perhaps Mr. Gillis should be invited to the ICCF-18 conference in at the University of Missouri this summer to hear some of what is going on in the LENR field. Registration opens on March 15th, and details of the conference can be found here.

  • captain

    Hi GW, I’ve replied.

  • http://robrites.blogspot.com Rob Lewis

    I have thought for a long time that the government, as venture investor of last resort, should be shoveling money at every energy technology that seems at all promising, in the full expectation that much of it will be “wasted” (actually it’s not wasted because it creates jobs and economic activity, and you learn a lot from the failures).

    But no, Republicans—those ever-vigilant guardians of the profits of Big Oil—choose instead to obsess on a minor setback like Solyndra, in their “death by a thousand cuts” strategy to destroy President Obama. Private venture capitalists are tickled pink if they can score one “home run” for every ten companies they fund, but if the government doesn’t bat 1.000 it is denounced in the worst possible terms.

    And on we slouch towards the climate apocalypse.

    • Omega Z

      Nope! The Government shouldn’t be into picking business adventures. Everything would be based on Campaign Contribution Merit. Not Sound business merit.

      Note that in private sector Business, 4 out of 5 business ventures go bust within the 1st 2 to 5 years. This shows They are not adverse to taking Risks considering an 80% average chance of failure. This would indicate that on occasion, they take even greater risks at times.

      If they consider it to high risk, the Government has no reason to step in, as you probably have better odds of getting hit by lightning then succeeding. The Government does a bad enough job just providing research funds. To Much Politics involved.

      Believe me,I was aware of Solyndra before the Government put money into it. It was DOA. Magnetic motors would have been a better bet & all told, Our Government has lost several billion on these little ventures as of late. Their batting average would indicate they should go back to the little leagues.

      • http://robrites.blogspot.com Rob Lewis

        1. You left something out of your statistic that 4/5 of business ventures fail. You should have said “4 of 5 business ventures THAT CAN GET FUNDED go bust…”. I don’t believe private investors have an inherently better crystal ball than government or academia. And there are all those ventures that can’t get funded because of private investors’ focus on short-term profitability. Assuming we ever have (hot) fusion power, it most assuredly won’t be because of private investment.

        It’s often said that the U.S. lacks an industrial policy, but in fact we do have a de facto one: it’s known as the Department of Defense. And it was exactly DoD’s willingness to invest (by paying far above-market prices for unproven technologies) in early chip makers like Fairchild and Intel that gave us the microchip revolution. It would not have happened in a pure “free market”.

        2. As just one example, are you familiar at all with the work of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory? They are responsible for a lot of very promising developments.

        3. Please have a look at this Atlantic article: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/03/the-sequester-is-going-to-devastate-us-science-research-for-decades/273925/. The title says it all: “The Sequester is going to devastate U.S. Science Research for Decades.” Already, less than 1% of the federal budget goes to basic science research. And we’re going to slash that even further. Nose, meet face.

  • Roger Bird

    These liberals like the NYT are conformists. They follow the crowd. Don’t expect them to think outside of the box. Doing such a thing is way too scary for them.

    • robyn wyrick

      I don’t mean to pick a fight with you, but it does seem ironic that you would single out “liberals” as not thinking outside the box.

      I’m fairly confident that the notion of “liberal” – at least in juxtaposition to “conservative” – is almost synonymous with thinking outside the box.

      Though, of course, if you want to get far out of the box, as I think we might, then probably the people we need are “radicals”, “artists”, and “free thinkers”.

      • Roger Bird

        Dear Robyn, my understanding of these generalizations are that liberals are going to be better at group-think (or group-feel) than conservatives. And group-feel has it’s place. God knows that we are way too alienated in the USA. I barely know my neighbors, and those I do (barely) know I wish that I didn’t. I am not so good at the kumbayah. And conservatives are more likely to think things through, but they tend to be too cold and distant. At least that is how I see it. There is a place for both. But I wouldn’t expect the liberals to think outside the box. In simple terms, liberals are more feeling oriented, and conservatives are more thought oriented. (:->)

  • GreenWin

    An interesting experiment in the intelligence of the New York Times, will be to see when and if they allow Justin to write about SKINR, LENR, the still unfolding checkered history of cold fusion, etc. e.g. will the NY Times even reprint the MU News Bureau press release on Graham Hubler? Will Justin stumble upon the wide press coverage of NASA’s story on LENR water heaters?

    Will the Sus Scrofa grow wings?

    • Omega Z

      Only when he receives the Memo from the Boss to do so.

  • Peter_Roe

    Even ignoring LENR (as people like Gillis seem inclined to do) there is an almost inexhaustible and thus far virtually untapped source of energy that is relatively clean compared with many other fossil fuels – methane hydrate (fire ice) trapped under permafrost in places like Alaska and Siberia, and under the shallow waters of many continental shelves.

    http://www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=6958

    Much of the less deeply buried or submerged methane hydrate deposits tend to evaporate into the atmosphere anyway over time, so we may as well use it. As methane in the atmosphere produces about 50x more ‘greenhouse effect’ than the CO2 it would produce when burned, then using the stuff as fuel could be seen as reducing by a factor of 50 the overall warming effect it would otherwise produce (if you worry about such things). So fuel up your methane powered 2-ton, 3-litre turbo utility truck and go for a long and pointless burn-up somewhere – it’s for the good of the planet!

    • GreenWin

      Honestly Peter, this is an extravagant use of a vastly dwindling fossil resource. However, if it will end the disturbing growth of the Antarctic ice pack (3-4% last 30 years) I will phone my utility truck distributor tomorrow.

