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Scientists just got closer to making nuclear fusion work

Scientists just got closer to making nuclear fusion work thumbnail
nuclear plant

(Nuclear powerplant in Belgium, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Rosamond Hutt, Senior Writer, Formative Content & Keith Breene, Formative Content


Proponents of nuclear fusion see it is as a clean and virtually limitless energy source that could power the future. But while researchers are confident they can make it work, realizing the long-held dream of fusion power is proving far from easy.

Potentially offering an inexhaustible supply of zero-carbon energy, nuclear fusion has shown great promise for decades but is yet to be viable at scale because maintaining a fusion reaction requires more power than it generates.

However, recent advances in the quest for fusion power have reignited hopes that it can be made feasible.

Scientists in China have built a fusion reactor that in November became the first in the world to reach 100 million degrees Celsius. That’s nearly seven times hotter than the sun’s core and the temperature at which hydrogen atoms can begin to fuse into helium.

The achievement by China’s Institute of Plasma Physics at its Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) is a milestone on the fusion journey, and will provide valuable insights for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, a collaboration between the European Union, India, Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

 

At an estimated cost of $25 billion, the consortium is building a prototype fusion reactor, called a tokamak, in southern France. It aims to conduct a first test of super-heated plasma by 2025 and generate first full-power fusion by 2035.

Although the ITER is the biggest and most expensive project, there are more than a dozen other fusion research initiatives under way.

Last year a privately funded UK venture called Tokamak Energy announced its plasma had hit 15 million degrees Celsius for the first time.

A collaboration between MIT and the start-up Commonwealth Fusion Systems is designing a fusion reactor capable of producing more power than it consumes. Their research will complement the work done by ITER.

And the Canadian government announced last year it is investing US$37.5 million in General Fusion, a company founded in 2002 that focuses on an approach known as magnetized target fusion.

The tokamak is an experimental machine designed to harness the energy of fusion.
Image: ITER.org

What is ‘fusion’ exactly?

Fusion is the reaction that powers the Sun. It’s produced when two light atoms fuse into one under extreme pressure and temperature. The total mass of the new atom is less than that of the two that formed it; the “missing” mass is given off as energy, as described by Albert Einstein’s equation E=mc2.

Fission, which is the energy source in current nuclear power stations, involves splitting an atom’s nucleus.

Fusion has the potential to deliver much more power than fission, but without the long-lasting radioactive waste.

There are several “recipes” for cooking up fusion, which rely on different atomic combinations.

The most promising combination for power on Earth today is the fusion of a deuterium atom with a tritium one. The process, which requires temperatures of approximately 39 million degrees Celsius, produces 17.6 million electron volts of energy.

Deuterium is a promising ingredient because it is an isotope of hydrogen. In turn, hydrogen is a key part of water. A gallon of seawater (3.8 litres) could produce as much energy as 300 gallons (1,136 litres) of petrol.

Fusion occurs when atoms are heated to very high temperatures, causing them to collide at high velocity and fuse together. When two light nuclei collide to form a heavier nucleus the process releases a large amount of energy.
Image: General Fusion

Putting theory into practice

While fusion power offers the prospect of a clean source of energy, it has also presented many so-far-insurmountable scientific and engineering challenges.

In the sun, massive gravitational forces create the right conditions for fusion in its core, but on Earth they are much harder to achieve.

Fusion fuel – different isotopes of hydrogen – must be heated to extreme temperatures, and must be kept stable under intense pressure, and dense enough and confined for long enough to allow the nuclei to fuse.

And this is where progress has been made. Advances in magnet technology have enabled researchers at MIT to propose a new design for a practical compact fusion reactor that might deliver a net power output perhaps within the next decade or so.

New superconducting magnets would enable the reactor to operate in a sustained way, producing a steady power output, unlike today’s experimental reactors that can only operate for a few seconds at a time without overheating.

The era of practical fusion power may finally be coming nearer.

europeansting.com



29 Comments on "Scientists just got closer to making nuclear fusion work"

  1. al-wara-wal-bara-is-muzzie-cr4p-AKA-fmr-paultard on Tue, 14th May 2019 5:30 pm 

    thank you all imams for working on this intractable issue in order to save humanity but not for muzzies.

