It appears that cold fusion energy may become a real thing. Along with solar, which is a very real thing, and the hot fusion technology being developed by Lockheed-Martin, it would appear that fossil fuels and traditional nuclear are really, finally, on their way out as an energy source.
e-Cat, or cold fusion, has reportedly received funding of $11M from a company called Cherokee. There is a report posted online about a device that mysteriously produces energy, but no one knows exactly how. I remain skeptical with this kind of statement:
Apparently a COP of 3.2-3.6 over a 32 day period and isotopic change in nickel and lithium was observed.
“In summary, the performance of the E-Cat reactor is remarkable. We have a device giving heat energy compatible with nuclear transformations, but it operates at low energy and gives neither nuclear radioactive waste nor emits radiation. From basic general knowledge in nuclear physics this should not be possible. Nevertheless we have to relate to the fact that the experimental results from our test show heat production beyond chemical burning, and that the E-Cat fuel undergoes nuclear transformations. It is certainly most unsatisfying that these results so far have no convincing theoretical explanation, but the experimental results cannot be dismissed or ignored just because of lack of theoretical understanding.”
(insert skeptical GIF here)
I’m more convinced by Lockheed-Martin’s online announcement. It dates back to October 2014, and not much since then, but they reported at the time that they will be building working models within a year and a prototype of something commercial within 5 years. Academics expressed their doubts immediately. But I don’t see why such a big company would make an announcement like this unless they have something real to back it up – not sure what they would have to gain by lying.
And, more and more real life data on how solar is taking over the world. This time from Motherboard:
In just 15 years, the world as we know it will have transformed forever. The age of oil, gas, coal and nuclear will be over. A new age of clean power and smarter cars will fundamentally, totally, and permanently disrupt the existing fossil fuel-dependent industrial infrastructure in a way that even the most starry-eyed proponents of ‘green energy’ could never have imagined.
These are not the airy-fairy hopes of a tree-hugging hippy living off the land in an eco-commune. It’s the startling verdict of Tony Seba, a lecturer in business entrepreneurship, disruption and clean energy at Stanford University and a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
Seba began his career at Cisco Systems in 1993, where he predicted the internet-fueled mobile revolution at a time when most telecoms experts were warning of the impossibility of building an Internet the size of the US, let alone the world. Now he is predicting the “inevitable” disruption of the fossil fuel infrastructure.
Seba’s thesis, set out in more detail in his new book Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation, is that by 2030 “the industrial age of energy and transportation will be over,” swept away by “exponentially improving technologies such as solar, electric vehicles, and self-driving cars.”
The analysis about solar is based on both what is actually happening right now, and projections based on previous disruptive technologies:
“What the skeptics don’t understand is, when disruption happens, it happens swiftly, within two decades or even two years,” Seba told me. “Just ask anyone at your favorite camera film, telegraph, or typewriter company.” Kodak, a photography giant in 2003, filed for bankruptcy in 2012, as the digital photography revolutions swept away dependence on film. We’ve seen parallel disruptions with smartphones and tablets.
I find the whole combustion-to-electric car disruption very compelling and reasonable. Not tin hat stuff at all – Elon Musk is building that battery plant no matter what. It’s not that terrifying, either – just as the US would not have stopped making cars if the automakers had been allowed to go bankrupt (Twinkie, anyone?), the transport vehicles will still be needed and so they will be manufactured. And manufacturing happens here, just look at the battery plant, exhibit #1.
Change is scary and exciting. And inevitable.