Bill Gates: Traditional Renewable Energy is Not Enough, Basic Research Needs Funding.

Thanks to Georgehants for posting a link to an article from The Register here today regarding an interview Bill Gates conducted with the Financial Times on the topic of green energy production.

In the interview Gates praises the United Nations for raising awareness of the issue of climate change, but expresses concern that focusing on renewable sources of energy will not be able to meet the world’s energy needs, without incurring “beyone astronomic” costs, and says that government should move funding away from renewable energy sources, and into funding basic research in technologies that will be able to deliver less expensively.

Gates said: ““The only way you can get to the very positive scenario is by great innovation . . . Innovation really does bend the curve.”

Regarding the solar/wind + storage scenario that has been discussed a lot lately — e.g. from Elon Musk — Gates said:

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“Solar is only during the day, solar only works best in places where it’s warm. We don’t have perfect grids. We don’t have storage. There’s no battery technology that’s even close to allowing us to take all of our energy from renewables and be able to use battery storage in order to deal not only with the 24-hour cycle but also with long periods of time where it’s cloudy and you don’t have sun or you don’t have wind . . . Power is about reliability. We need to get something that works reliably.”

We know that Bill Gates has looked into cold fusion/LENR, visiting the ENEA labs in Italy last year, but there was no mention of this in the interview. Maybe he does not think this is viable yet, or it is too controversial to mention. He does think that travelling wave nuclear reactors — which run on nuclear waste — have a lot of potential, and is an investor in TerraPower. He also mentioned using solar power to produce liquid hydrocarbons as a possible means of storing solar energy. Another idea he favors exploring is putting kite balloons or turbines into the jet stream to harness energy from the high winds there.

It does not sound to me like he is particularly enamored with LENR as a real alternative at this point. ENEA has been involved in palladium/deuterium cold fusion — which so far does not seem to be at a commercialization stage. Perhaps he is aware of Andrea Rossi’s work with the E-Cat, but so far it seems Bill Gates is in favor of nuclear fission processes over LENR.

Link to the Financial Times article is here (subscription may be required)

  • GreenWin

    Looks like Gates is pre-paving an investment in “a miracle” innovation. This is good for LENR. But it is no miracle – just imagination/energy manifest. One great oddity; Gates claims climate/emissions the reason to panic – yet his Foundation has $1.4B invested in British Petroleum. ???

  • Omega Z

    The 8% is part of the storage cost. That is lost going from the DC battery to you AC circuit.

    My numbers give the benefit of the doubt. The 10% degrade I gave is extremely conservative. Lithium batteries as a rule degrade 20% by the 1000th recharge. This degrading continues with each cycle.

    The difference between mpg ratings & battery specs is mpg ratings are far more believable. Take the spec sheet with a grain of salt. Manufacturers tend to overrate their batteries. Specs are not averages. They are limits under specific criteria. It isn’t even the norm.

    Manufactures specs are not based on full charge to full discharge cycles. They are for the most part drawn down to 30% to 40% & charged to 80% or 85% as full discharging & full charging accelerates degradation & the specs could never be met.. If you don’t follow their criteria, you will never meet get anywhere near the specs.

    The problem is These Spec sheets were never meant for the consumer. There meant for product developers who research the details & the criteria used for obtaining these specs & choose a battery according to their needs.

    Batteries are effected by many variables. Heat, humidity, cold etc & all will cause degradation. They will degrade just sitting & unused. They will discharge even when not connected to anything. The only advantage to Lithium is they discharge at a slower rate. Neither the 10Kwh or 7Kwh will meet the specs in real use.
    As to your suggestion of increasing the battery capacity. That would defeat the purpose of rating batteries to begin with.

    There is also another cost. Charging a 7Kwh battery to capacity requires more then 7Kwh of electricity. It’s a percentage, but I don’t recall off hand what that is.

  • Omega Z

    Some say what you don’t know wont hurt you.
    China has huge tracks of farmland so toxic that consuming food grown there will kill you. It’s so bad, that the Chinese government finally intervened. These chemicals have caused more harm then Fukushima or Chernobyl. Being in China,most of the world doesn’t pay attention because it’s NIMBY.

    Actually, NIMBY is being violated everywhere. Just not to the extent as in China. YET. 90% of this is happening in China, but increased demand requires it to come from many places. China has maxed out it’s production. One company in California has produced 40 million gallons of toxic sludge & hasn’t started production yet.

    Much is dumped in designated landfills. Most of these will leak maybe a 100 years from now. About half of this sludge isn’t even reported.(Only large concerns are required to file reports.) This stuff is so toxic, it almost makes fracking fluids appear to be potable water. All these hidden costs will come due eventually. They’ve just kicked the can down the road to hide it..

  • Omega Z

    The $3000 wholesale price doesn’t include inverters & other hardware or installation. They require installation by an electrician who don’t work cheap.
    You can buy a new high efficiency furnace for about $1K but when you add all the extra’s plus installation, you can easily top $2K.

    Tesla expects dealers/installers to add 20% to the cost. This is not profit per se, but is used to cover business overhead. Instillation labor is separate. The inverter will probably run in the neighborhood of $1K. Labor will depend on the specific job. There all different. All these costs have to be included. $5000 would be a good starting point but may be more.

    Uncertain Costs. Depending on the distance of the Powerwall to the service entrance, wire alone can be expensive. My new service panel required 15 ft, x 3=45ft. 1 ought copper wire at $3 a foot. $135 material

    Not all homes will be Powerwall ready. They may require an entirely new electrical service. That’s about $2K in my area. $800 for materials. I’ve the skills, I did it myself. Places such as California are usually more expensive.

    Tesla shows 12 cents a Kwh. They rounded down from 0.1241Kwh
    They also didn’t include throughput that is 92% so 7kwh is now 6440Kwh.
    They also omit the 20% degradation over those 5000 cycles. Without a life cycle analysis you can’t be certain of the average, but I think 10% average give or take overall would be fair plus the 8% throughput loss totals 18% average loss. That gives you an average of 5740Kwh’s not 7Kwh.

