Structural Impacts of LENR

I sometimes read comments that I consider worthy of being placed in a post of their own. Here’s a comment that has recently been submitted by ECW reader Oaklandthinktank, which sets forth an interesting analysis of how LENR could impact structural factors around the world.

LENR impacts structural factors, which are the long-term determinants of our future states, rather than the actions of individual players. If I can produce a fusion reactor, I could sell its power onto the grid – but what is my ROI and velocity of return? If anyone can produce a fusion reactor, energy markets would see a glut, and your personal fusion device is unlikely to be profitable for energy sales, though it may have utility to you. Personal energy is unlikely to be a major sector of the market, because consumer power demands are low per capita, and represent a fraction of personal expenses.

‘Free’ energy lowers the cost of energy-intensive activities most, and is most efficacious when concentrated around the capital used to process raw materials, or service locations which require high power: aluminum-ore processing, data servers, desalination plants… We can expect LENR to bubble up in many small places, but the largest capital investment will be around dense power centers, near centers of material throughput or service locations. These concentrated power sites will see a higher capital-use rate than private or rural reactors, and will be able to supply power to industries with higher-value outputs. LENR is most profitable when agglomerated.

A few hyper-urbanized centers would command most industrial production; demand for goods and materials from these centers would increase the skew between core and periphery. Big winners will be those cities which can adapt to the material flux and heavy industry of LENR, especially those cities which would rely upon or profit greatly from reactors – Dubai would see great benefit in desalination, Kiev would benefit from heat cogeneration.

Lower cost transportation, and affordable private production, /would/ make it easier to ‘bug out’. But, lower cost transport will primarily increase transit of rural populations to core cities – urban dwellers can already afford a plane ticket, while rural populations currently travel little. Cities with more than ten million people will become common, and urbanization can be expected to increase dramatically.

Also, power can be used to synthesize nutrients. When the cost of synthesizing carbohydrates drops, food production must shift from high-calorie foods to specialty items. We can expect an increase in farming for luxury export markets, and a drop in area under cultivation. Rather than turning switch grass into biofuels, we’ll be converting coal tar and shale gas into sugars.

My bet is that blimps will rule intercontinental transport – they overcome the logistical bottlenecks of seaport-to-highway and highway-to-airport. Expect massive, heated blimps to deploy glider-containers which flutter to nearby destinations as the blimp passes overhead.

The heat problem will become a critical component – when cost of power drops, we use it as a substitute for more stuff, and the average utility of our energy usage drops. LENR will have a high portion of heat exhaust; I recommend covering mountainous regions with reflective umbrellas, to reconstitute glaciers. Glaciers absorb local temperature swings – heat is absorbed by melting ice, chills are mitigated by re-freezing. Sub-arctic latitudes would be able to moderate seasonal temperature, and resources in those areas would come under heavier cultivation and extraction.

Industrialization followed the dramatic drop in cost of energy with coal and oil. The increase in productive potential didn’t improve the standard of living for people in industrialized areas: Londoners, circa 1860, had a life-expectancy of just 3 years. Expect job-loss and movement of labor into less stable or profitable occupations. LENR reduces the competitive advantage of labor compared to energy-intensive substitutions.

LENR also makes space travel much more affordable – the primary cost of launch is fuel, and with higher power density than chemical sources, the logistics of launching a rocket with cargo AND fuel is much simpler. But, we won’t be mining the moon or asteroids – the Mitsubishi experiments are prelude to the coming material-synthesis industries, feeding industrial/computer/chemical demand for rare elements much faster and more reliably than an orbital station. Expect cheap satellites and telescopes; the combined depth and resolution of our sensors will increase dramatically. We will identify hundreds of thousands of exoplanets, and astronomers will be busy with a glut of cosmological data.

For the most part, LENR will act as a cushion: local flux in food, water, energy, and processed materials can be absorbed by reactor production, and transport of these resources will be cheap. The only barrier to disaster relief and supplying basic needs will be political.

This cushion effect, combined with increased profit margins for major industries, has an unfortunate side-effect: it allows industries to survive and thrive DESPITE poor management, corruption, and heavy loss rates. When energy is scarce, people have to plan wisely and work together. When energy is cheap and stocks are growing, parasitic forms become abundant first. (Notice the dead zones and red tides created by zooplankton, feeding on algal blooms.) With energy independence, we can expect more callous, super-rich industrialists, and more wasteful boondoggles.
Whether a country chooses libertarian markets, corporate kleptocracy, state-sponsored industrial zones, or militarized theocracy, these structural pressures still hold, and will shape the kinds of solutions that everyone chooses.


  • Wholewitt

    To me this reads like a financial newsletter, a little of this and that and vague enough to be right some of the time. Why would people move to cities except for jobs? Attending events could be done virtually in the future though tourist travel will probably be done in person. Very low cost energy allows one to live in the rural areas and smaller towns as long as food can be supplied. Jobs will become more scarce regardless of LENR just due to robotics and AI. An interesting concept is outlined in the ebook Manna though it is quite Utopian. With unlimited low cost energy, AI, robotics and proper recycling humans could pursue creative endeavors without jobs.

  • OaklandThinkTank

    Ah – thank you for the excellent insight! I wonder about the ease of
    synthesizing for diesel at the home-brew scale? We might drive pyrolysis
    at lower input costs and make wood gas cheaper, potentially building up
    to gasoline and propane with catalysts. Even a COP of 3 would make it
    more cost-effective to run a home pyrolysis set-up (check out the lab
    near where I live:… and
    millions of home-brews WOULD quickly devour corporate oil profits, and
    distribute value to their communities, instead. LENR for cheap wood gas
    could be an early play in the market that provides starting cash to many
    small producers, giving them the toe-hold to compete with big business
    as it tries to shamble into the market. :p

    I’m not so sure about
    the accelerating growth model, though… sounds Kurzweilian? I see
    technology as an equilibrium, akin to species diversity. At higher
    energy densities and scales, we see greater equilibrium diversity – so,
    when resources are cheaper, technology moves to a higher equilibrium.
    But, the feedback between technology and resources is uncertain, and
    laggy. Risk requires time to experiment and study – we won’t have a
    Kurzweilian rate of drug development. And mathematics, a domain oft
    ignored, has improved the speed of many computer processes MORE than
    Moore. Sparse matrices and edge-detection problems come to mind.
    Creating better algorithms isn’t Kurzweilian, either – and many of our
    bleeding-edge technologies will require these creative insights to take
    each new step.

