Coal for Construction, Not Energy

If we are facing a future powered by LENR — or any non-carbon-based fuel — there are obviously going to be impacts on existing energy industries, and in that light I found an article entitled “Coal Doesn’t Have To Die – We Can Make Furniture Out Of It” by James Conca at Forbes interesting. He writes:

Industry and Wall Street are beginning to gear up for a new materials future. Coal as a non-burning resource will drive the expansion of new carbon-based industries that will replace wood-based, metal-based and plastic-based products such as furniture, utility poles, home-construction materials, beams, ropes, industrial belts, car bodies and a host of other products.

Think of resin chairs that could seat an elephant, last a hundred years, and be really cool looking.

Such carbon products could be used in space exploration and human habitation off-world to protect astronauts and colonists from many forms of radiation and from high energy particles using especially dense and strong forms of carbon materials and fibers. Such new carbon technology would also offer ultra-strong carbon-fiber belts for use in the space-elevator

It appears that coal is a good candidate for the production of graphene, the widely-touted new supermaterial which has incredible strength and lightness as well as heat and electrical conduction capabilities. Coal is an abundant resources widely distributed throughout the world with an already existing mining and distribution infrastructure in place.

Conca mentions that taking coal out of the energy production equation will require a new mix of energy sources, He supports “Gen III” nuclear, more natural gas and other renewables to make up the difference. The transition to an age where carbon was the basis for materials would be greatly enhanced by widespread use of LENR to provide energy in many settings — something we talk often about here.

I like James Conca’s thinking. I think articles like this provide great food for thought and discussion. We’re living in an age where it seems that technological miracles are occurring in many fields. To have the LENR and Graphene industries emerging at the same time is very exciting and I think could lead to a future that we can at present barely imagine in terms of technological advancement.

  • Gordon Docherty

    One thing that is known about the e-cat is that it needs nickel – dug from the ground, and hydrogen. So, where do we get the hydrogen from? It turns out another piece of the puzzle is falling into place: high purity hydrogen from plant waste:

    So, before you throw away that banana peel…

  • Joe Shea

    My novella, “POWER,” is about how the coal industry goes after the E Cat. To read it, go to http://www.american.reporter and scroll down to AR’s Coverage of Cold Fusion. It is the last entry, and there is a large graphic there.

  • Gordon Docherty
    • Roger Bird

      When the article got to the part about fretting about climate change and CO2 emissions, I could hardly keep from hurling. BUT, the environmental issues are real, but moot. LENR is real and on the way. I would also add that switching to renewables happens best in a strong economy; I doubt that this would matter with LENR, if LENR pays for itself quickly, which it looks like it will.

      • Gordon Docherty

        My concern is simple:

        how is “extracting more oil to burn” an advancement? Where is that spirit of curiosity, that drive and that concern for the common good that lifted us out of our humble origins to achieve what we have achieved so far – and this, only the beginning. When I read such stories I groan inwardly. No wonder our economies are in trouble when what drives them – our inventions, talents and brains – are so willfully subjugated to the greed of the few. That is why what we are doing here and elsewhere really matters, no matter what outlook on life we have, so long as we care about the fate of others, including our own descendents…

        • Roger Bird

          Before the crash in 2008, I noticed that alternative energy sites were rockin’. Bill Gates invested $100 million in an algae company that transformed CO2 into oil. The sites were humming with activity. When the market dropped 777 points (similar I guess to 666 points), those very same alternative energy sites dried up. Only a healthy economy has the excess needed to support research and development. Everyone knows that fossil energy won’t last forever. And even if it did, everyone knows that it is icky and polluting and dirty and disgusting and expensive.

  • DustyBins

    This story took me off to discover that Lockheed Martin has created “Perforene” a graphene reverse osmosis filter that is:

    “… 500 times thinner than the best filter on the market today and a thousand times stronger,” said John Stetson, the engineer who has been working on the idea. “The energy that’s required and the pressure that’s required to filter salt is approximately 100 times less.”

    Pretty soon, the world won’t need any LENR breakthrough with all this cool graphene tech coming on line.

  • Iggy Dalrymple

    I believe NanoCellulose will be the winner in the race for cheap strong materials.

    There are already plants scaling up production in the US, Canada, and Europe. The early use will probably be in medicine and healthcare but once the price comes down it will be used in the auto industry and finally in construction.

    • Roger Bird

      I like it, except,

      1) What is the US Forest Service doing running a business? Monopolies are bad, unless the government is running it?

      2) Proving that something is safe is very difficult since one is proving a negative, which is sort of impossible. So, for food, well, don’t we already have enough pseudo-foods, frankenfoods, junk food, phood?

      3) I didn’t know that kevlar is stiff. I thought that it was pliable, which is why it is used in bullet proof vests.

  • barty

    From Vortex-l:

    Akira Shirakawa Mon, 15 Jul 2013 07:16:12 -0700
    This is unconfirmed news, but it seems there will be a Defkalion GT demo in Milan, Italy on July 22nd which will be live streamed on the internet and during ICCF18. Some skeptics, scientists and journalists from the international press have been invited to this demo. More details will be made available in due time.