    Tesla offers a 9 year lease at $5K up front. I’ve been in business. I know how this works. They don’t make much profit up front. There will be a service contract. That’s where they will make their money. Tho it may appear cheap in the customers eyes, Business loves it. They make a killing of this.

    In the end, your just paying a storage fee & an expensive 1 at that. However, I Googled this as of late, California has an 0.85+ cent peek rate in the summer. If I lived there, I’d have to consider this. That or move.

  • Omega Z

    “The cost for electricity from fossil fuels doesn’t include mitigation of its pollution effects either, or the hundreds of lives lost per GW-year”

    fact police, This is a Crap Argument. How many 1000’s died from Small Pox vaccine side effects. How many Billion didn’t. Life is trade offs. Without the adaptation of fossil fuels, far more would have died. We would still be in the dark ages. How many will die from the toxic slurries created producing the materials for wind/solar technology. The fossil fuel era is just a step.

    Do you have any Idea how many will die mining & producing materials for LENR. Probably less then Fossil energy, but it will happen. Producing Lithium is not clean. Do you know anything about the process & where it is actually obtained from. With your mind set, we should just go back to hunter gathers. But Know this, Billions will die.

  • Omega Z

    These are but storage containers. They can hold a certain amount of energy & can be drained & recharged a certain number of times.(Kind of like a 5 gallon gas can that can only be used a certain number of times & then disintegrates.) You take the total Kwh’s into the price & that is your approximate cost of storage. The cost of electricity itself is not included & has nothing to do with the storage cost per Kwh. Whether it lasts 1,5,10 or 20 years does not change this cost. Only if you get more or less out of the battery then what the specs say would these numbers very. Getting more tends to be an exception and less then specified the rule. As posted near the bottom..
    ————————————————————
    The 10Kwh battery specs is rated for approximately 1500 recharges. Musk in his speech to share holders said 1200 recharges. And OK, I changed .33 to .35 cents. Don’t recall now where I got that adjusted number. Here’s the facts. But still, I was being lenient.
    ————————————————————
    10Kwh x 1500=15000Kwh ____ divided into $5K cost is 0.3333-> cents.
    It was mentioned that the cost was $7K installed. I didn’t use that number because the phrasing left me with questions, but
    10Kwh x 1500=15000Kwh ____ divided into $7K cost installed is 0.4666-> cents. As I said, I have questions on this number.
    ————————————————————
    I can only guess as to why Musk said 1200 recharges. Maybe that’s the average they expect or for legal issues. You tell people 1500 recharges & it’s less then that, you find yourself mired in lawsuits.
    However, based on 1200 equates to 12000Kwh.
    12000Kwh ____ divided into $5K cost is 0.4166-> cents.
    12000Kwh ____ divided into $7K cost installed is 0.5833-> cents.
    ————————————————————
    The 7Kwh battery is rated at approximately 5000 recharges.
    It was priced at $5500 & I believe that included install.
    7Kwh x 5000=35000Kwh ____ divided into $5500 cost is 0.1571-> cents.
    ————————————————————
    At the original Announcement of the Powerwall.
    7 kWh battery uses nickel-manganese-cobalt chemistry
    10 kWh battery, using a nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode
    ————————————————————
    News Flash. My numbers are apparently low.
    92% efficient conversion DC/AC. They use 90% expectation.
    92% of 15000Kwh =13800 //// 92% of 35000Kwh=32200
    They also report a 20% degradation over life cycle. These numbers decline more. Tesla info on the 7Kwh was less then 29000Kwh over life cycle.
    ————————————————————
    It is Musk’s intention to replace these with his Lithium batteries when his factory is complete. Their Batteries cash & carry are 7Kw -$3K & 10Kw -$3500. They expect vendors to “add 20% mark up) plus the inverter hardware & installation extra. Everything installed will like run between $5K // $6K.
    They can also be installed in banks of 9: 7Kwh/63Kwh or 10Kwh/90Kwh
    Musk’s prices on his lithium batteries also depend on him actually achieving a 30% cost savings. That is not a given.
    I don’t have the link at the present, but they are targeting areas with high Kwh rates at 0.35 // 0.40 cents. California & Hawaii Etc…

    Your Right Fact checker, My calculated numbers are probably low as total capacity usable will suffer about 18 to 20% loss over time…

  • Albert D. Kallal

    The simple matter is that solar and wind simply does not compete with our traditional forms of energy.

    The Dutch abandoned wind power many years ago. So did the shipping industry.

    And I think it is rather obvious that solar does not run during the night. Most parts of the world have a shortage of affordable housing. However it would be silly to state for every house we build that we NOW must build a second house that will be un-occupied. (it creates poverty if you force this).

    The same goes for solar – you have to not only build the solar, but ALSO have to build something that runs and provides power during the night and when you have clouds. In most cases, this means traditional (fossil) fuel systems ALSO are required to be built. Or you spend double the amount on capacity and attempt to store such energy. EVEN then, you will have periods without sun and thus one has to cost out and build backup of some type (that you hardily ever use – just like building empty houses!).

    Even in VERY sunny areas, the promoters of solar tend to WAY OVER state how much sun and energy they can receive.

    The Ivanpah solar plant California I a great example. Not only is this plant frying and killing HUGE numbers of birds, but they also totally oversold what the plant could and would deliver.

    The result?

    The plat is running on natural gas 4 hours a day DURING sunlight hours!!!!

    You can read about this cruel joke here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/15/solar-fossil-fueled-fantasies/

    Bill Gates is simply stating the obvious – solar is not ready. This statement makes perfect sense. And thus Gates calling for more R&D also makes even more sense.

