Free Energy Could Destroy the Planet — The Most Powerful Argument Against LENR?

I’d like to thank Fortyniner for sharing the following article which I believe may turn out to contain the most potent argument against the proliferation of LENR technology in the long run.

Mike Adams, founding editor of Natural News writes an article titled “Real global warming could be unleashed by a hidden technology most people don’t even know exists.” The interesting thing about this article is that Adams is not an LENR sceptic, nor a disbeliever in ‘free energy’. He mentions being a fan of cold fusion proponent Eugene Mallove, and being a personal friend of free energy proponent Brian O’Leary. Adams seems to take seriously the possibility of free or very cheap energy becoming available.

His argument is that we should put the clamps on it — and one reason he states is this:

“If free energy technology were to be developed and openly shared with the world, it would very rapidly lead to runaway global warming. I don’t mean by emitting greenhouse gasses because obviously such devices don’t burn fossil fuels. What I mean is literal, actual WARMING: the production of heat that’s released into the atmosphere. Joules and BTUs, in other words.”

Adams argues that the explosion in economic and technological activity that free energy would unleash on the planet would vastly increase the amount of heat being pumped into the atmosphere. Desalination plants, electric vehicles, massive economic development, etc., all powered by a free energy source would “[raise] the temperature of the entire planet and [cause] global warming from a whole new perspective.”

He mentions that free energy availability would curtail efforts for energy efficiency (why limit the use of something if it is free?), and take away any of the limits on human activity that currently expensive energy places on us.

His bottom line is that humans cannot be trusted with free energy, that they would squander it and ruin the planet in the process. He states that while he believes that eventually free energy should be made public — when humanity has ‘grown up a little':

We would all be wise to keep this technology carefully reserved and out of the hands of the imbecilic masses until the day comes when we can apply these incredible gifts of the universe with wisdom and maturity.

Yesterday I wrote about the report published The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) urging nations to find low-carbon technologies that could help save us from climate catastrophe, and how LENR seems to fit the bill. I wonder what a similar panel might be writing about in a few years time if LENR technology becomes universally recognized as being a viable and inexpensive energy source.

The theoretical basis of global warming currently rests on the mechanism of greenhouse gasses (e.g. carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane) which trap heat in the atmosphere, rather than letting it radiate out into space. If you drastically reduce the production of of man-made greenhouse gases, does the threat of global warming go away? I wonder if theoreticians might at some point modify their models as they see that much more energy is being generated by widely available and inexpensive technologies.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Adams’ perspective in this article became a commonly held one by people who are concerned about the effects that
abundant and cheap energy might have.

I think the truth is a technology like LENR does have the potential to change human activity across the globe in profound ways and alter our notion of civilization as we currently know it. But this has happened throughout human history. Our world has been transformed over and over by the introduction of new technologies such as electricity, automobiles, aviation, and the internet.

I don’t think we can, or should, try to stop the introduction of a powerful technology which has so many potential benefits. Andrea Rossi is fond of saying these days in mercatu veritas — in the market there is truth — in other words it is the market (the interaction between producers and consumers) that will sort out the place of his technology. If Mike Adams’ philosophy were to prevail, it would not be the market, but a certain class of decision makers, who would determine whether we are mature enough to handle a technology like LENR.

  • physicist

    lets put some numbers to this to put it in perspective
    toatl amount of energy generated in the world in 2008 was 143 terrawatt hours in a year
    at a growth rate of ~ 20% per year with current energy sources that would put us at between 350 and 400 terrawatt hours per yer
    in exponential form thats 3.5 E14(10 to the 14th )
    total absorbed energy from the son is ~ 340 w/m2 x-section for the earth
    sparing the details of getting there (you should be able to figure it out if you want to double check) that works out to approximately 6.5 e22
    there is 8 orders of magnitude separation which means to make a 10% impact
    would rezuire a 10 million fold increase in generated energy to make a significant dent.(10%)

    this is an absurd concern
    rather than verbalize non-sense
    calculate and make informed decisions

    • GreenWin

      Mike Adams reminds us of a petulant little girl shouting, “You’re all just stupid!”

