Donate Bitcoin

Donate Paypal


PeakOil is You

PeakOil is You

THE Thorium Thread (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby mos6507 » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 19:47:43

Historically, every time we have some energy breakthrough, we squander it by eating it all up. While I'd like to see thorium as a hail-mary pass, I fear we would indeed squander it and pass on through to the next weak link in the chain of limits to growth. The trick is to basically quit while we're ahead.
User avatar
mos6507
permanently banned
 
Posts: 9499
Joined: Fri 03 Aug 2007, 02:00:00
Location: Boston Suburbs

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby Ludi » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 19:51:17

mos6507 wrote: The trick is to basically quit while we're ahead.



But we can't quit because that would be "giving up."

ONWARD AND UPWARD!
User avatar
Ludi
Master
Master
 
Posts: 18585
Joined: Mon 27 Dec 2004, 03:00:00
Location: Darkest Dumfukistan

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby Beery » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 19:56:04

I watched a presentation video on this just yesterday. It all sounded very convincing until the guy admitted that there was still a problem to overcome - something about part of the reactor expanding and contracting or something. He said he had some ideas about how he 'might' be able to fix that... but then went on to talk about other stuff.

He 'might' be able to fix that. Yeah, right! Maybe with Cavorite, Mithril, Kryptonite, or Liftwood. Or maybe Flubber - yeah, that might work.
Beery
 

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby peripato » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 20:00:24

Ludi wrote:NIMBYS are much less of a problem than lack of investors.

But NIMBYS are easier to blame - gotta hate on them greenies! :)

Not forgetting that established nuclear interests, like France and Russia, control the agenda of GEN IV TMSR R&D, sparse as it is and will try to ensure that no disruptive and competing technology makes it over the current crop of uranium water reactors. They have too much to lose.
User avatar
peripato
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 1335
Joined: Tue 03 May 2005, 02:00:00
Location: Reality

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby pup55 » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 20:04:43

With oil at $100, it sure as hell is.


I would like to see the calculation on this part of the statement.
User avatar
pup55
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 5249
Joined: Wed 26 May 2004, 02:00:00

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby DoomersUnite » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 20:06:45

AirlinePilot wrote:Debunk this...Im discussing this with some other pilots....

"The other ugly little fact is that for every unit of energy you get out of coal there's 13 more in the form of thorium in the fuel. Assuming you burn one or two of those equivalents getting the thorium out of the ash (nothing is free in the real world) that still means for every 1000MWe coal plant we can build 10 more fueled by the waste it ejects, or we can burn none of the coal for power at all and use it to produce synfuel instead off the process heat (in part, at least.) This is a nearly-ideal cycle as the optimum temperature for the Fischer-Tropsch reaction tops around 300C - and LTSRs have operating temperatures around 650C.

They therefore can provide direct process heat to drive this reaction and then turn a turbine for electrical power on top of it. Oh yeah, and the high temperature operation means air-based heat exchangers are practical for the power-generating side too (they're not for a PWR due to the significantly lower process temperature.) That means you can put them anywhere, not just where there are massive fresh water sources.

Mine the coal, extract the thorium, burn it, convert the coal to diesel and gasoline while generating electricity with the rest of the process heat. There's your energy solution - we have over 1,000 years of coal supply when used in this fashion in America.

We can be entirely energy-independent within 20 years.



Go forth and sin no more, grasshopper.
User avatar
DoomersUnite
Tar Sands
Tar Sands
 
Posts: 121
Joined: Sun 18 Jun 2006, 02:00:00

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby careinke » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 20:18:44

Beery wrote:He 'might' be able to fix that. Yeah, right! Maybe with Cavorite, Mithril, Kryptonite, or Liftwood. Or maybe Flubber - yeah, that might work.


I prefer Unobtainium.
Cliff (Start a rEVOLution, grow a garden)
User avatar
careinke
Fission
Fission
 
Posts: 3461
Joined: Mon 01 Jan 2007, 03:00:00
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 21:52:36

Newfie wrote:Then the issue becomes the political will of the masses to spend large sums on R&D to create a new industry to solve a problem which the public does not perceive.

There are advocates for solar, biomass, etc., also needing large sums on R&D to create a new industry.

Do you think the gubmint should select the miracle technology and pour your money on it?
"I could go on, but let’s veer off in another direction instead."

– The Archdruid
User avatar
Keith_McClary
Fusion
Fusion
 
Posts: 7280
Joined: Wed 21 Jul 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Suburban tar sands

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 21:54:40

Ludi wrote:But NIMBYS are easier to blame - gotta hate on them greenies! :)
Especially rich, politically connected ones who live in scenic, unpolluted places.
"I could go on, but let’s veer off in another direction instead."

– The Archdruid
User avatar
Keith_McClary
Fusion
Fusion
 
Posts: 7280
Joined: Wed 21 Jul 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Suburban tar sands

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby AirlinePilot » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 22:23:48

Ok lets distill this a bit. How about we discuss the feasibility of the LSR using Thorium as a fuel source. I'm interested specifically why we dont use them right now besides the NIMBY problem.

