Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Limitless Potential of the E-Cat: An Interview with Andrea Rossi

Some of the questions we asked Mr. Rossi take a look at:

• Why it took so long for him to go public with his discovery.
• How the E-Cat will produce energy costing $10/megawatt hour.
• When he will release more detailed information on the E-Cat.
• Why he believes international media coverage of the E-Cat has been so muted.
• His feelings towards critics and the scientific community.
• His manufacturing and distribution goals.
• How the E-cat will help reduce mankind’s dependency on fossil fuels.
• + Many more details on the e-cat, LENR and Rossi himself.

A unusually interesting answer:
Andrea Rossi: Yes, of course I questioned my discovery. It was hard to believe that I had finally produced a working example of LENR. I paid Sergio Focardi, the physicist and emeritus professor at the University of Bologna, to try and convince me that I was wrong, and relieve me of my obsession with LENR. In the end I ended up convincing him, and he decided to work with me in developing the E-Cat machine. [emphasis added]

Cold Fusion Now: Rossi E-cat a Bargain compared to Nuclear

March 12, 2012 / Brad Arnold  h/t  pesn

Rossi made the following comment on his blog:

Dear Dr Joseph Fine:
- In a 45 MW plant, if Siemens gives us 30% of efficiency, the COP is not 6, is infinite: the energy to drive the resistances will be made by the E-Cat: if we make 45 thermal MWh/h, 15 electric MWh/h will be made, of which 7.5 will be consumed by the plant, 7.5 will be sold, together with30 thermal MWh/h.
- The price of a 45 MW plant will be in the order of 30 millions.
- the price of the energy made by our industrial plants will be made by the owners and by the market.
Warm Regards,

30 Minutes with Andrea Rossi

Uploaded by ColdFusionNow on Mar 11, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Space X from 60 Minutes

h/t Next Big Future


Musk seems deeply disappointed that his heroes from the Apollo Era, Neil Armstrong and others, were not supportive of his efforts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An Inexpensive Solution for Quickly Launching Military Satellites Into Space

Sounds a lot like Quicklaunch. Quicklaunch uses a gas gun, which is the difference. In principle, the object that is supposed to reach orbit has to pass through the lower atmosphere at a very high velocity. That's the problem.

John Hunter of Quicklaunch believes he has the answer.  The author doesn't mention that problem, so he may not have a solution.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson: The Case for Space

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson: The Case for Space

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reaction Engines Ltd : News Update - February 2012

Reaction Engines Ltd : News Update - February 2012  h/t Next Big Future

Skylon news.

It is a pretty interesting concept, in particular, the dual mode engines can work in air breathing mode and standard rocket mode. This could be quite interesting for other designs, such as the one that Elon Musk wants to develop for his reusable rockets. Musk doesn't like air breathers, but those don't have to be air breathers on the way up, just on the way down.

Nuclear Thermal Rockets

As alluded to in a previous post, I spent some time listening to Steven Howe yesterday on the Space Show's mp3 archived file.

Based upon what I've learned about the Thorium fuel cycle, I'd say U233 fuel rods for nuclear thermal is just too impractical.

But maybe that is not a show stopper.  You can still use the Thorium fuel cycle off world.  Perhaps not for interplanetary missions.  Perhaps.  For that, you need the good old fashioned Uranium fuel cycle and U235.   This can be imported or exported from Earth depending upon your point of view.

However, the idea of using the Thorium fuel cycle for interplanetary missions doesn't die easily for me.  It would really be a big deal if you could make that work.  But how?

The problem, as I understand it now, is the impurities in the U233- which is U232, and it is very radioactive. You really can't get around that very easily, or at all.

Or can you?

Now, what if you just pay the mass penalty and deal with that radioactivity with lots and lots of shielding?  You'd still have problems, but the shielding would take care of the gamma rays ( I think).  The problem then becomes the mass penalty, but in a shallow gravity well, such as with the moon or Mars, perhaps this can be handled.  One additional point- you don't want to use the nuclear rocket to take off or land.  It would be parked at EML2 in the Earth Moon system, or at Phobos or Deimos in Mars orbit.  Conventional rockets, maybe even U235 rockets, would get you off the surface.  Once in orbit, the U233 fueled nuclear rocket would take over.  Of course, this would be on a different vehicle.

