Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Jun 03, 2015 8:38 pm 
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Interesting discussion on alcohol and those poor lysol drinkers. You know there is more than one way to skin a cat. If there is a valid concern about losing revenue when alcohol is mass produced as a fuel. (like Brazil?) Maybe, it's time to make cannabis legal with a high tax. The revenue stream from this product may displace those of the "sin tax" of alcohol and perhaps have some side benefits in the process such as lessening drunk driving and wife beating.


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PostPosted: Jun 03, 2015 9:45 pm 
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Drinking Lysol? Lye-Solvent? No thank you. 30+ years ago, I got a DWI.
I went to court, Saw a Alcohol councilor about 5 minutes before I stood before the Judge.
She asked me 4 questions. The first was "Have you ever Tried Marijuana? I thought to myself, Who my age hasn't tried it? If I answer yes, I'm admitting to another crime, If I answer no, who my age hasn't tried it? With this in mind I Answered and looked her in the eye and said "I went to College".
Which brings me to the answer for Legalizing and taxing pot. I don't want to be part of more
government Intrusion into my life. If I can be stoned, can I still drive a car? So I'm weaving down the
road, crossing the center line, and no Alcohol on my Breath. Am I impaired to drive? (Yes), now how are they going to test me? Blood test? Hair test? Pee test? As I understand Colorado is working on a Breathalyzer for THC. I've worked on a machine which made a 32 test strip test for drugs. Pee into a cup,
(lined with a plastic strip) and in a minute they have tested you for 32 different drugs. Just how many
rights are we going to give away? I'm in Minneapolis and we have an FBI surveillance plane circling here also. We as Americans have limited privacy already!
I still have a beer or a Brandy, I haven't achieved .15 BAC for years. I drink, and I Drive, but I don't Drink and Drive. Remove taxes? That will never happen. Those in power are Addicted to the revenue stream. Any solution will cost us more. Ethanol is only worth buying if the Spread on price is over 20%, but the wear and tear on the vehicle is not worth it. Ford says if you use E-85 you have to double
your oil changes. You get 20% less power and less mileage.
Rant over.


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PostPosted: Jun 04, 2015 6:22 am 
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In sweden they use ethanol in diesel engines.

Going to try and find out some more info about that.


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PostPosted: Jun 04, 2015 2:05 pm 
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The discussion on how alcohol prohibition killed bio-fuel research was nice, and perhaps necessary, but the bottom line is important.

E Ireland wrote:
Investing in green technologies would drive up the price of electricity.


President Obama has said that investment in alternative energy would make energy prices "skyrocket". What would that do to our standard of living? How many people would die having to choose between buying food or heating fuel? Choosing to die from starvation or freezing does not sound pleasant either way.

When looking to buy a new vehicle I did the math on how fuel prices would affect my costs given the choices of various vehicles that ran on various fuels. Given that used electric and natural gas vehicles are rare I assumed they were effectively unavailable. I then added to my list gasoline and diesel vehicles, new and used. I also added in tax incentives for buying a new alternative fuel vehicle. In the case of the natural gas vehicle it was a $3000 tax deduction, but the natural gas pump I'd have to get installed in my house would cost that same $3000. No effective gain or loss there.

I found out that gasoline prices would have to be ten times what they are now before it made economic sense for me to buy an electric or natural gas car. Used gasoline vehicles are just too cheap. I don't recall how that added up for a new gasoline vehicle compared to a new electric or natural gas vehicle, it also seems pretty much irrelevant as the probability of energy costs getting that high is quite low.

I'm someone that makes enough money that if I felt so inclined I could have gone out to buy an electric vehicle. Other than the cost I had other things to consider, such as convenience. Others are perhaps not so fortunate. If we drive up the cost of energy then there will be a portion of the population that simply cannot afford the convenience of an automobile.

I can hear it already, "People don't need cars! Let them ride the bus." It's the automobile that gives us the freedom to move, trade, communicate, and propel our economy.