    I’m thinking of creating a crude model of energy
    production and consumption, to see the distribution of LENR producers
    under different (capital cost)/(product performance) conditions. I’d
    love to hear more creative applications for LENR, and mind-map on the
    forum! 🙂

    PS – the post I replied to was removed by a moderator? 🙁

  • Donk970

    My feeling is that some country like China will jump on LENR and or LFTR technology really fast and will put it everywhere. They won’t worry about safety particularly when they are choking to death on coal smoke. They will have some truly spectacular disasters but will continue converting to LENR and LFTR power plants as fast as they can build them. The knowledge that these things are being used somewhere in the world will eventually create huge political pressure to allow them here.

  • Donk970

    The problem here is that fewer and fewer consumers will become more affluent while more and more drop below the poverty line. This is inevitable because there is no magic money appearing out of thin air in the wallets of the working class – that would be socialist redistribution of wealth and we can’t have that. What interests me is the possibilities for making it easier for the poor to survive without income.

    • George N

      i agree that LENR, 3d printing, and advanced software have the potential to drive the cost down on everything to the point that we may not need to work anymore.  The way I see it, society is divided into three main sectors: (1) government which derives it’s power from taxation/force, (2) the profit sector which derives it’s power from trade/contracts, and (3) the non-profit sector which derives it’s power from donations.  Agrarian societies had more emphasis on the non-profit sector for their safety net. Industrial societies rely more on government for their safety nets. Information societies I believe will rely on the non-profit sector again for their safety net.  Small businesses are the transition from big gov/big business back to a more prominent role of the non-profit sector in society.  In fact, I see more and more small businesses having dual strategies for both profit and helping communities.  I am also amazed at non-profit micro finance organizations such as that are far more effective at pulling third worlds out of poverty than any international gov programs ever were. I guess the Chinese proverb is true, give a man a fish, and they will eat for a day, teach them how to fish (create economic literacy) and they will eat for life.  Micro finance would have an even greater impact on the world if government regulations that prohibited individuals to loan money with interest via social network sites were lifted — the people would be flooded with access to capital (almost out of thin air).  But these regulations are put in place to protect big businesses.  Same for the now permanent quantitative easoning, which is propping up wall street to prevent everyone from pulling their money out.  But with all that money that the fed is pumping into wall street, they have to stop giving out small business and home finance loans in order to prevent inflation (credit cards are still issued to prevent deflation, and their high interest rates offset any potential inflation). Finally, even with all of america’s tremendous generosity of donating to non-profits, they also use to trust the government to help the poor as well.  But that all changed in the 70s with the Cloward Piven strategy that nearly bankrupted New York City in their quest to bring about socialism. America is still wary of redistribution of wealth today because they see that politicians use OUR money for political favors, fund an education system to dumb us down in economic literacy, and keep the poor on a treadmill so that they lock in their voting block.  The solution is not in the force of government to redistribute wealth, it’s with the free trade and compassion of the small business and non-profits — we need gov to step out of they way to let them succeed

      George N

      • from Indonesia I observe that business sector can participate the safety net.
        People who are in trouble can offer their work to neigbours, can open a business… a simple business with a cart and a stove to sell food, or a real-estate business renting a room, or selling their workforce for washing.
        Neigbours feel invested in buying service from their neigbours, and lending omney or instruments.
        It is not perfect as when there is an accident negociation between family and employer can bo violent, because of the money at stake.

        even in france I observe that self-employee (auto-entrepreuneurs) is a safety net for desperate active people. In france this is strongly opposed as unfair/outofmonopoly competitors.

        free activity and market can be safety net, but conservative force of all kind (leftish or rightish) block that economic freedom to impose state or charity model.

        there is two side on a parliament (struturally bipolarisation is always emerging) , but 3 models of safety net (which explain why one of the 3 model is suppressed in each country).

  • Donk970

    I there is nobody who will buy high then you make no profit. Also not rocket science. In a world where products are built without human labor there is nobody to buy products which means there are no profits. This is the worst case scenario but our economy lies somewhere between a healthy economy where most people are employed and able to buy things and this worst case.

  • Andreas Moraitis

    The problem is not the waste heat itself. According to the study which is cited in the above mentioned article, it’s rather the influence of the heat emissions on atmospheric circulation. Even the jet stream can be modified by relatively low amounts of released energy.

    • so the effect is simply “random”… it changes the situation, to better or worse, of both…

      as if changing was globally a problem, except for those who are happy and refuse to adapt. Classic malthusian logic, of rich afraid of change.

  • Sandy

    “Expect massive, heated blimps…”

    An airship with a LENR generator that continuously makes hot air would not need dangerous hydrogen gas or expensive helium gas to remain airborne; the hot air alone could provide enough buoyancy. A hot-air blimp might have an insulated skin and the upper half might be painted black so that the skin can absorb sunlight and thereby provide some of the heat that is necessary to keep the blimp airborne.

    The blimp could be equipped with engines powered by hot, compressed air. That kind of propulsion system would eliminate the need to carry dangerous, combustible fuels.

  • Bernie koppenhofer

    While I agree with much of what he says, this one is a bit wild “My bet is that blimps will rule intercontinental transport “

    • Ophelia Rump

      Oh God I hope so! I have always wanted to live in a house blimp!

    • Obvious

      The collective consciousness has prophesied the Second Steam Age (Age of Steampunk), now about to begin.

  • psi2u2

    “Londoners, circa 1860, had a life-expectancy of just 3 years.” Typo?