  2. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 14th May 2019 6:38 pm 

    Fusion is a constant, like the speed of light.
    Always 20years away, 1950 or 2019.
    I’m glad they are “closer”.
    We have good fusion happening with the Sun—

  3. onlooker on Tue, 14th May 2019 6:52 pm 

    Call me in 10,000 years or so, when they finally do make it work

  4. Anonymouse on Tue, 14th May 2019 7:36 pm 

    “The era of practical fusion power may finally be coming nearer.”

    ROFL, sure it is. ITER isnt even close to complete yet. I believe they are projecting its first actual test, for 2035 And that is if, funding, technical or 1000 other reasons delay that further. And even if theym do make that 2035 test date, so what? A test is just that, a test. Nothing to say it will be successful, or if it will lead to anything other than more tests.

    One has to wonder, if the partners will keep throwing money at the project as I am certain there will be new cost overruns and delays to add to the list of all the past overruns and cost delays.

  5. makati1 on Tue, 14th May 2019 9:49 pm 

    Anon, when the SHTF and economies collapse, that will end the “fusion” dream. All those ‘brains’ will be selling apples on the street.

  6. Sys1 on Wed, 15th May 2019 2:15 am 

    I think the best way to achieve nuclear fusion is to invest in artificial intelligence, hoping that computers will one day find an efficient way to achieve it.
    Those huge projects man made are basically just ruining our future, we have not one chance in a billion to success this way. With billions of money and decades of time, we just do a simple test with which we need to do another one, bigger in every way : money and time.
    OTOH, computers and AI could be able to think out of the box in a way that could dwarf the best scientists who lived on Earth since the begining.

  7. Anonymouse on Wed, 15th May 2019 4:08 am 

    Sound like you’ve really thought this whole fusion & AI business through. All ‘we’ need do, is wait for an equally speculative, and no-closer-to-reality tech, than fusion, to help solve our fusion problems for us. If there is any flaw in your reasoning, that super-creative and out-of-the-box thinking machines(WIP), will crack this whole fusion thing( also a WIP) for us, Im not seeing it.

    Maybe all the guys at ITER could get a gov’t grant to retrain them all as AI researchers instead of plasma physics specialists. Just put the fusion thing on hold while all the newly-minted Mac geniuses invent the HAL 9000. Once HAL is on-line, next stop, unlimited clean, and safe fusion power. Plan is simple AND elegant, with no real downside(s).

    None worth mentioning anyhow.

  8. Cloggie on Wed, 15th May 2019 5:09 am 

    How a single ship can carry out the 100% renewable energy transition of a country like the Netherlands before 2030 and not 2050, as the EU demands:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/developments-in-offshore-wind-jack-up-market/

    Note, the Netherlands is the #17 in the global GDP pecking order and largest per capita energy consumer in the EU.

    Renewable energy generation is not a problem and can already be done without a single dime of subsidy.

    The real bottleneck is storage.

    Will be solved.

  9. Davy on Wed, 15th May 2019 5:17 am 

    “How a single ship can carry out the 100% renewable energy transition of a country like the Netherlands before 2030 and not 2050, as the EU demands:”
    Cloggo, quit being redundant and stuck on yourself. You constantly are bragging about yourself and your postage stamp country. What is wrong with you? I can’t count the number of times you boast about your jack-up boats. It is not as bad as your Brexit spam though.

    “Note, the Netherlands is the #17 in the global GDP pecking order and largest per capita energy consumer in the EU.”
    Netherlands isn’t shit without its neighbors. You are just more or less a small city state benefiting hugely of the backs of others especially the south

    “Renewable energy generation is not a problem and can already be done without a single dime of subsidy.”
    Renewables are stalling cloggo, look at the numbers and quit being so self-absorbed.

    “The real bottleneck is storage.”
    No shit and that is why they call it a bottleneck. The cost are going to stop full transition and you know it.

    “Will be solved.”
    Won’t be solved but might be mitigated

  10. Davy on Wed, 15th May 2019 5:39 am 

    “German wind industry and grid agency sound alarm after substantial drop in auction turnout”
    https://tinyurl.com/yy7gvtto clean energy wire

    “The German Wind Power Association (BWE) has called for “joint efforts” to secure a steady expansion of the country’s wind power capacity after the volume auctioned in Germany’s second onshore wind tender in 2019 again has not been fully exploited.”