  • mytakeis

    Re: danger of unlimited free energy: Hogwash!

  • Omega Z

    ->”All sensible estimates put the planetary population as stabilizing at around the 12 billion mark.”
    Outdated:
    Those numbers are being scaled back as we speak by the bean counters. May be reduced by about 3 billion, tho it’s unlikely to become official as this would reduce funding for their population projects.

    ->”if you are really serious about controlling population you should start in the UK, Germany or France”

    Done. We’ll just stop all the poor from other countries from migrating. Most of the developed world would peek in a short time & their populations would decline if not for migrants.

    Note: Japan along with a couple other countries have officially peeked & starting into the decline stage. Many others would be included but for immigrants. Most Population growth is from 3rd world and some developing countries. Even many of those are starting to see a slowing in population growth.

  • Omega Z

    According to the numbers you provide, we would account for about .04% of the heat of which a portion of leaks out into space.
    Figure Heat variance of 3% coming from the Sun, Even if we doubled our contribution, it would be in the range of infinitesimal.

  • Omega Z

    Your concerns are dually noted.
    And dismissed as I’m sure you have an opinion to what system would work.
    Here’s a Little known secret. No Economic system or theory works as intended. They all have one flaw. They all require the understanding of people. “Something no one has been able to even remotely accomplish.”

    Trying to figure out Corporations. You’ve failed before you’ve even gotten started. It is only a Paper Tool. Has no Feelings of any type what so ever. Neither good nor bad. Nothing.
    Look to the people who run it. This will require the understanding of people. See statement above.

  • Leonard Weinstein

    georgehants, you clearly do not look at data before opening your mouth. Almost all reasonably wealthy countries in the West and wealthy countries in the orient (Europe, US, Canada, Japan, etc.) have near zero to negative population growth internally. Only new immigration from poor second and third world countries add significantly to the population. It is poor countries that have excess population growth (Africa, South and Central America, much of Asia, and Middle East).

    • bachcole

      When my wife and I were having a lot of fun, in the back of my mind was not the worry that I would need babies to grow up and support me when I was too old to work. We both knew that Social Security and our own efforts to save and invest would sustain us in our old age.

      Also, because we both had college degrees, we had learned how much fun one can have thinking and reading. Most poor people are uneducated, and the only fun they have in their lives is sex and eating.

  • Obvious

    I was responding to the need the save the planet. Saving the people of the planet seems to be a secondary concern to many radical environmentalist groups.
    So move the heat-makers to a colder, dead planet, or interior of a large asteroid, where the excess heat won’t bother anything.

    • Omega Z

      That would not fit with their agenda’s.
      Your Obvious-ly looking to get flogged & imprisoned.

  • oaklandthinktank

    Mike Adams echoes my sentiments. :) Greenhouse gasses won’t vanish as soon as LENR devices go to market – we’ll have decades of overlap where desalination plants pump huge plumes of heat into the atmosphere, while CO2 levels remain high. While this may be only a fraction of 1% of earth’s heat budget, it will be localized at cities and major industrial centers – and potentially impact global weather and local climate.

    Some will even PREFER if their country becomes a little warmer – I wouldn’t be surprised if Russians left the water boiler running, to keep frost off their grain. And, if Israel and Saudi Arabia fund massive desalination and cloud-seeding projects, what happens to the monsoon?

    The question lingering on my mind: How Much Heat are we talking about? Replacement of existing coal and nuclear plants, gas and grid power… that saves us some greenhouse gasses, but we could expect a lower demand for thermal efficiency – more heat, by how much?

    On top of that, whenever a resource becomes cheaper, we see an increase in the volume used – people waste it when its cheap, but more importantly, a cheaper resource gets used for applications that were previously unaffordable. (titanium lawn chairs, anyone? it’s only costly because of the power demand for smelting and forming…) Desalination & winter heating will be HUGE, and the economic gains from efficient power sources would increase demand for ALL products… increasing demand for the power-sources that make them. Compare the costs of horse and steam power – how much cheaper was steam? And how many times larger did our energy use become?