  • orsobubu

    To LENR G and others. I cannot see frome where these explosive profits
    would come from. Generally I see profits coming in either two ways. They
    come as monopolistic superprofits (i don’t know the exact english
    word), due to lack of competition and dominant positions on the market;
    or they come as surplusvalue, as worked hours stolen, not payed to
    workers. I exclude the first case, because in your analysis there is a
    prosperous, fit market in very good health with numerous competing
    actors, otherways LENRs would be a disaster, because monopolism and
    protectionism always brought unlucky surprises, in history. And in the
    case of surplusvalue, I think that LENR technologies, extremely simple
    and easily automated, would require very few workers in comparison with
    fossil ones, both in energy production and in other industrial
    applications. In fact, you talk about “cheap energy”, and everyone knows
    that cheap products contains few worked hours, and fewer profits than
    complex machines. So cold fusion represent a fantastic leap in user
    value production (practical benefits for mankind), but a really bad shot
    for exchange value production (profits, money and capital);
    furthermore, it would fire new competition coming from nations
    previously excluded from the global markets, and in such a way to
    exacerbate the global imbalances the world experienced in recent years
    with the raising of China and other far eastern countries, with
    consequent overproduction, unemployment and debt crisis.

    • LENR G

      The dramatic profits are the result of downward pressure on prices taking some amount of time to take full effect. Say Company A is the first in their market to take advantage of LENR. As a result they save let’s say 50% on their costs. Do they pass those cost savings to their customers.

      Ha! No way. Well maybe just a little to grab some more market share. Until competitor Company B makes the same jump into LENR and can offer lower prices than Company A, Company A is raking in the dough at very high profit. Even when Company B catches up, they don’t pass all the savings on to customers. They maybe undercut Company A a little to get back their market share. Maybe they just meet Company A’s prices… and so on. It can take many years and many aggressive competitors in a specific market to drive prices down to a point where profits are minimal and consumers are receiving optimal value.

      Now multiply this delay effect across the entire economy. For the X number of years that prices remain relatively high and only float down slowly the companies slashing their energy costs are going to be making huge profits.

      Some industries may see rapid price declines, others will be much slower.

      So I basically agree with your end game, but I think most of the initial benefits go to those at the top (as usual).

      • Fortyniner

        A similar argument will apply to the companies that actually manufacture cold fusion reactors. In the (IMO very unlikely) event that these are outside the control of the existing cartels, they will jealously guard their IP for as long as possible, meaning secure manufacturing facilities being built only as fast as the IP owners feel safe in doing so, security arrangements in place all around the sales/leasing process and so on.

        This would be an enormous drag on growth and proliferation of the technology. In an almost unlimited market with very limited supply that would mean sky-high prices and hence profits, but negligible impact on prices or profits outside the slowly growing CF ‘circle’.

        In what I would consider the more likely scenario that one way or another, a few energy cartels (including the Chinese State) end up in sole control of CF technology, and as conversion of fossil plants accelerates, nearly all of the profits will trousered by the cartels – most likely using the excuse that the money is needed to fund the rolling conversions. There would be little or no competition (just as there is almost no competition in fuel prices now) and electricity prices would stay much the same for all consumers, industrial and domestic, until the monopoly can be broken in some way – perhaps decades in the future.

        The benefits to us oiks will be limited – cleaner air as power staions and eventually, large ships are converted, possibly fewer US (+ cronies) oil wars destroying nations and destabilising the world, maybe slightly cheaper electricity after a decade or so, and… well that’s about it really.

        Oh, and an entire new branch of physics, which could lead just about anywhere.

        • Bernie777

          If we assume, while the LENR physics theory might be complicated, the LENR devise to create energy could be very simple, maybe as simple as striking a match.(Nanor?) Once, and if, this LENR devise genie is out of the bottle, is there any reason energy creation and use cannot be as common as a cell phone? Makes me wonder about the validity of the “safety” factor for small LENR devises. If this simplicity genie gets out of the bottle the “cartels” will be shaking in their boots.

      • Donk970

        Don’t forget that these companies don’t pass any of these profit gains along to employees either. In fact, they will most likely find ways to use fewer employees which also allows them to decrease employee pay. If it’s just one company doing this they will see short term profit gains but when everyone starts doing it they all loose because they undermine their market.

  • OaklandThinkTank

    Oh, gosh! Thank you for interest – I sat down with another cup of coffee, a whim compelled me to check e-catworld, and I was tickled to see that you had made a new topic for my post. 🙂 I am honored, and glad that this community attends to each person’s voice and perspective so carefully! Also, I am sorry that my post was doom-gloomy; LENR is a marvelous and potent new tool, and I can briefly discuss the projected possibilities as well… I want to respond to all your comments, but will limit myself to some excellent points you all have made. Thanks to each of you for the thought and attention of your critique, and I hope this style of exploration can help find our best path forward.

    Paul: “so simple that, once on the market, it could be soon replicated in
    massive way from many actors, including small independent individuals.”
    blanco69: “Energy companies will be making handsome profits whilst working hard to maintain a robust price for energy.”
    — Yup! With Brillouin replacing heat-generation in unprofitable generators in Korea, and Rossi working with Industrial Heat, I expect a modest annual drop in energy prices, such that grid-power is slightly more economical to small businesses than buying or building their own reactor… here in the US at least. Internationally, we’ll see more Halliburton & Three Gorges style massive developments, as major governments and corporations have the reserve cash to invest in high-efficiency and minimal-labor power generation, while rural poor have few spare resources to invest.

    Ophelia Rump: “So back to the small investor who sells back to the grid, factors which
    define success are, initial investment, maintenance of investment.
    return on investment, duration of profitability, degree of
    profitability, curve of the decline in profitability. ”
    bachcole: “a higher COP. Three won’t work since the electricity production will waste 2/3s of it as heat.”
    — I am hopeful that Swartz’s observed 14-20 COP, and occasional 80 COP, will be realized reliably. Early steam engines were only 1% mechanically efficient; Newcomen’s engines were close to 8% efficient, and were distributed under a lease agreement. (smart!) To see what portion of growth will come from personal vs. corporate sources, consider that someone building and operating a home-brew will have lower efficiency, few resources to invest in R&D, and limited capital. The ROI to early-adopters will be HUGE, but as you move toward saturation, small producers will be priced out of the market. Each side will grow rapidly, but large-scale urban-industrial applications will have a much /HIGHER/ ROI than personal users. Their competitive advantage would push prices below the cost of private generators.