    PS: This is my birthday! Such a demo would be a nice present 😉

    • Bernie Koppenhofer

      I just hope Defkalion does not screw up and feed the skeptics. We must remember every demonstration Rossi has done has been met with crazy skeptics, like “there is a wire coming out of the cement floor”, “the reactor is full of batteries”, “the ground wire is supplying electricity”. There is no reason to assume Defkalion’s demonstration will be any different.

      • Roger Bird

        To be completely honest, I hope that Defkalion gives the skeptopaths reason to dance with glee. Although I suppose that this would be bad for funding, and some people would be discouraged. Both would be bad. But I am convinced, and a big failure on Defkalion’s part would set the skeptopaths up for a BIG, BIG, BIG embarrassment, the likes of which the world has not seen for more than a hundred years. The only good skeptopath is one eating LOTS and LOTS of crow. (:->) I am looking for some serious payback for their so often maliciousness.

    • fortyniner

      That makes sense, as we already know they teamed up with Mose SRL in Milan for their R&D (5 via Bastia, Milano 20139). Looks like they’re planning on going head to head with Rossi on his home turf.

      I’m looking forward to your birthday almost as much as you may be! (unless you are over 40, in which case, probably more).

  • GreenWin

    Sounds like a logical transition already underway. If graphene finds as many uses as are imagined, coal will be a likely feedstock. But as far as the elephant bearing chair, no thanks. If forest for fuel-use is phased out by LENR, I prefer a chair of solid knotty pine. Natural wood has so much more “presence” than artificial materials IMO.

    On a tangential thought, we are seeing the slow, steady acceptance of the end to hot fusion. A recent article in Science Magazine notes the end of the European Atomic Energy Community JET project set for 2018. With the US programs now (essentially) closed and JET scheduled to terminate, this leaves only one reminder of HF folly – ITER. And it is on life support, running 300% over budget.

    The positive factor here is acceptance of a failed mainstream science. HF has been the holy grail for 63 years and confronting and embracing its failure has been a very hard lesson. Nobel Prize winner, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, said it well:

    “We say that we will put the sun into a box. The idea is pretty. The problem is, we don’t know how to make the box.”

    Unfortunately, due largely to ego & pride, and white collar corruption, the human race has invested a quarter trillion $$$ in this idea and gotten no more than a harsh lesson back. Perhaps in the long run, that will have been worth it.

    • Roger Bird

      I’ll take the wooden chair also. And with increased prosperity all around, just think of the fine hand crafted wood furniture that we can all afford.

  • Roger Bird

    I am confused about the motivation of mainstream physicists for opening their big traps and making negative pronouncements about LENR. If LENR is not true and they keep quiet, they lose nothing and gain nothing. If LENR is not true, and they yap, they gain only ego enhancement. If LENR is true, and they keep quiet, they save themselves from looking stupid. If LENR is true, and they yap, they look really stupid.

    I guess that they are so sure of themselves that they like to enhance their egos. How they can be so sure of themselves at this point is beyond reasonable. I have always said that people who are secure aren’t paying attention and don’t understand life.

  • Preston

    Sorry, but NO. We can’t keep using coal, oil, or natural gas. Unless we can reverse the buildup of CO2 even plastics are a problem.

    CO2 has been rising since the 1800’s when just a few trains were running, plastics may take a little longer, but they eventually decay and release CO2, even that small amount is too much. A lot of natural gas goes to make fertilizer, that’s a problem also.

    Plastics can be made from plant materials, but are there other options for fertilizer?

    • psi

      You might want to cross examine your own assumption that C02 is a problem. Not that I support coal mining as such, but the notion of C02 as a pollutant is just getting old and tired. There is no basis for it in fact. The claim that CO2 is having a measurable, let alone catastrophic, impact on global climate is increasingly dubious. See, for example, here or here: CO2 is, on the other hand, good for plants.

    • Gordon Docherty

      Release CO2 slowly enough, and there are plenty of “bugs” out there that can convert that CO2 into something more benign or at least more useful and less of a problem – not to mention plants, of course. As ever, it is time that is the “old enemy” in this case. Using LENR allows the carbon cycle to take care of that excess CO2… Following is a link to a particularly good video on just how lucky – blessed – our Earth really is

    • George N

      We can probubly just plant a few more trees and call it a day without killing off all our jobs. Besides, the next volcano eruption will cancel out any CO2 emissions that we may have tried to save — mother nature is very good at overcoming changes — she didnt survive for hundreds of millions of years for nothing!

    • Roger Bird

      The reason that CO2 has been climbing since the late 1800’s is that the Little Ice Age was over and warming oceans are releasing gases, including CO2. Your idea of the ultra-sensitivity of the climate is NOT supported by even the most strident AGW scientist, and in fact it sounds like the most strident AGW hysterian that I have ever met. If what you say is true, then we all need to hold our breaths.

      Plant growth is increasing to take ADVANTAGE of the higher CO2 levels. It is a dynamic self-correcting “system” which humans have a very small effect on.