    The obvious result means some form of nuclear or other kind of power is the ONLY practical choice. Gates does not state what the alternatives are, but it becomes rather obvious if not solar and wind – so you only left with something like LENR.

    The way I see this, when you eliminate solar/wind, you quite much voting for something like LENR.

    There also confusing with the numbers given for how far you can travel on 1kW of electricity. We not talking about some electric dune buggy, but a real practical car.

    For every hour of charging from a standard wall plug, your car will go about 3 miles (and that does NOT including heating, or air conditioning – that will drop this number). (and, yes, you can install “special” changing systems that charge at a higher rate, but the BASE number is required for cost comparisons).

    What above means that in 8 hours of charging your car, you can go about 24 miles! And that “cost” of going 24 miles in California during peak electric times is 80 cents a KW.

    The cost? 8 hours x 80 cents (you drawing 1000 watts per hour of charging) = $6.40.

    A high mileage car easy get 40 mpg. At $4 per gallon, you will drive that 24 miles for $2.40 cost vs $6.40 based on peak rate electricity in California. California has ASTRONOMICAL peak power rate. Of course such a peak rate is NOT a fair comparison to gasoline, but we need to look at both ends of the cost spectrum here.

    While the average electric cost is about 13 cents per kWh, a lot of places have high rates. New York is 18 cents. And let’s not even get started at rates in Europe!

    The “cross over” point for electric to compete with gas is about 30 cents a kWh. So to be fair, electricity is cheaper then gas in most cases. However we don’t have “spare” electricity and in most places they are pushing higher rates to reduce consuming. With electric cars we need to DRAMATIC reverse this trend and substantial increase electric generating capacity on a large scale to keep rates low. ALL of the trends point to the opposite direction and we NOT seeing huge increases in electrifying capacity anytime soon.

    Half the population does not live in single dwelling housing – these people thus have rather limited options for plugging in their cars when they get home. (and in larger cities, only 10% of people live in single dwellings)

    The amount of additional power requirements for a typical high rise parking complex boggles the mind! (and this higher density housing has little options and choices for solar panels).

    With SOARING peak electric power rates in places like California (as high as 80 cents or even MORE to discourage power use). That means your 10,000 watt air conditioning system will cost you $8 per hour to run! (10 hours at that rate = 80 dollars!!!). They simply thus are turning off their air conditioning since they cannot afford as such. (more poverty). And we are suggesting to use “limited” and rather scare resource of electricity to run our cars? Really????

    How on earth is California going mandate electric cars with their peak rates of 80 cents per kWh? These folks are really crazy!

    One also has to realize that such charging systems on cars only achieve about 70% (so for every 1000 kWh you draw from the grid, you only get 700 kWh of charging and usable energy into the batteries).

    We not going to run our factories, schools, hospitals and our modern economy on solar. To think as such is wishful thinking.

    However, with LENR, we don’t need solar anyway!

    The way I see this, LENR is arriving at a NEAR perfect time in history.

    Regards,
    Albert D. Kallal
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada

    • fact police

      Kallal wrote:

      The simple matter is that solar and wind simply does not compete with our traditional forms of energy.

      Presumably, you mean it doesn’t compete economically, because environmentally (measured by deaths per unit energy for example), both wind and solar (but especially wind) are orders of magnitude ahead of fossil fuels, without even considering the risk of climate change from CO2.

      But even economically, it’s not that simple. Probably, yes, calculating a global average, fossil fuel power is cheaper to the end user than wind and solar. But that’s because so much of the fossil fuel power comes from cheap and dirty coal power plants. When compared to modern, cleaner and more desirable natural gas plants, wind is quite competitive, and in some places cheaper. Solar, with some exceptions, is still typically more expensive, but its costs are dropping the fastest of any energy source.

      Of course, with so many variables in play in these technologies, it is easy for skeptics who fear change or sacrifice to put a negative spin on renewables, as you demonstrate very well. But if you keep an open mind, and do a fair analysis, just based on environmental effects, there is a very strong case to be made that research and deployment of renewable technologies should be pursued post-haste, and even if they are more expensive, they might nevertheless provide humanity with better value.

      The Dutch abandoned wind power many years ago.

      A joke, I know, but simply not true. The dutch wind capacity has increased every year since at least 1997, and wind accounts for more than 6% of their electricity, close to (but below) the EU average of 8%.

      And I think it is rather obvious that solar does not run during the night.

      Skeptics seem to think they are so clever when they point out that the earth rotates, but it *is* obvious to advocates as well, and you can be sure that their advocacy is not in ignorance of, but in spite of this truth.

      Most parts of the world have a shortage of affordable housing. However it would be silly to state for every house we build that we NOW must build a second house that will be un-occupied. (it creates poverty if you force this).

      The same goes for solar – you have to not only build the solar, but ALSO have to build something that runs and provides power during the night and when you have clouds. In most cases, this means traditional (fossil) fuel systems ALSO are required to be built. Or you spend double the amount on capacity and attempt to store such energy.

      This is a terribly disingenuous rationalization for opposition to renewable development, and the analogy to houses is not helpful.

      If one were to argue that a single solar farm were to be designed to power the planet (or a continent), then you would have a case. But that’s not the way it works.

      For now, if we agree that fossil fuels are an undesirable source of energy for a variety of reasons (finite, dirty, risk of climate change), then it makes sense to build renewable plants to reduce our use of fossil fuels. As long as the majority of power still comes from fossil fuels, a well-designed grid can easily mitigate the intermittency of renewables. Every unit of energy solar and wind put on the grid, means one less unit of energy has to come from fossil fuels.

      Perhaps this limits the extent of the contribution from wind and solar, but it’s not clear by how much. As wind and solar farms become ubiquitous across a large grid, they can begin to average each other out. In principle, with a global grid, the sun is always shining and the wind is always blowing somewhere. Moreover, hydro and existing nuclear plants can also contribute to the smoothing.