    Private Citizen: “why should there be a higher portion of heat exhaust from LENR than any current combustion power source?”
    — LENR, substituting for a heat source in coal-fire plants, would benefit from the efficiency of the existing capital. But consider the cost-benefit equation: If I have a budget of $2mil., I could make $1mil. worth of LENR reactor, and spend $1mil. on an efficient turbine system, or I could spend $1.8mil. on reactors, and $0.2mil. on a cheaper and less efficient generator. When heat sources become cheap relative to heat engines, we see a shift toward higher heat production at lower efficiency. Also, home-brews would be inefficient, and the moral hazard of waste would be gone – everyone leaves the windows open.

    ” It is just as likely to break the big city paradigm.”
    — Here in the US, population density is low. We would see many more mobile caravans and tiny towns, sustaining their own micro-industry. But, they wouldn’t have much of a trade surplus, either. Few of them would be able to provide services /outside/ their community at a competitive advantage. You’d be able to desalinate for your crops, grow your own food, but good luck earning cash for a new android.
    The big shift is in the developing world. Humanity is over 50% urban… That’s still +3bil. people who will be seeking cities for a better material lifestyle. LENR will let the rural poor in India and Chile move to cities – at first for day-jobs, but that supports a larger urban service sector, and accumulates pull-factors for city living.

    “completely ignores the case where LENR powers automobiles.”
    — Automotive LENR would require onboard generators, incurring a higher initial cost, and lower efficiency of operation; we’ll probably see electricity so cheap that electric cars will be the norm. For reasons discussed above, we can expect that electricity to be made primarily by big industrialists.

    “end productive competition and lead to economic red tides”
    Allan Shura: “workers will move to less stable or productive occupations.”
    — When technology replaces an occupation, people move to lower-pay or higher-risk occupations (if there was a better job available, they’d be doing that already). We’ve seen a shift from decent wages with manufacturing sectors, to bare-minimum pay for low-skill services here in the US. The skew between high-paid managers and owners, and low-skill service level workers will grow.
    Parasitic con-men have more to feed on when wealth is growing and concentrating in the hands of the few – LENR will increase the number and scale of Bernie Madoff-types /faster/ than the number of Newman’s Own-types. Both see increased efficiency and growth; but one grows faster, and becomes a larger share of economic activity.

    Private Citizen: “all weighed against newly cheaper to operate ships, trains and conventional aircraft”
    Powering ships and trains doesn’t solve the logistical bottleneck: as transport costs drop, we’ll see increased demand to transport marginal goods, and ports will be bogged down and strained to capacity. It takes time and money to build a new seaport. And locations are limited. Blimps can set up and go almost anywhere, and would fill the gap in port capacity. Also, blimps are already quite cheap to operate – and with improvements in tensile strength (carbon!), the allometrics of blimps become much better than ships or trains.

    parallelB: “Until there is a better, solid state, way of converting heat to electricity many poor homeowners won’t pay to buy the equipment.”
    — Exactly. 🙂 And inefficiency of home-conversion, risk, and upfront costs, will pressure MOST people to just use cheap grid power from traditional suppliers who made the switch. Many millions will be energy-independent, but billions in rural areas of the world will opt-in to existing energy-providers.

    GreenWin: “More stranded assets in oil and gas production as these product markets
    shrink from energy to long chain polymers, plastics, health, biomed
    materials and heavy lift transport.”
    — There are strong substitutions for most oil, gas, and coal – I think those industries will still be profitable and active. Replacing fuel will take a while; they’ll have time to adapt.

    “the solar minimum will continue – bringing a new mini-iceage like the Maunder Minimum.”
    — I’m with you on the solar minimum issue. 🙂 Consider, though, that cheap energy would act as a substitute for materials or labor in many industries – and the reduction of prices for goods would increase throughput. We can expect a boom in production, a drop in average durability of goods (cheap to make replacements), and higher rates of energy use /per unit of production/. Our heat budget will grow rapidly – be forewarned.

    Lenr G: “LENR becomes controlled by one or a few huge corporations and they use
    it to achieve their aims. A cash cow if there ever was one.”
    — Look up the history of Augustus the Strong – he captured the European market for porcelain by imprisoning a chemist and his family, until the chemist re-invented the recipe for porcelain production. He then killed the chemist to protect his secret. Remember Daedalus!

    “working untold hours just to get by will flip and people will only work
    when they want to and most essentials will be close to free.”
    — Especially on micro-industry townships, yes. We would have the ability to provide for personal needs, if we have a government friendly to such activity, and low population density. But, without competitive advantage, you wouldn’t be able to /sell/ much. You’d have to knit a lot of shawls on Etsy to buy the goods your township can’t produce.

    AlainCo: “North korea may starve less quickly, but the day they open their borders…”
    — If LENR means N.Korea can go without Chinese food aid, they might never open their borders. And Kim might tell his people that ‘I invented it!’ or keep the populace ignorant of its operation. Embargo doesn’t work on a self-sufficient dictator.

    George N: “Businesses that can operate in lower cost areas (rural) will have a major competitive advantage”
    friendlyprogrammer: “If I could transport 100 skids a day with little cost, I might be inclined to move my business to Timbucktwo”
    — Though cost of transport will drop, time is still a major factor. Hedge funds locate within a few blocks of the exchange, because the millisecond delays of being further would put their stock-trades later in the queue. The most profitable industries will agglomerate, to reduce costs, and be close to high-speed transport with high load-rates. Land may be cheap in Timbuktu, but if your order takes three days to be delivered to the customer, the factory next to the airport wins.

    ” I know I’d be traveling the globe in a 200 foot boat with family and friends growing some food (plant and animal) on board.”
    — So will I! The majority of the earth’s surface is unaligned with any government entity! Seasteading will catapult a new generation of pioneers, in much greater numbers than space travel. (How long would you sit in your moon-bubble, before you pine for the beach?) But, the switch to the sea takes starting capital – expect a BoBo’s paradise in the South Pacific, and call center jobs for landlocked Sudan.

    So, why am I excited about LENR?