The idea is to minimize the amount of mass that has to be lifted off the Earth.  Secondly, to use a concentrated source of power for thrust for your rockets.  This will further minimize the amount of mass needed, and reduce the mass penalty.

Overall, you'd like a system that requires a minimum of launches from Earth, with most of the mass for propulsion and life support being provided off world.  The Earth would supply complex manufactured goods, rare materials not found off world, plus people.

Howe's tungsten fuel rods may make nuclear thermal more acceptable as a means of getting to orbit.  But that is a whole new ballgame.  But isn't that the whole point?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spark plasma sintering

This term was made by Steven Howe on the Space Show, with respect to tungsten fuel rods in a nuclear thermal rocket engine.

I googled it and found this video. Don't know what it all means.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

China Takes Lead in Race for Clean Nuclear Power

“President Obama talked about a Sputnik-type call to action in his SOTU address,” wrote Charles Hart, a a retired semiconductor researcher and frequent commenter on the Energy From Thorium discussion forum. “I think this qualifies.”


Well, it has been a year and what has this administration done?

Another look at the Thorium REMIX 2011

I went nuts with this yesterday afternoon.  I made a bunch of screen shots and organized them according to topic. I did this because the material just gets to be too much at one sitting.  This is probably too technical a discussion for most people to stick with for the entire 2 hours.  Even though I'm vitally interested in it, it is still a challenge for me to spend so much time on it.

Basically, I divided the screen shots into 3 categories
  1. Waste: the screenshots start at 1:10:30 and (for the most part) at 1:15.  I took 17 of these.
  2. Proliferation: only 3 of these, 2 at 30 minute in, and one near the end
  3. Inertia:  13 of these spread out over the 2 hour video.  This inertia exists both in the public and private sectors.  
There's no reason not to do LFTRs.  But that has been the case since the Kennedy Administration.  Actually, the Kennedy Administration seems to have favored development of this technology.

This video should be part of a study course- which illustrates to anyone interested -how things can go badly wrong.  After watching this, the main thing to take away is this:  just because it hasn't been developed already doesn't mean it was a bad idea.

An historical example: I saw on Instapundit today a story about how aluminum may have been available much sooner if a Roman Emperor had allowed it.  Think about that one for awhile.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Environmental OK for laser enrichment plant



There are no major environmental reasons why a uranium enrichment facility based on laser technology should not be constructed by Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) in Wilmington, North Carolina, the US nuclear regulator has concluded. 

A bit of speculation here:  could this be used for U233 as well?  This post will serve as a reminder to look into the problems with U233 and whether or not its handling issues can be solved.  If so, that would make setting up a Thorium cycle reactor which would breed U233 off world-- on Mars and the moon.  The significance of this is that it would end the necessity of launch fuel from Earth.


After spending some time looking into this, it appears that making U233 from Thorium and using it in fuel rods is a difficult, if not totally impractical idea.  But that is right up my alley.  lol

I got some interesting links out of it, though.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We Are the Explorers

Uploaded by ReelNASA on Feb 29, 2012

A benefit of the Thorium fuel cycle

This may not be a new idea, but the significance was enough to discuss briefly.  I thought that you would want to be able to handle Uranium 233 from the breeding of Thorium 232, want to be able to make fuel rods for a nuclear thermal engine for a rocket on the moon and Mars.

This is as opposed to using a LFTR design for energy production on the ground.  Wouldn't want to use a LFTR in space because it is liquid, and that may be a problem in space.  However, handling U 233, which is a product of a LFTR on the ground, is a bit of a challenge, as I understand.  But, if you could do this off world, a significant benefit could result.


You would not need to get fuel from the earth anymore.  If you can do this off world, you will be able to eliminate the necessity to lift fuel from off the Earth.   Without having to lift all this fuel from the Earth would make interplanetary space travel much easier than otherwise.

This should be able to reduce costs for deep space missions by a considerable amount, I would think.

One may get it all started by breeding some Plutonium for deep space travel as well.  You could use a small LFTR design for that as a research reactor.  That could get the ball rolling.  NASA needs the stuff for these types of projects, provided that funding could be gotten for it.  Also, Obama has indicated in his budget that he doesn't want these programs anymore.

It would take a change in administrations to bring this into being.