    • bachcole

      Oakland brings up a very interesting way to do the calculations (which have been done numerous times here and on Mike Adams comment section.) Take the total amount of money spent on energy usage today. Divide by the number of people in the world (7 billion, roughly). Now, divide that number by the projected cost of LENR per person, and multiply that times the number of projected watts per individual usage of LENR. This number would represent the amount of LENR energy usage that individual people would be willing to pay for.

      Now (with a little magic from http://www.gapminder.com), multiply that by 10 billion ( the approximate level that populations scientists say the populations is going to plateau out at.) That would give the approximate gross energy output of LENR in say 100 years. BUT, we now have to subtract out our current total amount of heat generated by mankind AND the savings from reduced CO2 levels. Oakland rightly says that the CO2 levels are not going to plummet just because we stop pouring CO2 into the atmosphere. But he doesn’t include any increased plant growth by 2114, which our glorious climate scientists are also not including.

      Then, we have to compare that with the total amount of energy hitting Earth from the Sun.

      I bet that there will be a lot of “buts”.

      I leave it to the students to work out the details. (:->)

      • Omega Z

        bachcole
        You may be aware I’ve posted my speculations on population levels with present data. My speculation was that the World population growth would likely stop at about 8.5 billion & allowing for increasing longevity would possibly peek at about 9 Billion.

        The bean counters are at present recalculating their numbers. A preliminary number I recently came across is that population would likely peek at 8.5 to 9 billion. I doubt this number will be made official for sometime as this could negatively effect their project funding. But it’s looking good that there will be about 3 billion less mouths to feed in the future then at one time thought.

    • Omega Z

      Consider all the energy we use already produces heat. Already wastes 65% of that heat. Being replaced with something that has a high probabilty of being more efficient. End result would be less heat.

      Locally Generated Electricity instead of long distance transmitted electricity will be far more efficient. Less heat.

      Recycling requires smaller quantities of heat/energy then obtaining new resources. This makes Recycling even more appealing. Less heat.

      With Fossil powered vehicles you have 75% heat waste. LERN generated electricity powered Electric vehicle efficiency will result in less heat.

      Winter heating is already in use. Not additive. LENR heating would result in higher efficiency. Less waste. Less heat.

      Desalinized water. Your assuming Flash/boiled. Even with LENR, this will be expensive. It is highly probable that all future desalinizing will be done by some type of reverse osmosis. It will ultimately be much easier & cheaper. This eliminates many costs & problems of flash/boil systems. Your looking at less heat.

      You assume people will waste. This technology will provide cheaper energy, but it will still cost. Turbines, Generators, the structure it’s housed in will still be of around the same costs. People will still want efficient appliances. They will still insulate their homes because it provides even comfortable temperatures.

      Larger portions of food consumption will be from local production. Requiring less energy thus less heat. As will many products made more local rather then from half way around the world. Less heat.

      Your concern of increased use in other parts of the world are unfounded. They will be partially offset by heat/energy consumption from other parts of the world & their own use will be of higher efficiencies.

      All the above without all the emissions of pollutants.

      The materials used for this technology, tho plentiful, Is still limited. Wasting of it would nullify any cost savings. This is a self regulating energy source. It still has limitations.
      We will in fact be forced to find newer more efficient means to continue on our path.

  • Omega Z

    Transmutation is not a problem from what we know.
    This is such a tiny amount, that even Governments would find it economically unsuitable for use.

    At best, After many years & huge expense, you would end up with possibly a high grade ore that still needs to go through the conventional refinement process. That’s a lot of bother just to end up back at square 1. Regardless of intent.

  • palaceplanetarian

    The temptation to believe that something as positive as LENR could be more dangerous than ending greenhouse gas production is not only not supported by a fair energy aidit but sign of whst some may see as a comforting and reassuring pessimism about humanity and our role and prospects in the universe. Are we destined and deserve destruction or can we use our intelligence to change and make the world better for all of its inhabitants. LENR and other coming developments are proof that our doom is not necessarily our destiny or just.