    “Agency (BNetzA) on Monday announced that 55 percent of the second tender with a total volume of 650 megawatts (MW) had not been used, saying the lack of interest had reached “alarming proportions.” According to the BNetzA, difficulties in obtaining construction licenses at the regional level played an important role in the low interest in onshore wind power auctions. Support levels in the auction ranged between 5.4 and 6.2 eurocents per kilowatt hour. Onshore wind power is a cornerstone of Germany’s energy transition, the Energiewende, and is set to become the country’s most important power source of the future. Wind power is already the country’s most important renewable power source, at times providing almost 50 percent of its electricity mix. Wind power lobby groups have warned that the switch from fixed support levels to auctions in 2017 would dent the expansion trajectory as licensing procedures would thereby become less predictable. The industry also grapples with heavy resistance from local residents, who object to the construction of increasingly larger turbines near their homes.”

  11. Antius on Wed, 15th May 2019 6:46 am 

    ““How a single ship can carry out the 100% renewable energy transition of a country like the Netherlands before 2030 and not 2050, as the EU demands:”

    Cloggo, quit being redundant and stuck on yourself. You constantly are bragging about yourself and your postage stamp country. What is wrong with you? I can’t count the number of times you boast about your jack-up boats. It is not as bad as your Brexit spam though.”

    I think Davy has this one about right. Cloggie is like a broken record, always playing the same tune and never really learning from what other contributors have to say. It means that he largely wasting his precious time here, though it is his to waste.

    Here is a link to gridwatch, which maps the contribution from various different energy sources to the UK electricity supply. Take a look at the renewable energy contribution.

    http://gridwatch.co.uk/

    Look at the graphs for last year and last month. Notice the huge variations in output and the lull times lasting from several days to weeks. The graphs do not cover hourly fluctuations – what you see here is daily averages; but still the variability is significant. There are also significant seasonal variations.

    In the UK, we try to plug these gaps using thermal power plants burning biomass where possible, but mostly coal and natural gas. Biomass is seasonal and cannot easily be stored for long periods of time without expensive measures, like silos keeping it cool and under anaerobic conditions, something that we tend not to do in reality. Wind and solar integration is workable only because these thermal plants are able and prepared to act as swing producers and the proportion of power provided by intermittent renewable energy is still relatively modest. It still effectively means that we must maintain a whole set of power plants that run at low utilisation, with all of the costs associated. The various interconnectors also allow us to export power when we need to. Germany does the same; it means that you are dumping the problem onto someone else.

    Storage is something that could be effective at buffering short-term fluctuations, but remember that a storage plant is basically another power station that you must maintain. The more power you need to store in this way, the more it will cost and given that you will use the extra storage capacity less regularly, the cost per unit power will increase exponentially. So storage is a solution only for short-term (hourly or daily) fluctuations.

    So far, this discussion applies only to electricity. It does not apply to transport, heating or other energy needs. Integrating these requirements will complicate the situation; doubling or more the amount of electricity that must be generated, but also introducing opportunities such as thermal storage in storage heaters. There is no getting around the fact that relying heavily on intermittent energy for power supply will mean disruptions to supply that must be absorbed by consumers. They must adjust their operations to work around these problems, i.e. demand management. Back-up, storage and demand management are all burdens that cut into EROI and increase systematic costs that you do not have with more dependable energy sources like nuclear power.

    To wrap this post up: It is possible in principal to run a modern industrial economy on intermittent renewable energy. But do not kid yourself into thinking that the transition will be easy or cheap or that life will be the same without abundant fossil fuels.

  12. Antius on Wed, 15th May 2019 7:00 am 

    Latest data reveals that additions to world renewable energy capacity last year were unchanged from 2017, the first time that this number has failed to grow. Annual additions to wind capacity were 26% lower in 2018 (50GW) than in 2015 (68GW).

    Capital investment in renewables has fallen for the second successive year, and was lower in 2018 ($304bn) than in 2011 ($314bn, at 2018 values).

    So much for the great transition…..