      As the penetration of solar and wind increases over time, other technologies will not stand still. New generation geothermal might be a suitable counterpart to solar and wind. And yes, storage technology will also improve. If a breakthrough in storage comes along, we will all benefit if a substantial renewable infrastructure is already in place to take advantage of it, rather than having to wait a few more decades.

      The outright dismissal of storage seems extremely short sighted. Fossil fuels, after all, store solar energy chemically. There is every reason to expect faster methods could be made economical. The cost of solar energy per unit energy does not increase if you make a larger farm, and store the energy for use in the dark. The additional cost is only from the cost of storage.

      The worst we can do is sit around and be pessimistic about solar and over-optimistic about LENR.

      Finally, photovoltaics do not need blue sky. Clouds reduce the insolation, but diffuse light still produces electricity.

      Even in VERY sunny areas, the promoters of solar tend to WAY OVER state how much sun and energy they can receive.

      The Ivanpah solar plant California I a great example. Not only is this plant frying and killing HUGE numbers of birds, but they also totally oversold what the plant could and would deliver.

      The result?

      The plat is running on natural gas 4 hours a day DURING sunlight hours!!!!

      Nearly every promoter of a new technology oversells it. Even Rossi.

      But this is a good example of cherry-picking. The Ivanpah farm represents an example of concentrated solar power. Without getting in to its particular feasibility, concentrated solar represents less than one tenth of existing solar power sources, the vast majority being from photovoltaics. So, it’s not representative of the field.

      Consider instead the largest solar farm (Solar Star I and II) with 579 MW installed capacity which came on line 10 days ago, or the two second largest PV solar farms, both 550 MW installed capacity. Topaz and Desert Sunlight are both in California, and both came on line in the last year. PV’s work when it’s cloudy, and simply involve multiplexing small, well-characterized units, so their output is much more predictable.

      The natural gas at Ivanpah is used in the morning to start the boilers. That’s not necessary with PV farms.

      Also, PVs don’t fry birds, but I can’t leave that comment alone. What is a “huge” number? Are you really worried about birds? The Exxon Valdez killed 250,000 birds, and countless fish. BP probably far higher. 7 million birds are killed per year by communications towers. And cats kill a billion a year or more.

      Of course, effects on wildlife have to be considered, but it should be done with numbers, not adjectives. And it should be compared with the alternative. One estimate is that 3500 birds are killed in a year at Ivanpah. That corresponds to about 3.5 birds per GWh. According to estimates at cleantechnica.com/2013/11/26/wind-farm-bird-deaths-fossil-fuel-nuclear-bird-deaths/, that’s about 10 times more than wind, but 3 times less than fossil fuel plants, which kill 9.4 birds per GWh.

      [a peculiar comparison of electric to gas cars]

      There are so many ways to compare gas and electric cars, that anyone can find a way to satisfy their prejudice, if they really want to. And it’s likely that at present, with capital costs included, owning an electric car will not deliver a significant, if any, saving in total cost of ownership.

      But if you break it down to the simplest form, the conclusion is inescapable that electric cars should be developed and deployed, and short of engines running on LENR, will be the cars of the future.

      Consider first fossil fuels as the only source of energy. Then the pump to wheel efficiency of gasoline cars is about 20%, and that doesn’t include the cost (energy) involved in refining and transporting the fuel to the pump.

      The grid to wheel efficiency for an electric car is close to 90%. The electricity can be produced at an efficiency of 40%, giving an overall efficiency of 36%.

      And that’s only part of it. When you add in the fact that electric cars can easily incorporate (and do universally) regenerative breaking, and the relative independence of the efficiency of an electric engine to speed, electric cars get in practice more than a factor of 2 advantage in well-to-wheel efficiency. In addition, all-electric cars are dramatically simpler, with far fewer things to maintain, so that in principle, apart from the batteries, should be much less expensive to build and maintain.

      And beyond that improvement in efficiency, centralized burning of fossil fuels has great advantages for doing it more cleanly, and for separating pollution from where people live.

      It’s true that if the electricity is produced by coal, then for some of the lower efficiency electric cars, the carbon footprint can be bigger than if they used gasoline from oil. But still, in principle, if the oil that made the gasoline were used to make electricity, you get away with using half of it.

      So even in this kind of worst case scenario, with all the energy from fossil fuels, electric cars use less energy — less fossil fuels, and are therefore environmentally cleaner.

      Now, when you consider hydro, and increasing contributions from wind and solar, this environmental advantage only grows. So, it makes sense to start now, getting the infrastructure in place, so that as renewables come on line, humanity can get maximum benefit from them.

      So, if they use less energy, even when it’s made from the same resource, the only reasons in principle for it to be less economical are political, or the cost of storage (batteries), or the lack of economies of scale.

      These things are all changing, and the only way they can continue to change is with more research and more deployment to get the economies of scale and the infrastructure out there. The announcements of the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3, both with 200 mile range and at a price of 40k or less shows that economic parity is very close, and perhaps even lower with lower energy costs.

      However, with LENR, we don’t need solar anyway!

      Of course, that would be ideal. But what if the result is negative, as Rossi keeps warning? What if we have to wait for another 26 years, and after that LENR still is not practical.

      For those not as convinced as you that LENR is around the corner, it does make sense to keep plugging away at other renewables. If LENR then does succeed, well, it won’t be so bad to decommission all those PV panels. But if it doesn’t succeed, we need a plan B.

      • Omega Z

        In the 80’s, The U.S. Government built a high efficiency experimental Coal plant. It obtained 44% efficiency verses the normal 32%-33% with a doubling of profit per ton of coal burnt. It cost more to build, but profits exceed the additional cost.

        It also captured in excess of 95% of all effluents much of what was recycled through which helped make it so efficient. It burned so hot that it was thought with additional engineering it could be used for combined cycle generation reaching 55% plus efficiency. The Government prodded Energy companies to build them. Even by today’s advanced coal plant technology, this was huge.