  • Obvious

    The obvious solution is to move all energy users into space, and leave the neo-Luddites to farm the Earth without chemicals and machinery.

  • Ophelia Rump

    Instant civilization. Much evil has been done in it’s name. I would not deny anyone a better life. Neither would I push it upon them with out having done due diligence. It is not enough to speak of providing improvement, when you provide those improvements, you are responsible for the outcome. Is it so wrong to speak of responsibility? Civilization has played the drop and run game many times. One mans Malthusian theory is another mans killing fields.

    • bachcole

      The State of Kerala in southern India has gone on a massive education rampage, and by doing so they have brought down their population growth. The education curriculum was NOT western oriented. I don’t know how they are doing with the prosperity angle, but education seemed to be enough.

      I had a friend from Kerala, a lady named Shyni Dennis, who worked with me remotely at MCI. Her mother wanted to call her “shiny”, so she switched the ‘i’ and the ‘y’, and made it “Shyni”, but it is still pronounced “shiny”. She was descended from those Indian Christians who were converted to Christianity by St. Thomas, the immediate disciple of Jesus, THE “doubting” Thomas.

      If you check out http://www.gapminder.org/world . Select both the X and Y axis to be “children per woman (total fertility)”. Then click “Play”, you will see how the number of children per woman is crashing towards 2 worldwide. This means, according to population scientists, that the world’s population is going to plateau out at around 10 billion. And it will even go down a tad. Although 10 billion is bigger than 7 billion, with LENR, it will be much easier to handle 10 billion than it is now handling 7 billion without LENR.

      So stop fretting, please. I’m not.

  • Leonard Weinstein

    Another poorly informed and mis-led response: “Green house trapping the sun’s heat is a colossal threat”

    You really need to study the facts rather than accept that incorrect position.

    The possibility of ecat or other lower cost and more available energy is desirable, but not for the reason of AGW. In fact, the increased CO2 has been a blessing, and prevented mass starvation as population increased.

    • Fibb

      you posted nonsense. agw deniers are a very strange bunch.

  • Omega Z

    Having time for it to soak in I Realized

    1000 fold, 6000 fold increase in energy production as some scaremonger about-
    Aside from being an asinine idea, Our present energy demand will absorb 2%(Everything accounted for) of nickel production. Bring the World standard up & add new uses, we could see 6% of Nickel production used. This stuff isn’t just laying around waiting to be used. It’s already in use.

    It’s abundant & Cheap considering the amount that would be used for energy, But it is Not Limitless nor free. We will not do as Mike Adams envisions even if we wanted to. Totally unrealistic. He needs to engage his brain before being allowed near a Keyboard. The Kook!

  • Omega Z

    I see a doubling of present energy production.
    “That leaves a window for another 5998 increase.” LOL
    At double present use, the resource limitations will already have started increasing it’s cost. You don’t really believe in Limitless do you. Silly people.

  • Omega Z

    Turbines can be efficient, but they don’t scale down well as to cost.
    I’m of the opinion that 3D printing could quickly close the Gap. Possibly even increasing the efficiency rate.

    Another Area where 3D Micro Printers could be used is with Lonnie Johnson’s JTEC Thermal Electric device.

    And Then it may have applications with MHD technologies.

  • bkrharold

    The idea that LENR could pose a threat is preposterous. Here is the reason. Our climate scientists unanimously agree that man made greenhouse gases are responsible for climate change. They do this by trapping ever greater quantities of heat from the sun. A technology like LENR which produces no greenhouse gas, would be REPLACING devices which produce heat and carbon dioxide. This is bound to be less harmful. LENR could make it possible to use more energy for other applications such as desalination, However the extra heat it produces would be offset by the greenhouse gases that are no longer being produced for all our other energy needs.

    • Ophelia Rump

      If mankind were stupid enough to generate enough waste heat to turn the entire planet into an oven, we would always have the option to turn down the temperature when it starts to get too hot. You cannot do that with green house gases.

      But I think you are correct bkrharold.