DailyDirt: Fusion Is Less Than 30 Years Away (Maybe)

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Fusion has been a promising potential energy source for decades. The joke is that it's always just 30 years away. Every so often, people working on various forms of fusion make some news with press releases claiming that they've discovered some revolutionary new way to achieve cheap/free/clean fusion. But whenever a fusion science "breakthrough" is announced in a press release in lieu of a peer-reviewed journal, it usually turns out to be disappointing. Everyone wants to see fusion energy become a reality, but it'd be nice to see real scientific progress towards it instead of promotional hype to boost the reputation of a lone inventor or a company's skunkworks program. It's great to be optimistic about the future of fusion; just don't cry "wolf" too many times, okay? If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 15 Oct 2014 @ 4:13pm

    Cold water on cold fusion

    All those LENR hoaxes/funding-shils are debunked as quickly as they come out.

    http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2013/04/nasas-cold-fusion-folly.html

    Ehud

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    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 15 Oct 2014 @ 5:24pm

      Re: Cold water on cold fusion

      Just because they can't explain it properly doesn't mean it can't possibly be real. The DOD has indeed detect neutrons above the background level in their own LENR tests. It's well documented even if not yet explained. At least two major Japanese heavy industries have also published finding neutrons in their own LENR experiments. Experiments and data almost always come first, with correct theories lagging well behind. Hell, we knew how to do all kinds of crazy shit with electrons long before they ever even knew what the hell an electron was, much less had any theories! Be a bit more open minded.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2014 @ 1:39am

        Re: Re: Cold water on cold fusion

        Just because they can't explain it properly doesn't mean it can't possibly be real.

        Well... if you insist that there is some part of your explanation that must be true, but then you end up with 'unconsistent' or 'unexplainable' phenomena, then maybe, just maybe, the part you insist on may be the part that's wrong...

        And funny how the 'sceptics' can explain the results of LENR experiments by starting from the premisis that the thing is a hoax and/or what's happening is NOT fusion...

        And this is not like a conspiracy theory where the LENR claimants need to prove a negative; if the LENR experiments truly are not a hoax, then 'opening the box' should end all discussions.
        The fact that they refuse to provide true independent testing and verification means that they probably know that whatever's happening is not what they claim.

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        • icon
          randomjoe (profile), 16 Oct 2014 @ 4:54am

          Re: Cold water on cold fusion

          And this is not like a conspiracy theory where the LENR claimants need to prove a negative; if the LENR experiments truly are not a hoax, then 'opening the box' should end all discussions.

          Don't confuse Rossi with the entirety of the "cold fusion" or "LENR" research establishment.

          Rossi is a non-scientist trying to make a buck from LENR. The jury is still out whether his e-cat device is real or a fraud.

          But there are real scientists in several countries who are doing real research into the LENR phenomenon. Not with the same success as Rossi, but enough to continue investigating what seems to be a real phenomenon.

          Just sayin'.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Walker, 16 Oct 2014 @ 8:26am

      Re: Cold water on cold fusion

      Hi all

      In reply to Ehud Gavron.

      A little skit 20,000 years ago.