        It had everything an Energy company should want. Far cleaner, Very profitable with cheaper consumer electricity using less coal. Not a single plant was built. Makes no sense. At that time, consumer groups had applied pressure to the Government to Cap profits. They wouldn’t allow the Utilities to keep any of the extra profit. Not even enough to cover the higher cost of the technology. In Essence, build it & make less profit then they were with the existing technology. That’s when I realized Government isn’t the answer. They are the problem…

      • Albert D. Kallal

        I certainly agree and want continued investment into solar power and renewables.

        The main problem is due to political correct thinking, most of the solar plants have been the result of impractical government funding. By spending such money we simply increase poverty.

        Spain went on a huge solar/wind spending spree. In most cases such programs fill the pockets of those reaping HUGE government subsidies and paybacks. The result is VERY much increased poverty and unemployment that occurred in Spain. IN fact Spain is not much better off then Greece now. They are in this pickle since they spent huge amounts of money on things that don’t create wealth. You go on a spending spree, but don’t maintains your car – you will not have a car or even the money to fix + repair the car! The result is your county has LESS things in which to get work done and create wealth. Spain ignored basic economy and went on a huge solar spending spree – the result is a HUGE messed up economy. They pumped billions into something that not giving you a return for that money spent. An economy can only withstand only certain levels of stupidly.

        Wind and solar is simply not the answer and it will NOT give us the standard of living we achieved with fossil fuels.

        Without question we will trend away from fossil fuels and this is a great trend. The trick will be to achieve such a transition without causing huge poverty and suffering. Unfortunately the track record of solar and those feeding at huge government gutters of money is not the solution.

        Solar power is NOT the answer to our needs and it has far too many limitations. I don’t see those limitations falling anytime soon.

        And as I pointed out, while electric cars are becoming rather amazing, the TREND is HUGE electric costs in the very markets that are suggesting we adopt such cars! We simply do not have ANYTHING close to a trend that suggests we will lower electricity costs. We also don’t see ANY trend that suggests we will substantial increase the available electricity we have.

        Until something occurs to push down electric costs (as opposed to the VERY high rates being used to discourage consuming), then adopting of electric cars will not be held back by battery or technology – but that of having abundant and affordable electricity.

        EVERY market where solar power has been adopted has seen huge increases in the cost of electricity – hardly a solution or even a supportable trend for electric cars.

        And yes – I much agree that LENR is a big bet and hope – but it looks to be the only solution to keep the world warm, and feeding the hungry of the world.

        Regards,
        Albert D. Kallal
        Edmonton, Alberta Canada

        • Daniel Maris

          On the basis of your logic, you would think that the countries with the highest levels of renewable energy – Germany, Denmark, Iceland, Norway for instance – would be among the poorest in Europe.

    • Daniel Maris

      I note you’re bang in the middle of the oil and gas capital of Alberta, so your arguments are probably ones you hear all the time. Doesn’t make them true.

      I won’t repeat Fact Police’s counter arguments below but suffice to say that the only real substance in what you say is that currently, in temperate zones at least, solar plus storage (SPS) is more expensive than fossil fuel usage.

      The issue, though, is whether this is going to change anytime soon. The cost of solar has been in freefall for several years and analysts see no reason why that shouldn’t continue. Wind energy is also on a downward path.

      If at any point SPS becomes cheaper in the market, then all your arguments are redundant.

      Couple of points…

      Firstly, EVs can “fill up” when electricity is at its cheapest – normally at night.

      Secondly, the “cheapness” of fossil fuels is over-estimated because (a) many of its costs (e.g. pollution of land, air and water and injuries to workers) have been hidden (b) many of its capital costs (e.g. building railways, docks, and opening up mines) were sunk long ago.

  • Herb Gillis

    Gates should visit this website: http://www.jouleunlimited.com/

  • georgehants

    Perhaps Mr Gates would like to follow his own advice and donate a few pennies of his wealth to MFMP.

  • we want LENR Fusione Fredda
  • Daniel Maris

    I don’t find Gates at all credible. Sounds like he is in an ego battle with Musk who is one of our LEAST ego-driven billionaires.

    To take a number of his erroneous statements:

    1. Solar plus storage (SPS) is already beating fossil fuels on price in various places on the planet.

    2. Solar radiation does not have a direct relationship with “warm” locations. The Amazon is warm but it’s not the greatest place to collect solar radiation.

    3. As for the “long periods of time where it’s cloudy and you don’t have sun or you don’t have wind” – what does he mean by “long”? There are no times when you “don’t have sun” during a 24 hour cycle. What you may have is low solar radiation – possibly as low as 20% of the average on any particular day. But it is very rare (at least in the UK) for it to be both cloudy AND still on the wind front. So the “long” periods are probably like 3 days max. But renewable energy is not just wind and solar. You have energy from waste, biomass, tidal, hydro and geothermal. It is not as though you have to replace 100% of your electricity generation.
    Moreover, if your population has moved into electric vehicle transportation, you have a ready-made storage facility. That might not cover 100% of a three day dip but it might produce something like 20%. Then, if you are on a continental grid, there is no reason why you can’t import electricity when your own generation dips. That could easily account for 50% of your shortfall.

    • Pekka Janhunen

      Every now and then (perhaps once per 200-500 years) there is a large volcanic eruption which dims out the sun on the hemisphere for a couple of years. If a grid-based renewable energy system is built with an assumption that the sun always shines somewhere on the continent, the assumption ceases to be valid during such years. It’s an inherent drawback of ground-based solar which can only be addressed by having fossil or other type of reserve capacity.

      • Daniel Maris

        According to Wikipedia: ” One proposed volcanic winter occurred around 73,000–71,000 years ago following
        the supereruption of Lake Toba on Sumatra island in Indonesia. In the following 6 years there was the
        highest amount of volcanic sulphur
        deposited in the last 110,000 years, possibly causing significant deforestation in Southeast Asia and the
        cooling of global temperatures
        by 1 °C”

        A reduction in temperature by just 1 degree from the worst event.