    In organisms, we see different behavior-types at different densities. Lonely tigers are territorial and sparse. Monkey troupes groom each other, but also bicker. Ants live in million-strong colonies, and are eusocial. The cells of our bodies number in the trillions, and commit apoptosis if they believe they have become cancerous. If humanity can achieve higher densities and larger total mass, we have a proven structural pressure toward more eusocial behaviors. LENR frees us from the zero-sum ecology – we aren’t limited by plant production, present or fossil, anymore, and feeding people doesn’t mean starving elephants. Regardless of the momentary empires and seemingly-impervious profits of particular corporations, as the world churns, we can expect LENR to reduce the risks of fertility (look at US fertility rates in the 1800’s!), and population will move toward new heights. I don’t think population is a problem – humans are the highest-valued use of resources I can imagine, and I’d like more of them around. LENR gives us another millennium of growth before we meet Malthus, again. I hope we learn a few things in time.

    Thanks for bearing with me in these ramblings – and I can’t wait to hear back from all of you!

    • bachcole

      There are structural impacts on my brain, and this comment was one of them. This was without doubt the longest comment ANYWHERE at ANYTIME that I have ever encountered after 18 years of Internet forums.

      I am glad that you are excited about LENR. Sometimes I simply can’t believe it I am so astonished. I freaking wake up astonished over LENR.

      Remember in your analysis of the big producers vs. the small producers, the small producers will be doing it as a hobby and may not really care too much whether they are forced out of “business”.

    • OaklandThinkTank

      ah, also – from “Its population increased, however, from perhaps 50,000 in 1500, to
      300,000 in 1700, 750,000 when George II assumed the throne in 1760, and
      900,000 in 1800, in spite of living conditions which, over the
      centuries, were so unhealthy that the rapid increase in population could
      be sustained, in the face of an enormously high death rate, only by a
      steady influx of immigrants from other parts of Britain. [The death
      rate in the city, well into the eighteenth century, was twice the birth
      rate. The average life span of an Englishman, during the early
      eighteenth century, was 29 years, and in London the average was
      considerably lower.]” In the 1860’s, there was a dramatic increase in Britain’s population, and an influx of farm labor into London. For those immigrants, the death rate was high, and someone moving to London could be expected to live only a few years. Sorry for the confusion!

      • GreenWin

        Club of Rome script, page 96. Gee thanks for your unsupported, personal psychosis Oakland.

        • OaklandThinkTank

          Er? That club thinks people are a problem – I’m glad that LENR will give us time to discover new solutions to our problems, and I think we have a better chance of that with more people, and more creative resources at their disposal. I’m not sure how I’ve offended you – what is my psychosis?

      • Donk970

        What you are describing is late stage terminal capitalism

    • Ophelia Rump

      Mah head hurts! I think it’s going to splode from all yer words!
      The future is coming, RUN!
      I especially liked the part about monkeys freeing us by feeding us starving elephants!

  • Omega Z

    I’ll say what I’ve said before.
    As Living standards Improve, Birth rates decline. People don’t want to drag a half dozen kids around when there are things to do in life besides just trying to survive.

    Taking 1 or 2 Kids to Disneyland can be fun & Enjoyable. Keeping track of & worrying about half a dozen or more(Also Extremely expensive & may not even be economically possible) is a nightmare. I’ve heard many a couple proclaim they’ll be glad to get back to work to get some rest & They MEANT IT.

    If not for the Desire to continue the Family line, Births would drop even more. I know a couple who had 2 girls & a Boy 3rd try. Why did they have a 3rd. Daddy wanted a Boy. But #3 was the end regardless. Had 1 of the first 2 been a boy, there would have been no 3rd.

    I’ve a friend who had a vasectomy after His brother had a Boy & Girl. The family name will continue. He sees no need to have Kids. He’s free to go skiing or whatever other pastime he chooses.
    Is there some selfishness here. Yes.

    In the past, This has only been My opinion & personal observation. No More.

    There’s now Scientific studies that bare this out. Raising a family is now only a part of a life. Other considerations are involved. Will it disrupt there lifestyle. What Freedoms will be given up. Vacations lost, Ocean Cruises, Ski resorts, Travel in General, Etc.. All seriously effected if you have kids. More then 1 or 2 kids if any severally effect this. And Brings on a lot of Responsibility. In Fact the Big “R” is intimidating for many.

    This is less true for the Rich. They have Options. Nannies, Child care givers. But even they are having fewer.
    It’s also less true for the Poor. They have no expectations of Vacations & such. And 4 or 5 kids for them means more Government help. It’s actually a losing proposition for them usually entrapping them in permanent poverty, But they don’t see it from their position.

    A Higher Standard of living=Lower Population. Science studies are just now telling us why.
    A Higher standard of living can even trump Education, However Education or some Training in skilled trades will always be a major contributing factor to obtaining a higher standard of living.

  • Discussing with experienced people…

    LENR is so disruptive than when it became mainstream, it will block all markets. who will buy a car, a plane, a heater, an oven, if he know that in 25% if the expected life the machine, it will be obsolete and 10 times more expensive to feed than a new model…

    This will force all industries to QUICKLY embrace LENR or die instantly… It will be panic.
    Like about internet…

    • Ophelia Rump

      The great thing about a near portable power source is that you do not need to put one in your toaster.
      You just need one in your house.

      • GreenWin

        Correct Ophelia! The “smart appliance” concept is utter BS. When a people realize there is abundance throughout the universe, the little, fearsome, FUD-based control mechanisms dissolve. A Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system in your basement or kitchen obviates all the “smart gadgets and services” your utility wants you to buy into.

  • LENR G

    Actually I was saying that uneducated and isolated people are more easily manipulated, tend to base a lot of their decisions on the religious influences in their lives and are fearful of people they don’t really understand or empathize with.

  • Jimr

    Agreed more likely 2025 before any significant home use. Also commercial early experimental model by 2018 with many more by 2020. I hope most do not beleive that a company introducing a new product let alone a new technology, will start shipping units after testing for six mon’s a year and even two to three years.
    Also the myth of free energy is a myth. For many years the cost of the home units (with installation) supplying heat and electricity will be higher than current costs without LENR. Perhaps when a low cost solid state heat to electric device is perfected it will make a hugh difference.