      Prometheus "I have invented fire!"
      Ehud Gavron A priest of the God Pathoskepsis "Don't speak rubbish! Fire can only come from lightning or volcanoes. The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning"
      Prometheus "I have, I just rub these sticks together see smoke!"
      Ehud Gavron "Your trying to scam people by selling them sticks"
      Prometheus "I am not selling any one sticks you pick sticks up off the ground they fall off trees"
      Ehud Gavron "I have just broke some branches off a tree I am getting no smoke, your trying to scam us there is a hidden pipe to a volcano that produces your smoke."
      Prometheus " What pipe where?"
      Ehud Gavron "That is what your scam is you just hidden the pipe probably underground or out of that bear skin you wear. The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning"
      Prometheus "Ok I will give my sticks to Ugg the great hunter, he can show it is working"
      Ehud Gavron "The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning"
      Ugg "Look I am getting smoke too!"
      Ehud Gavron "Ugg got fooled by Prometheus, who also made clay pots and the pots broke and the chiefs wife got upset and the Chief tied Prometheus to the tree so the birds could peck him, the sticks had hidden smoke in them through a tube Prometheus connected to the ground when he was showing Ugg the magic way to rub the sticks together. The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning"
      Prometheus "The Chief did not tie me to the tree he threatened to because I did not pay him half my hunt, the pots did break, but every one uses pots now and this has got nothing to do with fire out of sticks."
      Ehud Gavron "You cannot get fire from sticks I tried, it is unrepeatable and The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning"
      Prometheus "You tried with green wood from green trees, try it with dry wood off the ground"
      Ehud Gavron "Now you tell us there is some special wood I told everyone this is a scam, see now he wants you to buy his special wood. You cannot get fire from sticks I tried, it is unrepeatable and The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning"
      Prometheus "I have invented fire! I am not just getting smoke any more I am getting embers! Ugg has repeated it!"
      Ehud Gavron "Ugg did not repeat it! Prometheus fooled him with a hidden pipe to a volcano and embers he had hidden in his bear skin! You cannot get fire from sticks I tried, it is unrepeatable and The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning"
      Ugg "Prometheus did not fool me. I got the smoke and embers all by myself after he showed me how to do it.
      Ehud Gavron "Ugg did not repeat it! Ugg is getting old and and is clearly senile. Prometheus fooled him with a hidden pipe to a volcano and embers he had hidden in his bear skin! You cannot get fire from sticks I tried, it is unrepeatable and The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning"
      Ugg "I got Winga the farmer who invented grain and Grick the flint napper to all test rubbing sticks together, we tested it at Pinga the well diggers house so there is no possibility of smoke pipes, we all got smoke and embers from the sticks Prometheus gave us"
      Ehud Gavron "Ugg, Winga and Grick did not repeat it! They are all getting old and and clearly senile. Prometheus fooled them with and embers he had hidden the sticks! You cannot get fire from sticks I tried, it is unrepeatable and The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning. Prometheus is a well known scam artist who also made clay pots and the pots broke and the chiefs wife got upset and the Chief tied Prometheus to the tree so the birds could peck him"
      Ugg, Winga and Grick "Even if he he could hide the embers in the sticks where did the smoke come from?"
      Ehud Gavron "Ugg, Winga and Grick did not repeat it! The smoke cannot be measured by sniffing it and seeing it. It has to be captured in a great special pig skin that you pipe through water. Ugg, Winga and Grick are all getting old and and clearly senile. Prometheus fooled them with and embers he had hidden the sticks! You cannot get fire from sticks I tried, it is unrepeatable and The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning. Prometheus is a well known scam artist who also made clay pots and the pots broke and the chiefs wife got upset and the Chief tied Prometheus to the tree so the birds could peck him"
      Prometheus "I am getting flames from the sticks and the chief has one outside his cave, he is trying it out to see if it will keep off bears and sabertooths at night"
      Ehud Gavron "Prometheus fooled the chief with and embers he had hidden in the sticks! You cannot get fire from sticks I tried, it is unrepeatable and The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning. Prometheus is a well known scam artist who also made clay pots and the pots broke and the chiefs wife got upset and the Chief tied Prometheus to the tree so the birds could peck him"
      Chief "I collected the sticks my self and rubbed them together just like Prometheus described, it works, my wife droped some meat on it and it actualy tastes better, my wife KooK said she has invented the idea and is going to name it after herself. I am going to start selling the right sticks to people who do not collect them themselves"
      Ehud Gavron "See it is all a scam the Chief is in on it with Prometheus. Ugg, Winga and Grick did not repeat it! The Chief, Ugg, Winga and Grick are all getting old and and clearly senile. Prometheus fooled them with and embers he had hidden the sticks! You cannot get fire from sticks I tried, it is unrepeatable and The Gods theory clearly states fire only comes from the Gods in Volcanoes and lightning. Prometheus is a well known scam artist who also made clay pots and the pots broke and the chiefs wife got upset and the Chief tied Prometheus to the tree so the birds could peck him"

      Next day Prometheus was found with his head bashed in gutted with a flint knife tied to a tree, with the crows picking at his flesh.

      Ehud Gavron said the gods did it.

      Kind Regards walker

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 15 Oct 2014 @ 5:18pm

    Wrong kind of fusion is funded

    They keep throwing TENS TO HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS at the wrong kind of fusion. If they spent even a fraction of that on things like the Polywell, we'd already have fusion!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 15 Oct 2014 @ 6:08pm

    Let's separate fact from the other stuff

    "Just because they can't explain it properly doesn't mean it can't possibly be real."