        Yes, perhaps less solar radiation gets through but I would be surprised if it was more than 2-3% reduction. Even if it was a 20% reduction (veyr doubtful), that shortfall could quickly be made up through increased panel production. In any case, I would imagine any sensible government would have a reserve of panels just as we store oil and gas now for emergencies.

        I am afraid that in a 24 hour cycle the sun really does shine somewhere! And PV panels don’t require blue sky conditions to work in any case.

        Actually, snowfall is more of a concern.

        • Pekka Janhunen

          Wikipedia “1815 eruption of Mount Tambora” (the so-called year without summer) says that global temperature fell only 0.4-0.7deg, but “In the spring and summer of 1815, a persistent ‘dry fog’ was observed in
          the northeastern United States. The fog reddened and dimmed the
          sunlight, such that sunspots were visible to the naked eye. Neither wind
          nor rainfall dispersed the ‘fog’. It was identified as a stratospheric
          sulfate aerosol veil.”

          Lord Byron wrote his poem Darkness inspired by the event. According to him “.. there was a celebrated dark day, on which the fowls went to roost at noon, and the candles were lighted as at midnight.”

          Adding to the effect is, I think, that if continental areas cool because of the aerosols, the oceans are still warm which may increase low-altitude cloudiness near coastal areas – of course depending on the season.

          • Daniel Maris

            Are you seriously claiming there was anything more than a 1% reduction in insolation in 1815? But unless you are your observations are of no relevance to the viability of SPS in such conditions.

            • Pekka Janhunen

              Yes I think that the insolation was reduced by much more than 1% during that summer in Europe and at least parts of North America.

        • Omega Z

          There is a Super Volcano in Yellow Stone park that has entered the time frame of becoming active. If it goes, Most life on earth will end. It’s easy for some bureaucratic wonk to say 10% of humanity will survive until you take into account the nature of humanity. Their going to take much of that 10% with them. It may happen 50K years from now. Or it could happen tomorrow. What’s certain isn’t if, but when this will happen.

          On a lighter note, A lesser Event that reduced sunlight by 50% for just 6 months could collapse world society as we know it based on solar energy. We wouldn’t fair much better then the scenario above. They both have 1 major element in common. The nature of humanity.

          Someone is shot or beaten to death & people riot & burn down an entire neighborhood or half a city including the facilities that provide them sustenance & shelter from the elements. The plague, People probably killed as many of each other as the disease. That is humanity. Maybe this wasn’t much of a lighter note.

          • Daniel Maris

            We won’t get to 100% SPS in 50 years (we’ll still have renewables – EFW, biomass, hydro, tidal, geothermal and so on – and I would expect natural gas to feature in the overall picture for several decades to come) and by the time we do , I would predict we will have solar energy satellites, capturing solar radiation much more efficiently – they would be immune to volcanic flows, or indeed anything else happening down on earth.

      • Alain Samoun

        Pekka: Earth can collide with a meteorite, Solar explosion can destruct communication,electric grid and create hundreds of Fukushima putting humanity back to stone age. Following your reasoning about solar energy, does that mean that we should stop doing anything with technology ?

        • Pekka Janhunen

          Do you stop driving because an accident can happen? Probably not. Do you wear a safety belt? Probably yes.

    • Omega Z

      The 7Kwh battery from Musk’s Powerwall costs 17/18 cents per Kwh storage. This doesn’t include the cost of electricity regardless whether that be wind or solar. Probably, when the battery is no longer any good, there will be a disposal/recycle fee. That storage fee just went up.

      I pay about 12 cents per Kwh from the grid. That includes everything. The electricity, grid costs, profits & Federal/State/Local taxes. Apparently, your (SPS) isn’t no where near competitive.

      It may be competitive in places like California where they can see rates of around 40 cents a Kwh. I wonder why their electricity costs 3.5x higher then mine. Before they incorporated wind/solar into the mix, there rates were about 13/14 cents. About 2 cents more then mine due to a higher state utility tax. Surely it can’t be that inexpensive green energy.

      Now it’s proposed to use my EV battery for storage. OK, 18 cents+2 cents for the recycling fee & I want a 25% profit for the inconvenience(I may want to go somewhere & can’t because you drained my battery) so I want 25 cents for every Kwh they draw back out for storage costs. It’ll be much more if I have to supply the electricity stored in it. If they don’t like that, then they should buy their own batteries. I’m not paying someone else’s storage costs.

      The, we can Use peoples EV batteries for grid storage is a CON. These are the types of proposals to sell people on something that is a no go. Hoping they don’t catch on.

      FUD is becoming a very common practice. To promote or degrade depending on the agenda. Did you know that eating eggs will make your teeth fall out, body parts fall off, make you go blind & lead to cancer among many other terrible things. Not Really. This is just the type of FUD that some Vegan groups would use because they don’t want you to eat eggs. But if you repeat it often enough, it takes on a life of it’s own. Maybe I should start my own FUD factory. I’ll replace the egg with celery or some other vegetable.

      “energy from waste, biomass” Like pelleting trees to burn for energy is Bogas. It’s a joke. Your taking natures sequestered CO2 & putting it back into the atmosphere. Might as well be coal or N-gas. Just put an annual limit as to how much & achieve the same results. Nature sequesters a lot so there plenty of wiggle room,

      As to Musk not having a super Ego, He’s just better at concealing it. Of which experience tells me, it is probably bigger then Bill Gates Ego who feels a need to flaunt his.

      It works like this. Point out the nicest person you know & that is the person I least want to pi$$ off. They suppress an equivalent dark side. You don’t want to expose it.

