A New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:20 pm    Post subject: A New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy Reply with quote

A New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy

Over the past year many luminaries have made clarion calls for a concerted effort to solve the energy crisis. It is a crisis, with 300 million middle class Chinese determined to attain the unsustainable lifestyle we have sold them. Their thirst for oil is growing at 30% a year, and can do nothing but heat the earth and spark political conflict.

We have been heating the earth since the agricultural revolution with the positive result of providing 10,000 years of warm stability. But since the Industrial revolution we have been pushing the biosphere over the brink. Life forces have done this before -- during the snowball earth period ( Cryogenian Period ) in the Neoproterozoic toward the end of the Precambrian - but that life force was not sentient!

Thomas Freedman of the New York Times has called for a Manhattan Project for clean energy The New York Times> Search> Abstract. Richard Smalley, one of the fathers of nanotechnology, has made a similar plea http://news.uns.purdue.edu/html3month/2004/040902.Smalley.energy.html.
We are at the cusp in several technologies to fulfilling this clean energy dream. All that we need is the political leadership to shift our fiscal priorities.

I feel our resources should be focused in three promising technologies:

1. Nanotechnology: The exploitation of quantum effects is finally being seen in these new materials. Photovoltaics (PV) are at last going beyond silicon, with many companies promising near-term breakthroughs in efficiencies and lower cost. Even silicon is gaining new efficienies from nano-tech: Researchers develop technique to use dirty silicon, could pave way for cheaper solar energy http://www.physorg.com/news5831.html
New work on diodes also has great implications for PV, LEDs and micro-electronics Nanotubes make perfect diodes (August 2005) - News - PhysicsWeb http://physicsweb.org/articles/news/9/8/11

Thermionics: The direct conversion of heat to electricity has been at best only 5% efficient. Now with quantum tunneling chips we are talking 80% of carnot efficiency. A good example is the proposed thermionic car design of Borealis. ( http://www.borealis.gi/press/NEW-GOLDEN-AGE-IBM.Speech.6=04.pdf ) . The estimated well-to-wheel efficiency is over 50%. This compares to 13% for internal combustion and 27% for hydrogen fuel cells. This means a car that has a range of 1500 miles on one fill up. Rodney T. Cox, president of Borealis, has told me that he plans to have this car developed within two years. Boeing has already used his Chorus motor drives http://www.chorusmotors.gi/.
on the nose gear of it's 767. (Boeing Demonstrates New Technology for Moving Airplanes on the Ground http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2005/q3/nr_050801a.html )
The Borealis thermocouple power chips http://www.powerchips.gi/index.shtml (and cool chips) applied to all the waste heat in our economy would make our unsustainable lifestyle more than sustainable.
You may find an extensive discussion on thermo electric patents at: Nanalyze Forums - Direct conversion of heat to electricity http://www.nanalyze.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1006&#2686

2. Biotechnology: Since his revolutionary work on the human genome project, Craig Venter has been finding thousands of previously unknown life forms in the sea and air. His goal is to use these creatures to develop the ultimate energy bug to produce hydrogen and or use of their photoreceptor genes for solar energy. http://www.venterscience.org/ Imagine a bioreactor in your home taking all your waste, adding some solar energy, and your electric and transportation needs are fulfilled.

3. Fusion: Here I am not talking about the big science ITER project taking thirty years, but the several small alternative plasma fusion efforts and maybe bubble fusion - Is bubble fusion back? (July 2005) - News - PhysicsWeb
http://physicsweb.org/articles/news/9/7/8 )

On the big science side I do have hopes for the LDX : http://psfcwww2.psfc.mit.edu/ldx/.

There are three companies pursuing hydrogen-boron plasma toroid fusion, Paul Koloc, Prometheus II, Eric Lerner, Focus Fusion and Clint Seward of Electron Power Systems http://www.electronpowersystems.com/ . A resent DOD review of EPS technology reads as fallows:

"MIT considers these plasmas a revolutionary breakthrough, with Delphi's
chief scientist and senior manager for advanced technology both agreeing
that EST/SPT physics are repeatable and theoretically explainable. MIT and
EPS have jointly authored numerous professional papers describing their
work. (Delphi is a $33B company, the spun off Delco Division of General


"Cost: no cost data available. The complexity of reliable mini-toroid
formation and acceleration with compact, relatively low-cost equipment
remains to be determined. Yet the fact that the EPS/MIT STTR work this
technology has attracted interest from Delphi is very significant, as the
automotive electronics industry is considered to be extremely demanding of
functionality per dollar and pound (e.g., mil-spec performance at
Wal-Mart-class 'commodity' prices)."

EPS, Electron Power Systems seems the strongest and most advanced, and I love the scalability, They propose applications as varied as home power generation@ .ooo5 cents/KWhr, cars, distributed power, airplanes, space propulsion , power storage and kinetic weapons.

It also provides a theoretic base for ball lighting : Ball Lightning Explained as a Stable Plasma Toroid http://www.electronpowersystems.com/Images/Ball%20Lightning%20Explained.pdf
The theoretics are all there in peer reviewed papers. It does sound to good to be true however with names like MIT, Delphi, STTR grants, NIST grants , etc., popping up all over, I have to keep investigating.