    Sometimes there is what we call a suspension of disbelief. That's how young Harry Potter is a wizardling. That doesn't have a place in the scientific method, however.

    "The DOD has indeed detect neutrons above the background level in their own LENR tests. It's well documented even if not yet explained."

    I'm afraid that's more fanciful than fact as well. It's neither true nor documented.

    I'll not take this back and forth but will summarize what real physicists are saying all over the world -- these are the ones not trying to get a government slush fund grant -- that LENR is a hoax. A Pons & Fleischmann level hoax.

    Cheers, mate,

    E

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    • identicon
      Editor-In-Chief, 15 Oct 2014 @ 8:21pm

      Re: Let's separate fact from the other stuff

      I'll not take this back and forth but will summarize what real physicists are saying all over the world
      Just be careful that the Authority you are referring to is actually correct. I agree that there are many who are shonky. However, there are also things that have been and are being done that on the face of it are not in accordance with the real physicists, etc, way of looking at things.

      I saw a little video recently about a very simple device that appears to produce a small voltage and current without the input of some mechanical and/or electrical energy.

      On reflection, I had to go back some information that was given to me in my undergraduate engineering days for a possible explanation. If what I conjecture is happening, then the device will only be capable of ever producing small amounts of voltage and current, irrespective of the size of the device. This may have a use for small power devices. It all depends on a simple effect that occurs in all materials (though you will probably only see the effect in highly conductive materials), it is temperature based but will have limits in that regards as well.

      Yet, if you gave a description of the device to a physicist, he/she would very likely say you are being conned and that it is not possible for such a device to work. A lot of their reaction will be based on the models they keep in their heads about the way the natural world works.

      History is filled with experts that have been later shown to be wrong.

      David Oliver Graeme Samuel Offenbach

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 16 Oct 2014 @ 12:39am

        Re: Re: Let's separate fact from the other stuff

        Their science and reporting of said putative science has been atrocious continually over the years. The move from sheer crankery to real science needs evidence in itself, let alone the fusion of hydrogen with nickel to produce nickel-56 (or wait, was it copper? I can't keep track any more).

        The thing is, put up (real independent verification not under the claimants control, or respectable papers published, or an actual product), or shut up. This game of high-profile news stories for attention, but with the facts hidden by trade secret is old and tired. The Galileo argument fails: He published his evidence.

        If it is, in fact, for real, they need to stop looking like such a bunch of self-aggrandizing paranoid cranks in search of venture capital. With a convicted fraud-monger as a principal investigator/inventor.

        Therefore, I, and others not looking for the next investment scam in which to lose our money, will reserve interest until these guys actually have something. Previous successful examinations by respected experts still have led to no working product. And honestly, how much more R&D must one do before some form of such a device was useful to someone?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Editor-In-Chief, 16 Oct 2014 @ 2:42am

          Re: Re: Re: Let's separate fact from the other stuff

          I agree with what you say, all I am saying is that there have been quite a number of occasions where evidence has been provided and it is dismissed or ignored by the authorities of the time and at some later time, their thinking has been completely overturned. This is nothing new and one definitely needs to see the evidence (repeatable).

          Over the years I have seen a number of different ways to look at various aspects of the natural world. One will be ascendant and if you are trying to look at the field from a different perspective, you'll not get support readily. We see this in various fields from subatomic physics to astrophysics. The problem as I see it is that politics gets involved and actual progress seem to halt. At one time, I followed the string theory debate and that was so politicised that to get actual evidence instead of mindless rhetoric meant that I just gave up on following it. There were other areas that were more interesting like the tricorder project.

          There are many strange people out there promulgating all sorts of ideas. Most of them give no evidence, but there are occasional ideas that have enough merit to do further research into them. If they don't pan out, then those ideas can at least then be documented that they fail in providing experimental data.

          That's the other problem. Full description of experiments, with all the associated assumptions and data collected, seems to get locked up in many cases so that individuals can't get access to it for their own review.

          David Oliver Graeme Samuel Offenbach

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 16 Oct 2014 @ 12:13am

      Re: Let's separate fact from the other stuff

      "The DOD has indeed detect neutrons above the background level in their own LENR tests. It's well documented even if not yet explained."

      I'm afraid that's more fanciful than fact as well. It's neither true nor documented.


      Yet I have a physics magazine that cites the DOD paper as well as two Japanese industry papers. I'd dig it out of the box in the garage, but you don't seem open to anything not fitting your view of the world.