      • Daniel Maris

        I don’t think anyone is suggest that SPS is competitive today with fossil fuels in temperate zones. But it is getting closer all the time. Anyway, it’s not me, it’s bank analysts who think this will happen. There is no obvious lower limit to the costs of SPS. It is expected that PV panels will get cheaper and batteries will also get cheaper. At some point the graph lines will cross.

        • Omega Z

          “bank analysts”
          These are the people who will try & talk you into buying a more expensive house then you can truly afford. They practice fuzzy math. It’s in their interest in making more interest. They also led the housing bubble. There the ones who convinced millions of people they could afford more then they could. That didn’t turn out so well.

          I’m not against the Idea. It just isn’t cheap & I don’t think it’s headed for cheap. Presently, it makes up a small part of the energy factor. Like Oil, as demand increases, it will only increase in price. There also promoting a system of continuous replacement. 10 years at best for batteries & 20 years average on the rest of it. That’s less then half the life cycle of existing energy production.

          10’s of millions can’t afford this. We’re going to have to charge you a surtax to pay for them. Now, You can’t afford it. We need a major technology breakthrough or something totally different. Solar will become cheaper? Maybe, and Batteries will become cheaper? Maybe, But together, they will still be more expensive then exiting energy that many can’t afford. The more things cost, the lower the standard of living.

          • Daniel Maris

            People aren’t stupid. They will only move individually to SPS if it makes financial sense. In the USA I believe there are more than a million properties off the grid. I presume that’s Musk’s first target market – the people who currently operate expensive diesel generators or similar.

            More generally SPS will only be adopted widely for central electricity generation when it is cheaper than fossil fuels.

            • Omega Z

              Musk himself has stated that he’s targeting Power companies for peek demand periods. They will buy shipping containers filled with batteries.

              Power companies reserve their oldest, dirtiest least efficient/profitable plants for peak demand. Think Hot summer day when everyone cranks up the AC. His thinking is along the lines that they can charge the batteries & when demand is lower at night & use the batteries for peak use in the heat of the day. The dirty plants wont be required.

              • Daniel Maris

                That’s part of the strategy, yes. But he is also selling to individual property owners. Let’s say there were 3 million people in the US who are either off grid or might go off grid. If 50% bought an average of $5000 worth of his batteries, that would be $1.5 billion of revenue.

  • builditnow

    Bill Gates’s behavior shows he acts on what his rich buddies are interested in. He’s interested in providing food for Africa, guess who he works with, Monsanto, GMO and chemical farming. Why, probably because they are his buddies. Likely the same with nuclear.

    Bill Gates has never been a forward thinking inventive type person to my awareness. He is strategically clever with already proven technology. Most of Microsoft’s products were purchased after the market had been proven out (MS DOS, Excel, Word are some) or, he copies the market leader some years later (Apple). I know for a solid fact, directly from one of the HP team members, that Microsoft stole the concepts behind HP’s version of windows to build windows 3.0 etc. Microsoft then tried to sue HP for having a similar product, and lost.

    My confidence is low that Bill Gates will do the smart thing.
    I wonder what Bill is really pushing for.
    He is more in the rear-view crowd.
    Instead of holding your breath for Bill to act, lets get our own LENR examples going.

    • bachcole

      It is rarely the case that someone who is most successful in one field can change to another field and excel.

      • Daniel Maris

        Gates is a midget compared with the giant Musk – who is actually achieving real and fundamental change in fields other than he started in. Gates had his chance and he blew it. It is Musk who will be remembered.

        • builditnow

          Daniel, yep, Musk is a true inventor and creator, he has a genius for making things work where others don’t dare to try. A giant compared to Gates. Many many people will be able to go off grid with a combination of solar panels and Musk’s batteries, even on that point, Gates is somewhat off track. It makes me wonder what Gates is actually up to. Is he helping to push something? Fission plants of some sort that his rich buddy wants more of your and my money for?

          LENR however, will be such a fantastic answer that all other energy technologies will wither away.

          • Omega Z

            You can’t fairly compare Musk & Gates.
            Gates sees someone else’s technology & exploits it.
            Musk Dreams of technology & adapting it. I respect Musk.
            The Issue I’ve always had with Gates is he also exploits the person as well.

    • Omega Z

      builditnow

      Bill Gates & Steve Jobs are/were of similar character. Neither directly created anything. They were merely quick to see the potential of someone else’s work & exploit it. Steve Jobs publicly stated that he & Bill Gates(Video’s on YouTube) stole many others Ideas, but that Bill just wont admit it.

      If Bill Gates was privy to a working Pilot plant, I think he would fully support it & I think Rossi is smart enough that Gates wouldn’t get the better of him, But Darden I’m not so sure of. It could end up being the Gates Effect. The consumer also wouldn’t fair to well. Under delivered & over priced.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    Ah yes, basic research. Another crazy thought: It might be fun to put some nickel powder with 10% LiAlH4 into an electrodynamic ion trap and see what happens when you play around with various AC frequencies (including the frequency Parkhomov used). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5v-W_pAqIs
    PS
    But don’t call it fun. The proposal must have some constipated sounding title that includes the phrase “climate change” in order to get funding.

    • Alan DeAngelis

      PPS
      Paul and Penning ion traps.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ-13qwRtYs

      • Alan DeAngelis

        PPPS

        Sorry, I’m getting carried away with this thought but what would happen to lithium hydride, LiH crystals (NOT lithium aluminum hydride and nickel powder but just plain lithium hydride) in a Paul or Penning trap at high AC frequencies?

        Li(7) + p > 2He(4) 17.3 MeV?

  • Omega Z

    Gates has said pretty much what I’ve said. Batteries, Wind, Solar have to many issues in cost dependability among other things. These are if no other options are available.

    Something I’ve only posted maybe twice over time, Fossil energy CO2 or not, Isn’t going to last. Not that we’ll necessarily run out, but will in time become cost prohibitive to $ociety. More so then Wind & Solar. It’s just a matter of time.