E Ireland gave electricity as the example and I discussed primarily automotive fuel prices, but they are both connected. Energy is energy. If oil prices rise then so does electricity. Also, a rise in prices of fuel or electricity has the same effect on the poor, either way we are reducing their effective income and reducing their ability to purchase things like good food, warm clothing, medical care, and so forth.

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PostPosted: Jun 04, 2015 2:19 pm 
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E Ireland wrote:
In sweden they use ethanol in diesel engines.

Going to try and find out some more info about that.

While it's possible I doubt it. More likely its a kind of vegetable oil. In the Army I noticed all the trucks on base were fueled with "B-80", a blend of fuel that consisted of 80% corn or soybean oil, the balance a petroleum fuel.

The way a diesel engine works they are inherently tolerant of varied fuel quality. Problem is that most diesel engines rely on the fuel to lubricate some parts, a fuel that is too thin can cause excessive wear. A fuel that ignites too easily, compared to standard diesel fuels, can cause the engine to produce more power than it can withstand. I believe ethanol fails on both.

I've met people that have converted diesel vehicles to run on corn oil, it's a fairly trivial process. Running a diesel on ethanol sounds unlikely to me.

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PostPosted: Jun 04, 2015 8:35 pm 
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Modern diesels may have some trouble with synthetic diesels. I've heard the fuel pumps and injectors don't do well.

The government says they don't run well on some alternate fuels as well.

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/uploads/publication/54762.pdf

I've been told by people who have converted their vehicles to Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO), that the older vehicles do much better.

The Germans recently made diesel from air.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3059025/Audi-creates-DIESEL-air-water-fuel-future-powering-car-driven-German-minister.html

Cheap electricity using Thorium as a base fuel could be used to make diesel fuels from air.


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PostPosted: Jun 04, 2015 11:05 pm 
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Eino wrote:
The Germans recently made diesel from air.

From the description made they simply rediscovered the Fischer-Tropsch process. This is a process developed by Germans 90 years ago. This is a process that is somewhat famously (or infamously) used by embargoed nations over the decades to produce liquid fuels from coal, including Nazi Germany. This is not news, it should especially not be news to the Germans.

The US Navy has developed a similar process that gets the CO2 from seawater, as the CO2 dissolved in seawater can be obtained more efficiently than drawing it from the air.

We can do this to keep our hydrocarbon burning vehicles running without modification but we need to do so in a way that does not raise the price of the fuel. Unless we can produce liquid fuels by this process cheaper than pumping it out of the ground then no one is going to use it. Until this process gets cheap and plentiful enough to replace petroleum it is to everyone's benefit to continue pumping crude out of the ground.

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PostPosted: Jun 05, 2015 6:45 am 
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We can use electricity to obtain pure carbon dioxide from cement kilns (electric arc/high temperature heating instead of coal) cheaper than air capture I think.
The cost is largely offset by the production of the cement which will slowly carbonate in the environment over a couple of decades so its capture and not extra material release.


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PostPosted: Jun 05, 2015 4:56 pm 
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Well, for the next couple of centuries there will be plenty of oil, unconventional oil, natural gas, methane hydrade, coal, lignite available to fuel our life and that of our Kids and their kids. Economics are actually very much in favor using it..

My personal dream what might happen several centuries ahead is...

They will use a battery of MCFR nuclear reactors with > 10.000 MWth each in a large cave blown by nuclear in a Norwegian fyord to provide heat and electricity. Water from the fyord and CO2 from the air will become the base... CO2 + H2O -> CO + H2 + O2 or CO2 + H2 -> CO +H2O. Based on CO and H2 you can compose the whole range of hydrocarbons, diesel, plastics....

You will Need very large Units, high reliable equipment, production steadiness, a friendly regulation environment and a reliable political environment to minimize the costs.


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PostPosted: Jun 05, 2015 5:35 pm 
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If you are willing to use nuclear explosives to dig huge underground caverns then we won't be using pure fission reactors any more.

We will be using some derivative of PACER.

