Miscellaneous/Alternate Energy Source 060710
The quest for power generation from fusion processes is an ultimate goal because sources are almost limitless and pollutants nonexistent. Of the two seriously pursued methods of production, inertial confinement fusion and magnetic confinement fusion, immense power sources are required to get things started, and the actual confinement is unproven since the reactions cannot be sustained.
A third method, sonofusion (technically known as acoustic inertial confinement fusion), employs relatively simple hardware to create high positive and negative pressure bubbles filled with deuterium vapor with a resultant fusion reaction.
After initial publication in 2002, skepticism prevailed, much of which has since been disproved with continued experimentation . Now, unlike cold fusion, sonofusion is reasonably accepted. Its problem is that the observed reactions produce minuscule amounts of energy and are not self sustaining. There is enough interest however, to cause corporations and universities to continue investigation.
IEEE Spectrum, May 2005, pp. 38-43
Today, the global market for new solar installations is over $7 billion and is expanding at a rate of more than 30% each year. Wind is also increasing at a rate of 37% in 2005. Much of the reason is that installed costs are dramatically dropping. Sharp Corp. has reduced system costs by 5% each year for the past 10 years. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, this results in PV generated electricity dropping from 43 cents in 1990 to 19 cents/kWh in 2005 and wind dropping from 9 cents in 1990 to less than 3 cents/kWh in 2005. (Ed. note: the continual increase in fossil fuel costs seen in 2005 helps the “cleantech’ sources by increasing the competitive price of electricity.)
Business Week, July 4, 2005
The U. S. Department of Energy researchers at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory have developed a way to make hydrogen almost twice as efficiently as with conventional electrolysis. The method employs running a fuel cell in reverse with an 8500 C temperature. Making hydrogen from natural gas costs $4-$5 kg and releases great quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. Present electrolysis costs $7-$9/kg. The developers envision using a special nuclear reactor to supply both the electricity and heat to bring production costs down to $1.50/kg.
IEEE Spectrum, March 2005, p. 16
Benson gets OK for turkey-manure power plant.
Aside from being the most colorful title this staff has read this year, the story highlights the diverse sources of fuel possible. This plant is being planned because Xcel Energy, the operator, is required by Minnesota to produce 125 MW of electricity from biomass energy. The turkey powered plant will produce 50 MW. To date, there is no indication of what the next fowl source would be.(12-01 BD69-13)
Minneapolis Star Tribune
October 19, 2001, p. B3