    • bachcole

      Even if the energy PER SE were free, which it is not with LENR and never will be with any technology, ever, the plumbing, the maintanence, the drive time for maintanence, etc. etc. etc. will not be free.

      • Omega Z

        You can bet had Rossi been parading the Free Energy theme,
        I wouldn’t be here. I doubt you & many others would either.

        Cheap energy however is intriguing & worth looking into…

        I twinge a little every time people post about free energy here. I wonder how many just move on & how many possible supporters & promoters of this technology have been lost.

        • GreenWin

          O Z is correct. Little is truly “free.” But the home energy appliance is inevitable – primarily because it trumps even refrigeration, TV, microwave, telephone, dishwashers, etc. The revenues from selling an energy appliance into billions of homes and emerging homes, is too much an incentive for any level of “certificators” to deny. It is a market significantly bigger than consumer electronics, which is reason why Google has paid $3.2B for an insignificant “energy appliance” company, Nest Labs. Futures are not defined by immediate products, but by products whose futures are inevitable.

  • Paul

    I think that the key point for the rate of LENR proliferation is the simplicity of the reaction. An Hot-Cat seems a reactor so simple that, once on the market, it could be soon replicated in massive way from many actors, including small independent individuals. In such case, LENR could replace other types of energies in a very few years, otherwise it could take 10-15 years at minimum, perhaps more due to the small dimension of IH.

    • Donk970

      Simply knowing that it’s possible will cause an explosion in R&D. Whoever brings LENR to market first will get maybe five or ten years of market dominance and high profits before everyone and his pet monkey is building these things. My feeling is that there will be far too many paths to working LENR reactors for anyone to patent and it will be so easy to build these things that nobody will be able to control the market.

  • blanco69

    I’m not sure the price price of energy will fall as quickly as some observers think. The energy model will stay centralised for some time. The network will stay for the mid term at least. Energy companies will be making handsome profits whilst working hard to maintain a robust price for energy. As a case in point look at the electric car market where the customer leases the battery. The distribution model will be structured in such a way as to maximise the return for the supplier and not value for the customer. I think we’ll get there but it could be 15 years or so.

  • Iggy Dalrymple

    Every word of your post is wrong, wrong, wrong.

  • Ophelia Rump

    To say that small scale investments would loose their value if everyone implemented them is an extremist argument.
    Everyone will not implement them immediately. Many will not even acknowledge the existence of the energy source at first.

    Like any investment, the greatest potential is for those who participate from the outset. If everyone could benefit in the sense that they could supply their own energy, then all will benefit in kind to their needs. And no one would be better for staying out of the game.

    So back to the small investor who sells back to the grid, factors which define success are, initial investment, maintenance of investment. return on investment, duration of profitability, degree of profitability, curve of the decline in profitability.

    Returns in investment in the hundreds of percents are simply astounding and unheard of. A device providing a mere 200 Percent return on investment per year could return an almost 100 percent profit, which could be reinvested.

    So the first year let us assume we invest $20,000. The device returns $40,000, and we reinvest, now returning the second year a net profit of $40,000 dollars from an initial investment of $20,000

    Here is a thumbnail outlook for a starting investment of $20,000 dollars with a device providing COP 3 computing COP at the end of the generation cycle. (Not at the E-Cat, but at the output sold back the grid.

    20,000 in
    40,000 out
    annually recurring 40,000

    40,000 in
    60,000 out
    annually recurring 100,000

    100,000 in
    200,000 out
    annually recurring 300,000

    200,000 in
    400,000 out
    annually recurring 700,000

    400,000 in
    800,000 out
    annually recurring $11000,000

    This is not too shabby for a 5 year $20,000 dollar investment.
    If the market becomes saturated in ten years, you will still be riding down a considerable profit for the last five years.

    If you can get a better ROI as a small investor, please advise me?
    I always seem to lose money as if the game were rigged against me.

    • bachcole

      Ophelia Rump, you should have used a higher COP. Three won’t work since the electricity production will waste 2/3s of it as heat. However, I otherwise like your thinking; nice work. I will keep this in mind. Not everyone will jump on it, and by the time that they do, I will be a rich man. (:->) There has to be some benefit for being in the LENR Peanut Gallery.

      • Omega Z


        All Ophelia’s Fuzzy math Equals Squat as an Investment.
        Everyone makes to many assumptions that are wrong.
        For instance- An E-cat COP>6 with a 1/3 conversion Efficiency(An Iffy proposition at this time) doesn’t produce enough Electricity for the Average household after figuring Energy In verses out.

        Energy use has highs & lows. When Use is low, You sell to the grid at wholesale & when you exceed your output, You buy back at retail. You come up negative return. To counter this would require a $5K to $8K Battery rack.

        To avoid other costs would also require a completely closed loop which would be expensive, But without a closed loop, you’ll incur water costs each month.

        All told, One may find a $50K Plus investment(Note about 8K for the system to feed energy back to the Utility) while still being short of enough Energy for home use.(About 200Kwh per month)

        And I’m just speculating at this point, But I believe the Hot-Cat requires a new Core every six months. Not just a refill. Due to the Extreme High temps & pressure, These appear to be hermetically sealed charges which result in them being recycled scrape metal. Not reused.

        I believe this is why Rossi has separated the Charge from the Reactor & it’s the electronics. Cat/Mouse to keep costs down.

        Other technologies need to advance before these will be economical for home systems. Note: that for the Last 2 months, I would need (2 E-cats) to heat my home.

        It’s a Great Gift to Society, But it’s still a long way from being practical for home consumers.

  • Private Citizen

    Questioning some of oklandthinktank’s assumptions, why should there be a higher portion of heat exhaust from LENR than any current combustion power source? Does LENR somehow change the amount of work a calorie can do? In fact, some of the LENR schemes promise higher efficiency (even direct plasma to electricity) than combustion, with the benefit of no greenhouse gas heating (if that is a benefit). Even if vastly more energy is produced leading to some additional heat (good luck rivaling the sun’s input), there is no law of thermodynamics preventing much of that extra heat radiating into space.

    The notion that cheaper off-grid living and cheaper transportation will lead to larger cities is also questionable. It is just as likely to break the big city paradigm. People do care about their standard of living and act accordingly, given the choice.