  • Thinks4Self

    Even with electric furnaces coal will be needed in the steel industry for decades to come. Coal is used for more than just heating. It is hard to make high carbon steel without the carbon or even regular steel without coke.

  • Andrew Ma

    Mark Gibbs posted new article – Why “Cold Fusion” Has to Die
    in Forbes.

    Until we know what is really happening, the term “Anomalous Energy System” (or something like it) would allow greater acceptance by the science community.

  • artefact

    On Forbes by Mark Gibbs:

    Why “Cold Fusion” Has to Die

    • Gordon Docherty

      Mark Gibbs talks about using the term “Anomalous Energy Systems (AES)” over “Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR)” – well, both are better than “Hydrogen Loaded Nano-scale Metal Lattices Under Frequency Specific Excitation Leading To Localized Rydberg Matter Reaction Clusters – HLNMLUFSELTLRMRC”, which is probably more accurate, but doesn’t slip off the tongue the same way AES and LENR do, so I’ll stick with those for now! A good article, mind.

      On a not unrelated topic (Rust promises hydrogen power boost) underlines that nano-scale lattice / frequency specific radiation excitation is the way to go…

      • Iggy Dalrymple

        Let’s call it “ARBAN” (A Rose By Any Name).

      • Roger Bird

        I read the article. Very interesting. However, in 20 years, when the dust settles, there will be one winner, one champion, standing alone. And that champion will be . . . . . uh, what are we calling it this week? I forget. (:->) Oh, yeah, LENR, that’s it. LENR will be standing alone as the energy champion of the world.

    • fortyniner

      The ‘name’ topic has been quite well hammered on this blog. I think the general concensus has been that ‘cold fusion’ will do until some theory is substantiated, at which point a new name will probably emerge anyway. If a few physicist’s heads explode as a result of calling it CF in the meantime – well so be it.

      If Gibbs goes fast enough he may even catch up with discussions on e-catworld one day.

      • artefact

        I’d also stay with it (and LENR) until it is known what is happening.

        • Blanco69

          Agreed. Rossi doesn’t need acceptance from the scientific community. All he needs is time to bring the ecat to the market. At that point I dont think anyone, us included, will care what the process is called.

      • Karl

        I agree it is better to use CF/LENR, even if none of these names are without problem. What actually happen is probably nit fusion and using the wording nuclear already poisonous in peoples mind by the danger and dirtiness of fission power stations. I guess we have to live with the difficulties and wait to nail naming of the phenomena or phenomena’s until there is a plausible physical theory behind the anomalous heat phenomena.

        When finally products are getting commercially available, it would speed up serious investment in product development and research. The outcome of this future work should lead to a better wording and hopefully a physical theory that can explain the phenomena and perhaps a general physical theory with fewer enigmas.

      • GreenWin

        It is humorous that the latest patent filings from the United States Navy, Larry Forsely, JWK, etc… “A Hybrid Fusion Fast Fission Reactor” – incorporate all manner of cold fusion references. There is even an incorporated reference to ICCF-7 which is of course the International Conference on Cold Fusion.

        Apparently, the fact that cold fusion turns out to have been a good and valuable avenue of research since 1989 – is too much for mainstream narcissists and egos. Their mouthpiece Mr. Gibbs, hopes that by altering the name, the public will forget the enormous disservice done by Koonin, Huizenga, Park and ivory towers like MIT and Cal Tech. It won’t.

        The moral history of CF and its resurrection will be just as valuable as the abundant energy it brings.

        • atanguy

          Good point GreenWin. Shall we add that one of the Navy patent application concerns transmutations, and no transmutations is possible without fusion with hydrogen of the metallic nucleus. So CF is the right name even if it doesn’t please the conventional physicists. The other name could be simply “F&P Energy”

  • sophareth camsonne

    Energy (E = mC2) is the origin of everything in the Universe. Its applications
    so endless. Our civilisation woul dramatically be changed. A new era of the
    Human kind.

    • andreiko

      Also C-300000 KM per sec = M

  • AlainCo

    Coal to fuel, may be interpreted as coal to plastic too…

    anyway we burn so much more coal and oil, that plastics and alike are not a problem.

  • Roger Bird

    Interesting. But I think that the kind of strength that various carbon combinations provide does not work for radiation protection. What is needed are big nuclei, not strength in the conventional sense like steel and carbon fibers. Although, I suppose that I could be wrong and await comments from those more knowledgeable than I am.

    • andreiko

      think of nuclear reactors that were and are arranged with graphite rods.

      • MikeP

        The graphite rods are used as moderators, not for structural strength. They’re inserted to slow down the reaction or removed to increase it as needed.

      • fortyniner

        Um, close, but no coconut MikeP! The reactor body (pile) is made of graphite, which acts to slow down or ‘moderate’ neutrons from fuel rods inserted into it.

        The control rods, used as you describe to control the reactor output, are usually groups of stainless steel tubes containing neutron-absorbing salts of boron, cadmium, hafnium or silver.