  13. Cloggie on Wed, 15th May 2019 12:28 pm 

    https://www.spiegel.de/video/donald-trump-spottet-ueber-green-new-deal-video-99027105.html

    Trump mocks The Green New Deal and renewable energy in general, which is good news for Europe as it enhances our lead.

    #FourMoreYears

  14. Cloggie on Wed, 15th May 2019 12:43 pm 

    Cloggo, quit being redundant and stuck on yourself. You constantly are bragging about yourself and your postage stamp country. What is wrong with you? I can’t count the number of times you boast about your jack-up boats.

    Is that so? For starters, I can’t remember that I claimed that I personally build the ship, actually it is German-built (I forgive them).

    You must be referring to this post, written by me exactly 2 years ago:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/the-giants-of-a-new-energy-age/

    Actually it was YOUR Bloomberg post, earlier this week…

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-05-13/offshore-wind-will-need-bigger-boats-much-bigger-boats

    …that prompted my curiosity to investigate a little how the market for jack-up ships had been doing over the last two years. Quit well actually! Even the Americans are now ordering one or two of those machines.

    What I have never posted before though, is a back-of-an-envelope calculation how long it takes to carry out the complete renewable energy transition for a country like Holland. I was genuinely surprised that it is only a decade! As I said before (spam alert!) there is no serious, principle energy problem, not in the long term.

    Do I spam? Over the past two years I posted the link 15 times (according to Google), slightly more than once every two months, where you post 15 juvenile “JuanPee” posts every single day. One wonders who the real spammer is, asking the question, etc., etc., etc.

    It is not as bad as your Brexit spam though.

    You seem to have absolutely no idea what a geopolitical mega-event Brexit is (assuming it is going to happen, probably it will, thanks to uncle Farage): an essential ingredient in breaking up the West=US empire, not a minute too early.

  15. Davy on Wed, 15th May 2019 12:56 pm 

    “Trump mocks The Green New Deal and renewable energy in general, which is good news for Europe as it enhances our lead.”

    Most sane people are questioning the GND, cloggo except for fake green liberal extremist, marxist and green something-for-nothing socialist.

    “#FourMoreYears”

    you sound like dumbass but you both like to cheerlead you agenda

  16. Cloggie on Wed, 15th May 2019 12:56 pm 

    Latest data reveals that additions to world renewable energy capacity last year were unchanged from 2017, the first time that this number has failed to grow. Annual additions to wind capacity were 26% lower in 2018 (50GW) than in 2015 (68GW).

    Capital investment in renewables has fallen for the second successive year, and was lower in 2018 ($304bn) than in 2011 ($314bn, at 2018 values).

    Well, nobody claimed that the transition is going to be a smooth exponential curve into the renewable energy nirvana. Hiccups are to be expected. There is an increased need for storage, there is local resistance against new installation of power-lines and huge wind tower onshore (“not in my backyard”), then there is the economic question of how fast you want to write off all fossil fuel power generation capacity.

    So much for the great transition…..

    I think 50 GW is still impressive. Certainly if you compare that with that other transition that you would like to see happening, namely the nuclear one:

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/plans-for-new-reactors-worldwide.aspx

    25% from 2016 (about 414 GWe) to 2040 (about 518 GWe).

    104 GW in 22 years or a meager 5 GW per year, ten times less than renewables, in a bad year for renewables.

    Nota bene: planned.

    Ouch.

    P.S. regarding these numbers $304B-2018 vs $314B-2011, note that in 2018 you get perhaps twice the amount of kWh’s for that amount as compared to 2011.

  17. Davy on Wed, 15th May 2019 1:03 pm 

    “What I have never posted before though, is a back-of-an-envelope calculation how long it takes to carry out the complete renewable energy transition for a country like Holland. I was genuinely surprised that it is only a decade! As I said before (spam alert!) there is no serious, principle energy problem, not in the long term.”
    Sure cloggo, you are a postage stamp country that can do it on the backs of your neighbors and some big leaps in technology like storage/hydrogen and the final key variable is a functioning economy.

    “Do I spam? Over the past two years I posted the link 15 times (according to Google), slightly more than once every two months, where you post 15 juvenile “JuanPee” posts every single day. One wonders who the real spammer is, asking the question, etc., etc., etc.”
    Come on cloggo, you love the fact that juanpee is trying to censor me with “denial of normal comments” activity mainly puppets and identity theft. You support his behavior because you are dirty and nasty just like him but with a little better manners. I will fight anybody like juanpee that plays dirty and wants to censor me instead of legitimate debate.