    That energy costs per capita works against individual adoption of LENR completely ignores the case where LENR powers automobiles. Also, without knowing the price, there is no reason to assume that LENR won’t be widely adopted for personal or small business heating and even electricity.

    That cheap energy will somehow end productive competition and lead to economic red tides is a bit of a laugh too.

    Think I question the blimps notion too (reminds me of some old Pop Mechanics illustration of the future). The amount of materials going into blimps, the need for constant energy input even when not traveling, the waste of fighting air resistance, and the difficulty of uploading cargo all weighed against cheaper ships and trains and conventional aircraft is a no-go.

    Expecting job losses is about the only point where i find agreement. Most of the other thinking tanks.

    • GreenWin

      You raise excellent points. Oaklandtank is a bit of a doom and gloomer with little to back it up – except a pessimism unwarranted so far. Were the spectre of “New Fire” not looming so large, it’s doubtful we’d be seeing the backpeddling from journal editors, doomers like oakland, and the regular skeptopaths who appear to be depressed by all the good news. Curious too, that NIF has a sudden “unity” breakthrough – made up out of whole cloth. 🙂

    • Omega Z

      I usually agree with GW, But Okland- my be thinking of a 400% to 500% in Increased Energy as the rest of the world plays catchup.

      Also, The Average home with their own system would likely produce double the heat output as Energy purchased from a grid service. This would be due to larger individual capacities required for peak demand that can presently be averaged by about half by the Utilities.
      Also the propensities of people wasting what is cheap.

      Doubling capacities at home is a little ambiguous as residential only makes up about 1/3rd of energy use. Commercial/Industrial use most of the rest.

      Just to note, I also disagree with a lot of Oklands thinking.

  • parallelB

    Too early to tell what will happen. No reason why the utility companies couldn’t buy their own LENRs and using their existing distribution system be reasonably competitive with homeowners doing it. Until there is a better, solid state, way of converting heat to electricity many poor homeowners won’t pay to buy the equipment.

    Providing heat is a different story. Most will buy E-Cats for house heating and hot water. Probably a short term boost to employment while the conversions are done.

  • GreenWin

    Good discussion indicating accelerating acceptance of the inevitable introduction of LENR to industry AND residential customers. This will catch most utilities flat footed – so big structures like centralized grid operators will struggle to keep up or go BK, leaving stranded assets across nations. One major constraint on citizens – highly controlled and costly energy – will be stripped away.

    The major infrastructural impact will come from non-utility technology leaders who have massive resources and consumer product experience. With Google’s $3.2B purchase of Home Energy Management company Nest Labs – we have hard evidence Silicon Valley money is intent on expanded home energy products. Like the refrigerator, telephone, radio, television and microwave, each device was sold into the consumer market – improving quality of life for residents. The home energy appliance e.g NRG Beacon10 or the Nirvana Power stick, each demote the utility to a backup service. Now with the troika of Google, Nest and NRG Energy established and heavily financed – we will see centralized utilities power shrink. When micro-CHP appliances discard NG as fuel and replace it with LENR the last need for residential fossil energy will die.

    More stranded assets in oil and gas production as these product markets shrink from energy to long chain polymers, plastics, health, biomed materials and heavy lift transport. Utilities will fail and leave behind massive grid wiring made extinct by local microgrids and dishwasher-sized home CHP units.

    As for the reflective umbrella over glaciers; 90% of all ice on Earth is in Antarctica. And many solar scientists see the possibility the solar minimum will continue – bringing a new mini-iceage like the Maunder Minimum.

  • LENR G

    This is an excellent post with some great observations.

    I think that the first wave, if you will, of LENR may be counter-intuitive. Yes it will eventually make everything less expensive and more things possible for the individual. But the initial effect will be to explode profits for just about every company on the planet. There will be downward pressure on prices but that will take awhile to materialize. Meanwhile company profits will soar and the overall economy will be great (helping everyone).

    But in the US we have already entered a period where corporations have a dominant influence in all our affairs. For example we have had soaring productivity for decades but average workers have actually seen a decrease in their economic security. Wage inequality has gone through the roof. And the wealthy have gotten very good at hoarding any economic gains. Our public policy primary reflects the goals of corporations to lower their expenses — chipping away at the safety net, making sure health reform ran through the for-profit insurance industry, knee-capping unions, undermining net-neutrality, fighting regulatory bodies like the new consumer protection board even after the ridiculous financial meltdown was a direct result of high risk unregulated activities. And on and on.

    I think LENR initially makes that situation worse. There will be much money flowing at the top of the economy as those huge profits find their way into the pockets of top executives and wealthy owners.

    But more importantly I think, given their huge resources, that LENR becomes controlled by one or a few huge corporations and they use it to achieve their aims. A cash cow if there ever was one. So expect things to be run of, by and for the corporations at least for a few more decades as things sort themselves out. At some point though individuals will come out on top and the current situation of most folks of working untold hours just to get by will flip and people will only work when they want to and most essentials will be close to free.

    It’ll take a long while for that paradigm shift I think.

  • Hope4dbest

    “Londoners, circa 1860, had a life-expectancy of just 3 years.” This is off by a factor of more than 10. From the BBC:

    (From 1900 to 2000) Life expectancy has also improved, rising from 46 to 77 in men and 50 to 81 in women.

    • Omega Z

      Yes, I read that. 3 years. Not even old enough to procreate. I didn’t check the Original source. I figured something was amiss in the repost to another site.

  • Allan Shura

    I doubt the heat emissions will have nearly so large an impact as the residual CO2 from fossil fuels. I assume this is pure speculation because the heat of fossil fuels is not the concern of global warming. There is also the prediction that workers will move to less stable or productive occupations. This is purely a function of social engineering
    and adaptive political economy dynamics within a given society. The dead zones and red tides are caused
    in large measure to pollution and global warming both of which will be reduced.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      At the moment, greenhouse gases are surely the main problem. But waste heat emissions can influence climate at least on a local scale:

      That influence could increase if there were billions of domestic reactors which are used all year round to produce electricity from heat with relatively low effectiveness.

      • Omega Z

        Heat Islands could be problematic.