A megatonne range nuclear device could be built at a very low cost if you only cared about the cheapest possible device. (Later ICBM warheads optimise weight at all costs because reducing the weight of the warhead saves more money than a cheaper warhead as 90%+ of the cost is the delivery system).
One megatonne of TNT is roughly 400GWh of electricity at 35% efficiency.

90% enriched uranium only costs ~$35,000/kg at current uranium and enrichment prices.
Deuterium costs $1500/kg. Lithium costs $5/kg.
Which means lithium deuteride fusion fuel costs ~$340/kg and yields 46,500MWh(t). Even with lousy efficiencies you could easily make ~5,000MWh(e)/kg. Which is a fuel cost of roughly 7 cents per megawatt hour.
Depleted uranium is even cheaper and is available in titanic quantities.

Even if building dry thermonuclear devices is considered an unacceptable safety risk - even an Ivy Mike style device would be very cheap. $1500/kg and ~100GWh(t)/kg. Which (at the same efficiencies as above) would lead to 14 cents per MWh.
Which is essentially negligible. A steady output reactor of ten gigawatts would have a deuterium cost of $12.3 million dollars per year. Even if none of that yield was produced by fissioning in the DU tamper you would make from the trigger uranium enrichment.


Last edited by E Ireland on Jun 06, 2015 3:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Jun 05, 2015 7:06 pm 
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Experience tells me that suggesting detonating nuclear bombs is a good thing is a good way to get a thread locked, even if it is for producing power. I suggest we drop that train of thought and move on.

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PostPosted: Jun 06, 2015 12:21 am 
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Dear E. Ireland, I did not think about reviving PACER. I don`t think that PACER would work smoothly. There are a lot of challenges in using the caverns for years and decades.

Nuclear explosions could help to make the site clearance.

The MCFR means Molten Chloride Fuel Reactor


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PostPosted: Jun 07, 2015 5:38 am 
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Kurt Sellner wrote:
Experience tells me that suggesting detonating nuclear bombs is a good thing is a good way to get a thread locked, even if it is for producing power. I suggest we drop that train of thought and move on.


It may belong at NASASpaceflight.com, Advanced Topics, technologies based on Project Daedelus and Orion.

There is also Helion Energy which is trying to make nuclear fusion on a pulse basis. They're effectively trying to make a fusion bomb with a "kg-yield" and no fission trigger.


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PostPosted: Jun 10, 2015 2:35 am 
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HolgerNarrog wrote:
Well, for the next couple of centuries there will be plenty of oil, unconventional oil, natural gas, methane hydrade, coal, lignite available to fuel our life and that of our Kids and their kids. Economics are actually very much in favor using it..

My personal dream what might happen several centuries ahead is...

They will use a battery of MCFR nuclear reactors with > 10.000 MWth each in a large cave blown by nuclear in a Norwegian fyord to provide heat and electricity. Water from the fyord and CO2 from the air will become the base... CO2 + H2O -> CO + H2 + O2 or CO2 + H2 -> CO +H2O. Based on CO and H2 you can compose the whole range of hydrocarbons, diesel, plastics....

You will Need very large Units, high reliable equipment, production steadiness, a friendly regulation environment and a reliable political environment to minimize the costs.

Liquid fuels are useful for transportation and perhaps essential for air transport. We could use fossils till they last. The carbon for liquid fuel is best obtained from various types of biomass, which uses solar energy. With warming world, we should harvest more of it for fuel. We could modify our farming to greenhouse conditions.
We should adjust to carbon dioxide variations but keep a tight control on Sulfur and particle matter.


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PostPosted: Jun 26, 2015 12:16 pm 
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If our civilisation will not develop back to the middle age there will be about 20 - 30 bn poeple living on earth in 1 - 2 centuries. They will live on a standard above todays standards in the US or Europe. They will need food, transportation and lots more. They will need about 5 bn tons of plastics and chemicals. If they will use chemical fuel driven cars it will require at least 10 bn tons of diesel equivalents.

How do you think to harvest a sufficient quantity of bio mass from our planet?


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