      • Peter_Roe

        “disturbing growth…” Obviously due to, er, anthropogenic global warming (somehow), just like the warming on Mars and Jupiter which we are probably causing by not turning TVs off rather than to standby, also meteorites over Russia, crimping your fingers in the fridge door, etc. etc.

        • Greenwin

          I have it on some authority that Martian and Jupiter warming is due to human exhalation of pollutant CO-2. The 2012 record of 19 million sq km polar ice in Antarctic – could be a sympathetic reaction to the sudden increase in China’s refrigerator sales…

          • robyn wyrick

            I get really confused, you two. I find your comments on alternative energy to be excellent and informed – a real bright spot.

            But I have a good friend at NASA who is a leading researcher in clouds and atmospheric reflectivity. He is unequivocal about the fact of global climate change.

            I don’t presume my research to be perfect, and I’m certainly no climate scientist, but from what I can find, the evidence of global climate change – and in particular, anthropogenic climate change – appears overwhelming.

            I’m always willing to entertain alternate readings on things (which is how I became a fan of this site, and frankly, of you two), but I don’t see it. I don’t see how this is dismissible.

            All my best,

            Robyn

            • GreenWin

              Robyn, as I have pointed out below, NASA’s Chief Scientist has stated that LENR would solve “global climate and energy.”

              Why is it then, that the climate campaign has not adopted LENR?? Here we have a respected scientist, amongst dozens of other scientists – all of whom indicate LENR is a real, potentially viable replacement for carbon combustion and fission.

  • Gerrit
    • GreenWin

      The pool of respected cold fusion researchers grows. An excellent appointment for SKINR.

  • GreenWin

    “No other single technology even comes close to the potential impacts of LENR upon Agency Missions.

    * Test/ determine the performance of the Rossi and Piantelli devices
    * Experimentally validate the weak interaction theories
    * The 2 decades of experiments and the weak interaction theories have removed the existential risk, what is remaining is to ENGINEER for improved performance. Also obviously all the safety issues, labs have blown up studying this arena
    * SO – Invent/ create optimized/ improved LENR “Devices”, testing “Rossi” is merely a small first step, do the systems and propulsive/other application R&D

    * BTW LENR [ also] solves Global Climate and Energy
    Dr. Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist, NASA Langley Research Center

    Ah, recall the days when a reporter actually did their job…

  • captain

    The ‘energy miracle’ is a reality and its name is LENR thru E-CAT.

    Hi Frank, try to ask it to the Blacknight on his Whitehorse here:

    http://www.babcock.com/

    • Nezo

      Have the rest of us missed anything? How can you be so matter of fact about this when we have had nothing really substantial from Rossi and his E-Cat, when it should’ve been relatively easy to quench doubt? I’m not saying that it is wrong to believe in the E-Cat. I hope that it is true and I still think that it is, even though I grow more pessimistic as time passes, but stating what you did like it’s a matter of fact beyond all doubt just makes you seem overly zealous if not indoctrinated.

      • Paolo

        @Nezo Why don’t you take into account that some contributors of this blog can be well informed? If you accept this possibility, your neurons will be no more so shocked…

        • captain

          Hi Paolo, U’re right!
          E-Cat is italian, his inventor is italian, both coming from Italy, practical LENR comes from Italy, where a lot of scientists/researchers believed since the first in F&P exteriments.
          Thus… I’m not a magician, but reading accurately on what said by Rossi, and knowing perfectly the italian language, and ‘decripting’ too some italian blogs usually well technically informed, it’s not hard to find out what I’ve already said time ago.

          1- Rossi should have already sold his IP rights to the new [unknown 😉 ] strong american partner, that in Italy is identified with the BABCOCK & WILCOX Company;

          2- Rossi is now Chief of Scientists within the “new Leonardo” co. and is the only authorised spokesperson, until…

          3- …E-Cat approved, 3rd parties, USPTO, UL certifications, validations, brevets, patents a.s.o. released, because B&W should be waiting for that moment for …

          4- …clearing the escrow’s final step

          So, it’s a logical consequence, beyond any technical consideration, to start asking infos elsewhere and not to Rossi exclusively.

          • Peter_Roe

            B&W would be a good ‘fit’ and their name was suggested on this blog quite some time ago. However there is a ‘contra-indication’, which is that B&W are investing very heavily ($1.65B) in ‘carbon capture’ technology, which will become obsolete overnight when CF is available.

            It’s possible of course that they know that politicians will initially attempt to block LENR and may continue to throw taxpayer’s money at stupidities like CC.

            http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/power_city/2013/03/babcock-wilcox-starts-new-phase-of.html

            • captain

              Quoted fm your link:….The work is part of the $1.65 billion FutureGen project supported by the U.S. Department of Energy…
              1st – To live quietly, never let go down gov.t projects, but support them.
              2nd – Don’t talk absolutely nothing ‘in advance’ of LENR before having an 1MW hot thermal plant running satisfactorily and producing electric energy, better if in a SSM.
              3rd – I’m not introduced in the economy/finance world, but I suppose there should be some rules to avoid creating disturbs on the market before communicating that B&W have acquired the IP of Rossi’s E-Cat technology. So in the meantime, nothing made public before a non-military generating plant running efficiently and safely.

              • GreenWin

                Cap… do we have any evidence of a partnership between B&W and Rossi? BWC trades on the NYSE and is subject to SEC regulation. Had they merged or acquired a new business, the transaction would be recorded at SEC.

                Has any such transaction taken place?

                • captain

                  As Rossi said, under NDA .-)

                • GreenWin

                  🙂 damn!