        • heat island is mostly linked to smoke (reflectivit/greenhouse effects), heat storage (wall, road), albedo change (rook,road), and humidity not to heat production.

      • this kind of exaggeration participate to my conviction that today’s science and over all science media are corrupt.
        salesmen of fear, and hunter of fashion funding.

        • Andreas Moraitis

          Nobody can predict the future, that is what we know for sure. Shouldn’t we therefore care about our interventions in nature? If it were possible to avoid huge waste heat emissions, we should do it to be on the safe side. Generating electricity directly from LENR would be the ideal solution. However, it might take some time to achieve that.

  • without competition, inefficient zone may survive, but with competition, the comparative quality of management will be important. North korea may starve less quickly, but the day they open their borders they will have to adat, or lose their workforce, their companies…

    by the way, see what have been the impact of steam, of horse, of oil, of electricity, of IT, of Internet… it amplified competition, did not allow inefficient to survive longer, but to change and be efficient.

    • GreenWin

      Indeed Alain, very good points. Historically technology has empowered more people to do more things – including compete with each other. The lower the cost of food, services and consumer goods, the higher the standard of living. Simply because heat, cooling and electricity costs drop does not mean oligarch and fiefdom

      power increases.

  • itsme

    Republicans/socialists gain all their power from cities, so they will fight the household/local LENR power generator with every fiber of their being. Big business stands to gain the most from cheap energy because it will significantly lower their costs. Businesses that can operate in lower cost areas (urban) will continue to have a major competitive advantage, especially as telecommuting/ecommerce and logistics becomes cheaper, faster, and more reliable in more areas.

    • LENR G

      Huh? Did you mean Democrats/socialists?

      Democrats in the U.S dominate in cities and anywhere the population density and/or education levels are above a certain threshold. Whereas Republicans dominate in the numerous lightly populated rural/exurb counties. I think the divide is fundamentally about these things: religion, ignorance and acceptance of diversity (not energy policy).

      In any case I don’t think framing opposition to LENR as a left/right issue is correct. I think the fault line is those who would stand to greatly benefit versus those who who stand to lose money and power. Fortunately the former will be in far greater number. Unfortunately the latter are extraordinarily well organized and influential.

      It will be a battle.

  • George N

    Democrats/socialists gain all their power from cities, so they will fight the household/local LENR power generator with every fiber of their being. Small businesses stand to gain the most from cheap, decentralized energy because it will significantly lower the barriers of entry to most industries. Businesses that can operate in lower cost areas (rural) will have a major competitive advantage, especially as telecommuting/ecommerce and logistics becomes cheaper, faster, and more reliable in more areas.

    • Charles

      Economics, as practiced in the USA (and the world), appears to lead to greater and greater concentrations of wealth. We fumble around and tax income which sometimes is wealth related and sometimes is not. In any event, the very rich succeed in greatly limiting their income taxes.

      If we are going to even the wealth disparity that is splitting Obama’s skull and heart, should we not instead tax wealth to remove the disparity?

      Having posed the question, let me say that both Thomas Jefferson and I are having fits over the very idea of taking peoples property. However, didn’t the biblical Israeli’s have a God directed 50 year jubilee that sorta did that?

      • George N

        The US economy is centered on mass media advertisement, which favors big business. So if we really wanted to close the wealth disparity gap, we should require any broadcasts sent over FCC controlled airwaves to also be freely available over the internet (as people get more used to watching tv using chromecast type devices, more Internet streaming content providers will emerge, thus decentralizing our mass media, which will favor small businesses). When Bittorrent Live gets out of beta testing and catches on, this will further decentralize the media. Another way that the media could be decentralized is if intellectual property were treated equally for both engineers and artists, e.g. copyrights should only last 20 years like patents do, instead they last 70 years after the artist dies!

        Advertisement is just one area of many that have barriers of entry that favor big businesses. Instead of spinning our political wheels about who should be taxed more, a smarter (and more effective discussion) would be identifying different types of barriers of entry that favor big businesses, and then identify solutions that lower those barriers of entry.

        By and large, government over regulation favors big businesses because they are the only ones that can afford to hire the lawyers, accountants, and HR staff to comply with those regulations — thus creating artificial barriers of entry that favor big business!

        I don’t care if a person earning over a million dollars a year is taxed more, I just think it is a crime that when a small business owner decides to sell their business, that they have to pay a 40% capital gains tax! Which is a huge disincentive for someone to take the risk of starting a new business (and creating new jobs)

  • friendlyprogrammer

    I think Cities would become less popular as airfare and car fuel costs decrease. One of the reasons many companies choose to do business near or in cities is because they are wary of shipping costs involving customers and suppliers.

    If I could transport 100 skids a day with little cost, I might be inclined to move my business to Timbucktwo (In very rural area) to avoid both high city taxes, and land (or rent) costs. I may need to pay slightly more for drivers (soon to be automated), but I’d save much more.

    With almost free power a person could make the top of Mt Everest quite cozy with air pumps pressurizing my elevated dwelling and my Internet bringing me all my television. This is an exaggeration, but would you be happy in a Condo when you could live in natural beauty of the outdoors.

    I will say this is hard to predict. How will free energy affect property values? I know I’d be traveling the globe in a 200 foot boat with family and friends growing some food (plant and animal) on board. You need 1 egg laying hen per person (average), plus breeding for meat. So my home will be sold and I won’t be returning.

    The space travel aspect is fun. I suppose they would also colonize the moon and have a Disney resort there (you heard it here first).

    I am not sure about food consumption changing. That is hard to predict, but there are already trends to healthier living. Perhaps a diet pill will be invented that can help burn or kill fat if necessary and we could eat all the Junk Food we want. Cheap power equals more power, and manual labor would be reduced, so dieting may be necessary.

  • Daniel Maris

    I’d rather some news than yet more not very helpful speculation…

    Have you been in contact with IH Frank? Are they just blanking you?

    • LENR G

      FYI I emailed IH with a simple request to confirm that Rossi is their Chief Scientist as he has asserted. No response as yet.

      I also emailed Blacklight about their ownership situation. No response.

    • ecatworld

      I have been trying, Daniel. So far no response.