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View Diary: The Race for Fusion (75 comments)

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  •  The real problem is not that we don't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan

    have enough energy. It's that we are extremely inefficient in distributing and using energy. My preference would be to initiate an international project to encircle the globe with a super-conducting electrical transmission system that all countries could sell into and draw from. The super-conducting transmission lines and cables would enable close to 100% efficiency. With that, you would find that there would be more than enough energy to go around and the most efficient sources of energy would be fed into the global electricity network. It's long-term projects like this that could really change the trajectory of climate change, not to mention alleviating global poverty. Asking countries to cut back on fossil fuels is failing because no replacement is being offered. Something like this could make the difference.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:10:49 PM PST

    •  ??? (0+ / 0-)

      The transmission system we have is pretty efficient (> 90%). Why/how would this help, particularly?

      •  The difference between 95% and 99% (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PrahaPartizan

        Is a heck of a lot of energy and the loss is per unit distance. If you wanted to build a global grid, you would have to have super conductivity.

        Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

        by Anne Elk on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 09:09:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ??? (0+ / 0-)

          I don't see how you get to the conclusion.

          If you want to ship large amounts of power long distances, you probably want either superconductivity or HVDC. The latter is now reasonably practicable, and at several million volts, transmission losses vanishingly small at V^2/R (insulation costs, but the conductors are reasonable). With the latter, the losses come in conversion (likewise with superconductivity), so you still probably won't get much past 95%.

    •  Start With a National Power Interconnection (0+ / 0-)

      To promote competition, we should probably build a national electric interconnection system funded by the Federal government like we built the interstate highway system.  That way, any local utility or power provider could plug into pump electrons into the grid, with the cheapest provider earning the biggest profits.  Of course, that tends to break the monopoly pricing power some generators now hold, so I'd expect to see it fought bitterly.  Without some way of facilitiating the movement of electrons from one region to another, we'll always be stuck with an anachronistic and inefficient system, the very antithesis of the bold, competitive free market capitalism the conservatives chatter about.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 10:08:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fusion kills fossil fuels (0+ / 0-)

      Society needs energy on demand from all sources. Fusion reactors can run on demand, even at night or without wind.  It's cheaper in the long run compared to any energy storage.  

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