Beery,

I'm interested in your reply, this is what I have heard/read about the difficulties with LSR's the temperatures are much higher than traditional PWR and result in some as yet to be solved materials issues surrounding fuel parts and the reactor vessel etc due to temp.
User avatar
AirlinePilot
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 4361
Joined: Tue 05 Apr 2005, 02:00:00
Location: South of Atlanta

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby copious.abundance » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 22:29:31

There was a long and detailed discussion on thorium in TOD a couple years ago:

>>> LINK <<<
Stuff for doomers to contemplate:
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1190117.html#p1190117
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1193930.html#p1193930
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1206767.html#p1206767
User avatar
copious.abundance
Anti-Matter
Anti-Matter
 
Posts: 9526
Joined: Wed 26 Mar 2008, 02:00:00
Location: Cornucopia

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 22:54:13

Keith_McClary wrote:
Newfie wrote:Then the issue becomes the political will of the masses to spend large sums on R&D to create a new industry to solve a problem which the public does not perceive.

There are advocates for solar, biomass, etc., also needing large sums on R&D to create a new industry.

Do you think the gubmint should select the miracle technology and pour your money on it?


Isn't the Gubmint there to protect our mutual interests from foreigners? If our dependence upon oil does not qualify then what does? Carter Doctrine?
When going through hell, keep going! Churchill
Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much. E Wiman
I know there’s no solution, so I just enjoy what’s here and I enjoy the journey G Carlin
User avatar
Newfie
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 9757
Joined: Thu 15 Nov 2007, 03:00:00
Location: US East Coast

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby rangerone314 » Wed 02 Mar 2011, 23:06:23

I propose we sprinkle cars and trucks with fairy dust, so they can fly like Tinkerbell. Then we won't need petroleum.
An ideology is by definition not a search for TRUTH-but a search for PROOF that its point of view is right

Equals barter and negotiate-people with power just take

You cant defend freedom by eliminating it-unknown

Our elected reps should wear sponsor patches on their suits so we know who they represent-like Nascar-Roy
User avatar
rangerone314
Fusion
Fusion
 
Posts: 4065
Joined: Wed 03 Dec 2008, 03:00:00
Location: Maryland

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Thu 03 Mar 2011, 01:18:44

rangerone314 wrote:I propose we sprinkle cars and trucks with fairy dust, so they can fly like Tinkerbell. Then we won't need petroleum.
You gubmint is working on it:
Image
"I could go on, but let’s veer off in another direction instead."

– The Archdruid
User avatar
Keith_McClary
Fusion
Fusion
 
Posts: 7280
Joined: Wed 21 Jul 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Suburban tar sands

Re: Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors

Unread postby rickmaltese » Thu 03 Mar 2011, 14:53:37

http://energyfromthorium.com
also has an excellent forum
http://energyfromthorium.com

also http://thoriummsr.com is a good source for related subjects

LFTR's are also known as TMSR's and more recently TFMSR's because that is what China calls them now that they have started building their own
that's Thorium Molten Salt Reactor TMSR and Thorium Fueled Molten Salt Reactor
and you'll find a variant of this from France because they have also experimented with this.
Main points
1. Proliferation safe - no plutonium byproducts - reason the original project was abandoned
2. No water needed - therefore smaller and cheaper to build
3. Many useful spinoff heat applications such as desalianization, hydrogen creation
4. Can run for years without human interaction (like a battery)
5. 200 times more efficient at producing energy compared to solid fueled reactors
6. They have been built before. (1958-1974) see ORNL (Alvin Weinberg) MSRE
7. Very small amount of waste remains 2% compared to 95% in traditional reactors
8. the main reason the NRC needs to be revamped, replaced, reformed whatever
rickmaltese
Coal
Coal
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu 03 Mar 2011, 14:36:25

Re: Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors

Unread postby Dezakin » Thu 03 Mar 2011, 17:19:10

kildred590 wrote:As I understand it, Thorium does not change into Plutonium.
So its not economically viable, there's no "nuclear cycle", you can only use the rods once.

You don't understand it. Th232 is fertile in the same way U238 is fertile in the thermal spectrum. U238 absorbs a neutron and beta decays to Pu239 which is fissile, but isn't exactly a great fuel in the thermal spectrum. Th232 absorbs a neutron and becomes U233 (through beta decay again Pa233 then U233) and is different in that U233 is an excellent fuel in the thermal spectrum.

Further there aren't any rods in a fluid fuel reactor.
User avatar
Dezakin
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 1569
Joined: Wed 09 Feb 2005, 03:00:00

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby Dezakin » Thu 03 Mar 2011, 17:33:30

AirlinePilot wrote:What Im talking about is the Thorium reactor..LSR uses coal ash as a source and we use the heat to generate CTL. We did do it long ago at oak Ridge and Im wondering why it isnt being done now. Im pretty sure I know, but Im very interested in others take on this and if others think it possible to replace a significant portion of our fuel usage with CTL all at the same time continuing to generate Electric with the Nukes and continuing coal fired plants.