    As to Gates and LENR – “or it is too controversial to mention” -YES-

    Rossi’s pilot plant test isn’t over. “It may be Positive or Negative”
    I know many are tired of hearing this, But
    Until The ah ahh Lady sings it ain’t over. Got ta be careful what you say. Never know if the PC police are watching. 🙂

    No doubt Rossi has a good idea of the outcome, but it is still R&D. Until the test is finished, you can’t say it is viable & dependable for real world use. Until then, It’s still R&D…

    With that in mind, Bill Gates isn’t going to bring it up. However, He was probably thinking along those lines by promoting research beyond the standard Green Energy, Wind & Solar.

    As far as Bill Gates not being aware of Rossi-
    Researchers in Russia, Researchers in China
    Researchers in India, Researchers everywhere

    If Bill Gates isn’t aware or heard of Rossi, He’s wearing blinders & Ear plugs and living on the moon. I can’t imagine Rossi’s E-cat not being at least brought up at ENEA labs. I would imagine he has also heard about Brillouin Energy & several others. Gates runs in the same circles as Musk & Google Founders. They are all aware. Watching & waiting.

    Elon Musk is probably contemplating whether he can implement LENR into his yet unannounced Space Elevator. Or his Hovering Space Launch Platform 🙂

    • Alain Samoun

      “Gates has said pretty much what I’ve said” Who said it first? 😉
      ” Wind, Solar have to(o) many issues in cost dependability among other things.”

      The only issue is the will to make it work.

      • Omega Z

        I’m pretty sure I said it before Gates as I was saying it when he had the opposite view. However, I doubt I was the 1st to say it. :-}

        “The only issue is the will to make it work.”

        No, The issue is economics. With enough money you can make it work.
        Under best conditions, You get maybe 6 hours of sunlight average I believe this number took into account variables as to efficiency, cloudy days, Etc.. If not, then this is a rosy outlook. Regardless, Where you live may be more or less. It’s an average.

        I have a 1Gwh Fossil plant 24/7. You have a 1Gwh solar farm 6/7. To equal my output, you need 3 more 1Gwh solar farms & 3Gwh battery storage. Wind Turbines average about 25% efficiency. They don’t fair any better.

        Some try to compare apple to apples. We aren’t even comparing apple to oranges here. We speculate that if the E-cat works, We’ll have cheap energy which leads to decreased costs of everything energy. Cheaper means improved standards of living. More expensive is the opposite.

        • Alain Samoun

          Yes I will!
          First, I wouldn’t have 1GW solar farm,I would have 300,000 houses equipped with solar panels with Musk’s batteries. Because the grid consumes at least 1/3 of the energy produced by your antique polluting, prone to breaks,depending on external fuels, expansive to build and maintain fossil plant and when you would be struggling with peaks of energy demand, my electricity storage be working. I may even sell you some surplus if I didn’t have electric cars to charge…

          • Omega Z

            The best time to harvest Solar is also the time when you need it the most. During the heat of the day. Your not going to sell much to the utilities.

            Musk’s Mega-plant will produce 500K batteries a year. That is more then a doubling of Lithium battery production in the WORLD. Less then 500K today. The reason He is building it in Nevada is because they are opening a Lithium mine near by. If not for that mine, he probably wouldn’t have access to enough lithium for his 500K batteries.

            To replace ICE vehicles with Lithium battery EV’s, they would need to build 85 million batteries a year. This doesn’t include home or industry storage The price of Lithium is going no where but UP. Without a battery breakthrough, It probably isn’t going to happen. It can take up to 15 years to open a new mine. It takes about 2 years to go from brine to Lithium pure enough to make use of. That’s a long production period from scratch to product.

            Lithium battery production is highly automated & at the same time extremely labor intensive. There is room for more automation, but cost reductions are limited. Even if you force the Chinese to reduce their $2 an hour wage to zero, Even automation costs $2/$5 an hour. They wont be cheap.

  • Gerrit

    Bill Gates should publicly invest 5 million USD into LENR, it would cause a huge multi million interest in the topic. If anything real and useful can be done with LENR it would surface sooner, if the old sinner would just invest a bit of his wealth.

    • Omega Z

      Even if he did, It wouldn’t be made public. It’s still too controversial.

      • Alain Samoun

        Why do you say “LENR is too controversial”? Controversial for who? For people unaware of the hundreds of experiments showing that it does exist, that’s all. I think that repeating that LENR/Cold Fusion is controversial today, is playing in the hands of the interests who do not want it to succeed.

        • Omega Z

          Rossi & his E-cat have been mentioned in most or all the MSM.
          They all ended their news segments with a smirk or a laugh.
          ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, FOX,- Forbes-what happened to Mark Gibbs when he started developing an encouraging attitude. His replacement is derogatory about it when he reports about LENR. He don’t want to lose his job.

          SPAWAR research got shut down after their research hit the news.
          Several Professors have warned their students it can be a career ender & not to openly pursue LENR until their latter years. That’s controversial.
          I don’t think it will change much until there is a working Industrial product you can point to.

          • psi2u2

            “Several Professors have warned their students it can be a career ender.”

            I was told that, many times, during my PhD research. I am now standing on the verge of the catastrophic collapse of the paradigm of those who said that. Shi(f)t happens.

            “I don’t think it will change much until there is a working Industrial product you can point to.”

            Exactly. That’s why it looks like a lot of fun from where we sit.

            • Omega Z

              Paradigm shifts throughout history coincide with the changing of the old guard adding truth to the saying change 1 death at a time. It’s sad it has to be that way. Wonder what the next Paradigm shift will be. Warp drive maybe?

      • Iggy Dalrymple

        We really have no idea who the main backers of Industrial Heat LLC are, do we?
        Except for Cherokee Investment Partners.

        • Omega Z

          If I recall, Industrial Heat has 14 investors including Darden. 12 of these we have no idea who they are or if there individuals or involve corporations. They also don’t want to be known at this time.