    “You seem to have absolutely no idea what a geopolitical mega-event Brexit is (assuming it is going to happen, probably it will, thanks to uncle Farage): an essential ingredient in breaking up the West=US empire, not a minute too early.”
    Brexit is a mega event for your PBM mega fantasy but in regards to the rest of the world it is just one variable of a degrading EU and globalism that is playing out simultaneously.

  18. Davy on Wed, 15th May 2019 1:06 pm 

    “Well, nobody claimed that the transition is going to be a smooth exponential curve into the renewable energy nirvana. Hiccups are to be expected.”

    You did cloggo in fact you were balls to the walls. Antius and I have been moderating this balls to the walls free energy BS and you have been treating us like idiots. Who is the idiot now? LOL.

    #TOLDYOUSO#

  19. Cloggie on Wed, 15th May 2019 1:54 pm 

    “Sure cloggo, you are a postage stamp country that can do it on the backs of your neighbors”

    ???

    So far Germany is unloading renewable energy onto us, forcing Dutch efficient natural gas power stations to switch off, not the other way around. Not that I care, as I’m pro-transition.

    “You did cloggo”

    I didn’t. I have used the expression “leaps and bounds” repeatedly.

    “free energy BS”

    I never suggested that renewable energy comes for free. You begin to dement early, empire dave.

    “Antius and I have been moderating this balls to the walls free energy BS and you have been treating us like idiots.”

    The American marxist and English white nationalist “racist” all of a sudden have always been a team, eh?

    I admit that I have always been treating you for what you are, namely an idiot and traitor of white civilization, a true ZOG-bot, something I have never done to Antius, who is a true patriot, fully understands the JQ and is a competent physicist, although it unfortunately is possible we become deadly enemies in case of a hard-Brexit and end up on different sides of WW3 front lines.

    I hope not.

  20. Davy on Wed, 15th May 2019 2:09 pm 

    Liar, is all I can say and it is not worth my time to dig your shit up up. This has been something I have been fighting in daily emails for years. Your comments say energy is not a problem, energy is almost free, and the tradition is speeding ahead faster than expected. Now you say that was not your position but this is just embarrassment backtracking. The important point is you are wrong and others right including me right. The reason this is important is this is deadly serious business for all but for you it is only serious as part of your personal fantasy agenda. You can give a shit about the world

  21. Cloggie on Wed, 15th May 2019 2:19 pm 

    “it is not worth my time to dig your shit up up.”

    Than shut up with your unfounded accusations.

    “Your comments say energy is not a problem, energy is almost free, and the tradition is speeding ahead faster than expected.”

    Energy is not a problem in the long term, that’s what I said. These peak oil drama queens (I shortly was one of them) were simply wrong. The transition itself is going to cost considerable money. In the long run however, a renewable energy economy will be cost neutral:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/blueprint-100-renewable-energy-base-for-germany/

    Renewable is currently the cheapest form of energy, if you ignore storage, that’s what I said. And not just me:

    https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Wind-Solar-Are-Now-The-Cheapest-Sources-Of-Power-Generation.html

  22. Cloggie on Wed, 15th May 2019 2:41 pm 

    This is the point I wanted to make with my latest jack-up vessel post:

    https://www.vesselfinder.com/nl/vessels/AEOLUS-IMO-9612636-MMSI-245179000

    Every cycle means 4 offshore wind towers, currently 9.5 MW per tower.

    Rotterdam 2019-04-26 04:00
    Rotterdam 2019-04-26 06:10
    Vlissingen 2019-04-20 16:40
    Vlissingen 2019-04-16 08:24
    Vlissingen 2019-04-09 20:51
    Vlissingen 2019-04-04 09:00

    Duration: 5, 7, 4, 6 days.

    http://www.maritiemnederland.com/nieuws/aeolus-zorgt-voor-nieuw-record-van-oord/item3222

    Aeolus: a complete 370 MW offshore windpark, of 45 wind towers, enough for 400,000 households, realized in less than 3 months. That’s 1.5 GW per year. It could easily be 2.5 GW per year if the monopiles and towers are shipped towards the Aeolus on simple barges.