I think its purely amatter of NIMBY's and the cost of infrastructure to enbale it. Its the old scope and scale issue too big and not enough to matter until oil is pirced in the HUNDREDS of dollars..but Im still interested in the actual viability of Liquid Sodium reactors presently.

I'm pretty sure you mean liquid fluoride reactors. Liquid Sodium cooled reactors are great at solving a problem we'll never have: A shortage of plutonium. They're not so great at competing against light water reactors in civilian power production.

What you seem to be asking has been answered allready in France several decades ago. We can make a public commitment to replace coal power production with nuclear without even developing LFTR technologies, but LFTR would be even more efficient. We can produce liquid fuel from coal just as easily as Sasol has demonstrated.

The problem is that these technologies have years to decades of infrastructure development time, and people are unwilling to commit capital to large CTL projects when the next recession can (in their minds) sink the price of oil below profitability. Its only recently that its become apparent that even in the midst of a large deep recession that oil prices will hold high enough to justify the investment.
User avatar
Dezakin
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 1569
Joined: Wed 09 Feb 2005, 03:00:00

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby Dezakin » Thu 03 Mar 2011, 18:57:13

TheDude wrote:
Two economists spot a $10 bill on the ground. One stoops to pick it up, and the other advises, “Don’t. If it were really $10, it wouldn’t be there anymore.”


Thorium reactors — The new free lunch | Energy Bulletin

The fast breeder reactor is only the second stage of a long-term project. “There are no defined time lines as lot of technology development, research and demonstration activities need to be completed before commercial deployment of thorium reactors for power,” Thakur told me in an email. “I think it is decades away.” First, he explains, “we need to have a significant capacity of the fast breeder reactors where thorium could be used as a blanket.” (For a good overview on what this means, read this article on thorium reactor physics at the World Nuclear Association.)


I'm unimpressed with that article. When you get to multibillion dollar investments that have years to decades of buildout time and information isn't perfectly transparent, market efficiency isn't always what its cracked up to be. That $10 bill is still on the ground because most people don't know its money, and it requires the cooperation of most people to pick it up.

Further, most thorium breeder reactors are usually thermal in design, not fast. That and the Indian's are going about their nuclear power policy in the most boneheaded way I can imagine. Not subsidizing domestic uranium mines as a nonmember of the NPT for a start, and investing in solid fuel fast reactors with their proven track record of uneconomic capability of plutonium production doesn't exactly inspire me to take the advice from India as a guide to reactor development.
User avatar
Dezakin
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 1569
Joined: Wed 09 Feb 2005, 03:00:00

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby Beery » Thu 03 Mar 2011, 19:04:29

AirlinePilot wrote:Ok lets distill this a bit. How about we discuss the feasibility of the LSR using Thorium as a fuel source. I'm interested specifically why we dont use them right now besides the NIMBY problem.

Beery,

I'm interested in your reply, this is what I have heard/read about the difficulties with LSR's the temperatures are much higher than traditional PWR and result in some as yet to be solved materials issues surrounding fuel parts and the reactor vessel etc due to temp.


Yeah, I mist admit, I know next to nothing about the issue. I was just looking to see if there was anything to the thorium thing - casting a critical eye over the whole thing, and the materials expanding and contracting problem just really struck me as the potential 'achilles heel' - especially since they seemed kinda cagey and dismissive about the solutions.
Beery
 

Re: Miracle Energy source? Or Pie In the Sky?

Unread postby TheDude » Thu 03 Mar 2011, 19:23:07

Dezakin wrote:I'm unimpressed with that article.


It just showed up in the first handful of hits searching for 'thorium reactor.' Mostly I was driving home the point that this has been hashed out in the past, believe it or not. The article in the OP was another one of those fervent op eds that failed to impress me in any way as well; like you say, why not just build out pitface CTL if we want gobs more liquid fuel? Perhaps this will be the form of Obama's "Cardigan Sweater Moment," where he cements his impression in the American peoples' mind as a POTUS void of direction, feebly attempting to bring in a cheap fuel utopia with some colossally expensive boondoggle.

Not that Sasol and the Nazis haven't demonstrated that CTL works, but at what cost? The Chinese seem to have shot their wad attempting to liquify coal, too. My money's on solutions that work at the consumer level - eBikes, mass transit, carpooling. Boring stuff like that, with some mileage improvements by the by. The US meeting China in the middle, as our needs contract and theirs expand.
Cogito, ergo non satis bibivi
And let me tell you something: I dig your work.
User avatar
TheDude
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 4896
Joined: Thu 06 Apr 2006, 02:00:00
Location: 3 miles NW of Champoeg, Republic of Cascadia

PreviousNext

Return to Energy Technology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ralfy and 9 guests