Energy

The World of Energy is Changing Fast

The landscape in the world of energy is changing faster than we might expect. Low oil prices forced Saudi Arabia to borrow $4 billion over the last year, CNBC reported. The oil rich kingdom had to borrow the money to cover a budget deficit that was larger than expected.

The world's largest hotel in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the Saudis may no longer have the money for such lavish building projects.

It is not known how large Saudi Arabia’s deficit is but unknown analysts quoted by CBNC estimated the Saudi deficit at $130 billion. Saudi Arabia is still very rich though it still has cash reserves of around $737 billion. Some experts think Saudi Arabia will have to start cutting spending because it simply cannot finance its lavish economy with $58 a barrel oil. The Saudis would need $105 a barrel oil to cover all their costs.

LENR, the Drought and Elon Musk

A power source like low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) could be more vital to our future than previously thought. Recent stories indicate that some of our present sources of energy are not adequate to meet our needs and power future technologies.

One future technology that could be powered by LENR is the hyperloop, Elon Musk’s incredibly disruptive proposal for a super-fast ground transportation system. It could whisk people and freight across the countryside at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour and it would be electric powered. Most proposals for hyperloop show that it would be solar powered but Forbes reported that an engineer designing the product for a company called Hyperloop Technologies or Hyperloop Tech estimated that solar would not generate enough power to run it.

Tom Darden Reveals why he Backed Rossi

Cherokee Partners’ CEO Tom Darden’s funding of low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) research is more extensive than previously revealed. Darden is the man behind Industrial Heat which purchased Andrea Rossi’s ecat technology last year. Unfortunately Darden would not reveal what other researchers he is backing in an interview with Marianne Macy in April 16, 2015 issue of Infinite Energy Magazine.

Macy interviewed Darden after his provocative speech during the opening ceremoniesof the 19th Annual International Conference on Cold Fusion in Padua, Italy, on April 13, 2015. Darden surprised a lot of people with his public commitment to LENR and his willingness to put money into the field.

Darden also revealed some of his thinking on LENR in the interview which is well worth reading. Some of the high lights include what convinced him to back Rossi:

“We’ve seen a number of tests and we’ve had a lot of people looking at tests,” Darden said. “Of course outsiders have looked  at tests. I think particularly the transmutation data is very compelling. I felt very good about that, better than any outlet of test data I’d seen.”

Some New Energy Technologies not working as Advertised

Recent news stories have exposed some serious limitations to a few of the next generation energy technologies our leaders are promoting as solutions to problems like global warming. These stories should serve as a wakeup call and strong evidence why we need to research options like low energy nuclear reaction or LENR.

The most interesting story is that solar power is not as reliable as we thought. Bloomberg reported that an eclipse on March 20 had German and other utilities scrambling to turn on backup systems for solar panels. On some sunny days up to 40% of Germany’s electricity is provided by solar panels.

The utilities had to figure how to quickly switch on backup systems such as natural gas  fired turbines when the sun went dark and solar panels stopped feeding juice into the system. The amount of electricity needed could be massive Germany gets around 38 gigawatts of electricity from the sun.

LENR could help end California Water Crisis

California is in the midst of a catastrophic drought that could affect food prices all over world. What’s truly interesting is that something like low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) or cold fusion could be the solution to this crisis.

If the drought continues California only has about one year’s supply of fresh water left, NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti wrote in a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed. Familgletti a hydrologist looked at satellite data and made the alarming discovery that the Golden State has just enough fresh water left in reservoirs and underground aquifers for one year of use at current consumption levels.

What is truly disturbing is that California is not alone in an article for National Geographic last year, Famiglietti warned that aquifers all over the world and throughout the American West were being pumped dry. He predicted massive water shortages in the US, China, the Middle East and elsewhere if nothing is done.

A few Important Energy Stories that You Need to See

There have been a few important developments in the world of energy that everybody needs to be aware of. The energy industry has become more unstable than ever even without the appearance of disruptive technologies like low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) and it looks like it is about to get worse.

Construction of Elon Musk's Gigafactory is well under way.

The biggest story is that the collapse in oil prices is destabilizing many countries including Russia and Venezuela. News stories indicate that super market shelves in Venezuela are empty because the government cannot pay for food imports and that nation’s president is frantically traveling around the world begging for loans and foreign aid to keep his country’s economy functioning. Venezuela’s economy is totally dependent on oil exports, take away the oil exports and the result is depression.

An Exciting Time for LENR

It is a rather interesting and very exciting time for low energy nuclear reaction (LENR). Perhaps the most exciting developments are the attempts to replicate and perhaps improve upon Andrea Rossi’s Lugarno demonstration of his ecat technology.

Jack Cole who is described as a hobbyist reported that he has succeeded in achieving some sort of reaction with a mixture of nickel, hydrogen and a special lime based ceramic powder, the LENR-Coldfusion.com website reported. Cole reported that his experiment created 10.6 watts of excess heat. Cole was hoping to produce LENR without the use of lithium a volatile and potentially flammable substance.

This is supposed to be a picture of Jack Cole's latest low energy nuclear reaction.

Like Alexander Parkhomov Cole was apparently trying to replicate Rossi’s Lugarno experiment. Unfortunately I don’t know that much more about Cole or his efforts.

The Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project is attempting to do much the same thing with their Project Dog Bone. Updates about that effort are regularly posted on the Project’s Facebook page.

How a Technology Develops

The best way to predict how the commercialization and adoption of low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) could occur is to examine how other technologies were adopted in the past. Then to identify the patterns by which they were adopted it. In other words we need to take a look at history.

Thomas Edison an inventor who changed history.

History does not exactly repeat itself but it often operates in similar patterns. These patterns sometimes produce different results but they are similar. A pattern for technological development, commercialization and adoption based on past technological progress can be discerned. Here are the highlights of such a pattern:

2014: The Year in Cold Fusion

2014 turned out to be a really exciting year in low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) or cold fusion even if we didn’t get the breakthrough we wanted. The field made progress and took some surprising twists and turns.

The biggest and most important LENR story of the year had to be the entry of the American private equity firm Cherokee Partners into the cold fusion area. Cherokee purchased the rights to Andrea Rossi’s e-cat LENR device for $11 million and set up a company called Industrial Heat LLC to manage it.

This story is important because it shows that serious investors are interested in LENR and willing to put money into it. Hopefully many other investors will follow Cherokee’s Tom Darden into the field.

So far Industrial Heat has not unveiled a practical LENR device yet but it does seem to be laying a good ground work for commercialization. Hopefully they’ll unveil something in 2015.

Energy Glut is changing the World

The world is facing something that most of us would have thought impossible just a few years ago – an energy glut. That will have big implications for cutting edge power sources such as Low Energy Nuclear Reaction or LENR as well as the established energy conglomerates.

One impact you’re probably already seeing is at your local gas station. Various sources are reporting that regular unleaded gasoline is now selling for under $2 a gallon around or around 66¢ a liter in some parts of the American Midwest. This is driving up US retail sales, the wholesale club Costco, now America’s second largest retailer; reported that its sales increased by 7% in November.

This is sure to fuel economic growth in the United States and countries that sell to the USA such as China. It’s also sure to hurt countries that depend on oil imports such as Russia where the Ruble is collapsing and Venezuela. One side effect of falling oil prices is that Venezuela can no longer afford to support the Castro brothers’ revolutionary fantasy in Cuba. The Venezuelans were propping up Cuba with their oil money but now they are broke.