    This is not spam, this is real groundbreaking information, even if it doesn’t support your sinister collapse agenda, with of course America the “last man standing” and 6 billion people wiped of the planet, to arrive at true carrying capacity.

    Fortunately this is not going to happen. The only thing that will wiped of the face of the earth is that empire of yours.

  23. Davy on Wed, 15th May 2019 2:55 pm 

    “it is not worth my time to dig your shit up up.” “Than shut up with your unfounded accusations.”
    Here is something from 3/5. I can continue to dig up old comments if you like:
    Cloggo:
    “Percentage-wise, Europe is anything but stalling. We are racing ahead towards the 100% renewable energy goal twice the speed as the US.”
    Davy
    BS, clogged, you are not increasing the growth rate you had a few years ago and the US is shifting gear. China is blowing both out of the water but the jury is out on how much will be stranded by mal-investment.

    “Energy is not a problem in the long term, that’s what I said. These peak oil drama queens (I shortly was one of them) were simply wrong. The transition itself is going to cost considerable money. In the long run however, a renewable energy economy will be cost neutral:”
    Sure cloggo, I like how you adapt your stories as they fail

    “Renewable is currently the cheapest form of energy, if you ignore storage, that’s what I said. And not just me:”
    That’s not true when you consider all costs. Antius has shown you this multiple times and you ignore him.

  24. Davy on Wed, 15th May 2019 3:02 pm 

    “This is not spam, this is real groundbreaking information”
    It is spam when you play it over and over in a chauvinist way.

    “even if it doesn’t support your sinister collapse agenda”
    What is sinister about reflecting on what is very possible? It is called risk management something a key board puncher like you never learned.

    “with of course America the “last man standing” and 6 billion people wiped of the planet, to arrive at true carrying capacity.”
    Ah dumbshit, I have told you the last man standing is in regards to the global economy and the collapse process. I have made it abundantly clear we are all going down together but possibly at different rates. It is a reply to your constant harping that the US is collapsing while the EU and Asia are rising bullshit. The 6BIL wiped off the planet will be natures doing not mine. Carrying capacity post modernism is likely 1BIL. Get a grip and quit playing the drama card.

    “Fortunately this is not going to happen.”
    You have no clue what is coming idiot

    “The only thing that will wiped of the face of the earth is that empire of yours.”
    Empire is gone cloggo. It lives on in your whining.

  25. Cloggie on Wed, 15th May 2019 3:38 pm 

    It is spam when you play it over and over in a chauvinist way.

    It ain’t bragging if it is true, but I do register a certain being intimidated on your side while being confronted with European technology.

    I have made it abundantly clear we are all going down together but possibly at different rates.

    You have repeatedly parroted the phrase you picked up from your media “last man standing”.

    You have no clue what is coming

    Not a 1 billion planet. You are still stuck in brain-software, downloaded from the likes of dieoff.com, whose owners have long moved on.

    Empire is gone cloggo.

    It has, but not in the minds of too many MAGA idiots, or smelly armpit antifa types like our mobster.

  26. Anonymouse on Wed, 15th May 2019 4:26 pm 

    Cloggjude, are you brain-damaged or something? Rhetorical question. This is an another dumb article about FUSION, you retard. Not your make-believe boats in 2050 or w/e the fook it is you are yammering on about today. Everyone here, up to to the point you dragged your sorry ass out of bed, was on topic.

    Except for, wait for it…..

    The brain-damaged jew and his retard buddy, the indispensable Ameriturd.

    Why dont you, you know, go the registered side and make up all the topics you like, instead of you and the exceptionalturd constantly derailing every, single thread with your jew\exceptionalturd nonsense and agendas?

    Both of you dumbasses need to take a long hike, preferably on a busy freeway.

    For Cloggjude, a highway filled with google robocars programmed by googles jew software designers, that are too dumb to realize there is a retard wandering on the road would be just perfect.