      Just because you THINK they can't exist doesn't somehow make it so. You're one of the many just sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling "lalalalalalalala!" Just keep up your wishful thinking.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 16 Oct 2014 @ 12:25am

    Haven’t The Oil Companies Already Bought Up The Patents?

    And faked the Moon landings as well, to cover up the fact that they did have access to a power source that could have taken people to the Moon?

    I’m so confused...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    umarto (profile), 16 Oct 2014 @ 1:54am

    thanks for good advice

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RAWkonPhoto (profile), 16 Oct 2014 @ 2:15am

    Cold Fusion Information Source

    Maybe these guys showed him how to create it... Take a look and it will certainly make you think a little. At the very least watch the first 30 seconds of the 5 minute video. My number is available on there as well. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Also there is an album dedicated to credentials to MEGA to verify original files.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2014 @ 7:22am

    I am more intrigued by the LMC story since I know the company not to be a publicity seeking hound and because it is the Skunk Works where the work is being done. Of course, and consistent with its longstanding practice, the effort is presented as a work in progress that is fairly couched with many "if(s)" and "may(s)", customary in the area of advanced basic and applied research.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 16 Oct 2014 @ 8:31am

    Wow! Amazing news! This is right up there with IBM's amazing atomic-level storage devices which will allow us to store petabytes of data on chips the size of a micro-SD card, and which should be available any day now...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brian, 16 Oct 2014 @ 10:13am

    Fortunately, there are new fusion concepts coming up around the corner. http://youtu.be/u8n7j5k-_G8

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gary Fizer, 16 Oct 2014 @ 10:20am

    Fusion

    I saw the subject mentioned this morning. Lockheads statement had a point that stood out to me. It implied that they are holding back on this till they have their patents straight! While they may have more reasons to delay bringing this forward. It seems like we have to wait on an "innovation" because of patents. So much for the patent system promoting innovation and benifiting the public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2014 @ 1:37am

      Re: Fusion

      Or possibly: they can't get their patent straightened out because ... well... there is no innovation (yet)? Just failed experiments that maybe show a promising possibility?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 16 Oct 2014 @ 11:26am

    LENR is a Fake, But So What?

    My approach to testing LENR is simply to put Rossi's apparatus on a railroad flatcar, hook up an electric locomotive (probably a "slug"(*)), plug it into the LENR apparatus, and send it off on a tour of the more remote and dramatic western railroads. They could go through Donner Pass, where the stranded emigrants turned cannibal, back in 1846-47, and they could go through the fringes of Death Valley, where the Jayhawker Party came to grief in 1849-50 (without turning vampire). The fact of being in motion tends to disrupt concealed wires, etc., and the fact of using the electricity to perform a definite task tends to disrupt trickery with meters. We should of course send Mr. Rossi along with the train. The wild land will strip him down to his essentials, and we shall find out what he is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Party
    http://socialarchive.iath.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=th e-jayhawker-party-cr.xml

    (*) A "slug" is an electric locomotive designed to be coupled together with a diesel locomotive, under conditions when traction is the limiting factor rather than horsepower. The slug gets its electric power via a wire from the diesel locomotive. A slug is usually an obsolete diesel locomotive, whose engine has been removed, and replaced with a concrete block for weight.

    More seriously, I just cannot get very exited about nuclear fusion. At present, the difficult energy problems all have to do with transportation, not with electricity on the grid. The kind of thing I could get excited about would be a means of stringing catenary wire on a railroad for only hundreds of thousands of dollars per mile, rather than millions of dollars per mile, as at present. Possibly, the right kind of robot could do it. That would be cheap enough to make electric trains a "no-brainer," rather than an act of visionary courage.

    A community of nuns recently asked my advice about energy for their new convent (**). Their present location is "coveted" by the community college next door, so they have to move. We established that their architect already knows about geothermal heat pumps, and their new location is sufficiently rural that they can have their own wind generator. I pointed out that photovoltaic cells are still something of an upscale fashion statement, but called their attention to the advantages of solar water heaters, particularly the type in which the collector elements are sealed in thermos bottles. This kind of mundane stuff takes an enormous amount of electric demand off the grid.

    (**) A religious house is one of the few places in the modern world where you can still practice housekeeping in the grand manner, making dinner for ten or twenty people as an ordinary matter of routine. And, in the matter of housing, you deal with an architect instead of a tract-house salesman.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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