  27. Antius on Wed, 15th May 2019 5:32 pm 

    “Renewable is currently the cheapest form of energy, if you ignore storage, that’s what I said. And not just me”

    That is highly questionable. Just because some wind and solar projects have bid at relatively low prices, does not mean that you can count on all such projects being cheaper across the board. Many North Sea wind vendors have been bidding beneath cost in order to gain market share and have benefited from the decline of North Sea oil and gas and the resulting infrastructure glut. Solar panels are also quite cheap at present partly because the Chinese have used cheap coal based electricity for their construction and have dumped them onto the market beneath cost. They have done this in an attempt to bankrupt the competition. How long will they be able to continue doing that?

    Also, there is no ignoring of storage. I have made the case before that it’s inclusion will at least double the cost of electricity. That is a fairly conservative estimate. In reality, no nation relies on storage for more than a minor portion of electricity supply. Those with substantial intermittent renewables rely heavily on backup power plants, burning fossil fuels. There are good financial reasons why this is done. Gas turbines are cheap and compact.

    Also, the levelised cost of energy for all new electricity infrastructure is substantially more than most countries presently pay. When you say ‘cheapest’ form of energy, you need to understand it is only competitive in that context. If we were able to build nuclear power plants at the prices that South Korea and China do now (or at the prices that the French did in the 1990s) then any sort of buffered renewable energy system would be quite expensive in comparison. That cost isn’t an abstract issue; it is going to eat into real living standards in the years ahead. Then again, unless the dynamics change, the electricity from all sources will be more expensive than we are accustomed to in the future.

  28. Davy on Wed, 15th May 2019 5:57 pm 

    “It ain’t bragging if it is true, but I do register a certain being intimidated on your side while being confronted with European technology.”
    Bragging is bragging and when it is spam it is annoying and that is what you do 20/7, lunatic

    “You have repeatedly parroted the phrase you picked up from your media “last man standing”.”
    Cloggo, I have said the US could be the last man standing and you are absolutely petrified of that. We may be the first to go. See I am honest and you are a lie.

    “Not a 1 billion planet. You are still stuck in brain-software, downloaded from the likes of dieoff.com, whose owners have long moved on.”
    You don’t know that cloggo. Your techno optimism is taking us to the brink. It is people like you that are killing the planet and think you are green.

  29. Robert Inget on Thu, 16th May 2019 12:21 pm 

    Don’t know nuttin bout fusion. But…..
    There’s good news on battery storage.

    The Chinese government claims a new technological breakthrough pushes lithium production prices to a record low, which could have a big effect on electric car battery costs.

    A Chinese government report claims the new process has made the cost of extracting lithium 15,000 yuan (US $2,180) per ton. That’s a huge dropoff from standard international prices for lithium, which often range from $12,000 to $20,000 per ton.

    Reports last year saw prices in China hit the low end of that spectrum, but $2,000/ton would be a whole new ballpark.

    As the South China Morning Post reports, though precise costs of lithium production are “a closely guarded business secret,” industry insiders confirmed this new rate would be one of the lowest rates known — if not the lowest.

    China produces about two-thirds of all lithium-ion batteries and controls most of the world’s lithium processing facilities. That’s why the US is discussing legislation that would aid in the domestic mining of lithium and other materials that could be used in electric cars.

    US Mining
    That legislation — the American Mineral Security Act — appeared to take another important step forward during a hearing on Tuesday. According to Reuters, the hearing found “senators voicing bipartisan support for” the legislation, which aims to create a national electric vehicle supply chain policy.

    The act would “require a tally of metal reserves in the United States and seek to streamline permitting for the EV sector.” US senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, a co-sponsor of the bill, said,

    “We are not doing ourselves any favors when we don’t know what we have in our inventory. I suspect we have more than we even think we do.”

    China looms large in the Reuters report, as both politicians and analysts alike have been adamant in stressing the importance of China’s vast lead in electric vehicle materials.

    The US really doesn’t know how many relevant minerals it has in this regard. Current estimates rely on corporate reports and historical data. According to the US Geological Survey, the country has 35,000 tonnes of lithium in reserve, which many see as a conservative figure.

    Albemarle Corp operates the only lithium mine in the US — said to be capable of producing 6,000 tonnes annually — though more projects are in development.

    Tesla recently warned of battery material shortages, including materials like lithium, nickel, and copper.

    https://electrek.co/2019/05/15/china-lithium-production-breakthrough/

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