Recent support has also come from one of the top lightning researcher in the world, Joe Dwyer at FIT, when he got his Y-ray and X-ray research published in the May issue of Scientific American,
Dwyer's paper:

and according to Clint Seward it supports his lightning models and fusion work at Electron Power Systems

Clint sent Joe and I his new paper on a lightning charge transport model of cloud to ground lightning (he did not want me to post it to the web yet). Joe was supportive and suggested some other papers to consider and Clint is now in re-write.

It may also explain Elves, blue jets, sprites and red sprites, plasmas that appear above thunder storms. After a little searching, this seemed to have the best hard numbers on the observations of sprites.

Dr. Mark A. Stanley's Dissertation

And may also explain the spiral twist of some fulgurites, hollow fused sand tubes found in sandy ground at lightning strikes.

The learning curve is so steep now, and with the resources of the online community, I'm sure we can rally greater support to solve this paramount problem of our time. I hold no truck with those who argue that big business or government are suppressing these technologies. It is only our complacency and comfort that blind us from pushing our leaders toward clean energy.

Erich J. Knight
(540) 289-9750
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Folks:

To really gain some perspective on the energy problem , and understand what a tough nut it is, read this reply by Uncle AL, from another Sci-forum:

"Do you have any idea how much energy the US uses/year? It has held reasonably steady at 60 bbl oil equiv/capita. 1 boe = 1700 kWhr-thermal. There are 290 million US folk or

1.74x10^10 boe/year, or
2.96x10^13 kWhr-thermal/year, or
1.065x10^20 joules/year, or...

...or the equivalent of 1.2 metric tonnes of matter 100% converted into energy each year, E=mc^2. Are ya gonna alternatively burn algae, git, or catch wind

The US consumes the equivalent of 1.2 metric tonnes of matter 100% converted into energy each year, E=mc^2.

You are all clueless. Sparrow farts run through a gas turbine won't get you 10^20 joules/year. Not now, not ever. Pulling 10^20 joules/year out of wind or waves would monstrously perturb the weather. Where do the energy and raw materials necessary to fabricate and install your New Age hind gut fermentations originate? Who pays for the environmental impact reports and litigations therefrom?

What are the unknown hazards? Can you guarantee absolute safety for 10,000 years? Let's have a uniform set of standards, eginineering and New Age bullshit both. Area necessary to generate 1 GW electrical, theoretical minimum

Area, Modality
1000 biomass
300 wind
60 solar
0.3 nuclear

3x10^7 GWhr-thermal/year would need 9 billion mi^2 of wind collection area. The total surface area of the Earth is 197 million mi^2. 24 hrs/day. Looks like yer gonna come up a little short if 100% of the Earth were wind generators powering only the US.

Are ya gonna alternatively burn algae to generate 10^20 joules/year? Now you are a factor of 3 even worse - before processing and not counting inputs. THEY LIED TO YOU. They lied to you so poorly it can be dismissed with arithmetic. Where are your minds?

Uncle Al
(Toxic URL! Unsafe for children and most mammals)
http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz.pdf "

Now ya know how big the problem is!!
My reply to UncleAl:

"Dear Uncle Al,
Your logic and math are impeccable, However you seem to ignore the macro energy equation.
All fossil and nuke fuels ultimately add to the heat load of the biosphere while most of the solar / wind / thermal conversion technologies (except geothermal) recycle solar energy instead of releasing sequestered solar energy. This is the goal and definition of sustainability, not over loading the dynamic equilibrium of the biosphere.

At least you seem not to take account of this, and I feel you dismiss the rising curve of increasing efficiency for PV, direct solar to hydrogen, wind and thermal conversion to electricity, not to mention P-B11 fusion.
From what I understand of the direct solar to hydrogen fabrication technology it is a much greener process, and cheaper that silicon based PVs. ( Hydrogen Solar home http://www.hydrogensolar.com/index.html )

And the nano-dot approach to PVs also promises full spectrum conversion efficiencies along with clean production processes. ( UB News Services-solar nano-dots http://www.buffalo.edu/news/fast-ex...rticle=75000009 )"

Recently I found this technology page on the Suncone, Sustainable Resources, Inc. - The Suncone Solar Power Generator http://www.sriglobal.org/suncone_intro.htmland
The Claim of a 50 MW array producing at $.046/KWhr is the best I've seen for solar at this level of development, and the PV solar roofing technology they are acquiring looks solid too.

And This new work By Dr.Kuzhevsky on neutrons in lightning: Russian Science News http://www.informnauka.ru/eng/2005/2005-09-13-5_65_e.htm is also supportive of Electron Power Systems fusion efforts http://www.electronpowersystems.com/ . I sent it to Clint Seward and here's his reply:

"There is another method to producing neutrons that fits my lightning model that I have described to you.
It is well known that electron beams have been used extensively to produce neutrons, above electron energies of 10 MeV, well within the voltages reported in the lightning event. (An Internet search produced several articles that reported this). I do not pretend to have researched this extensively, and do not know the actual target molecules or the process, but it appears plausible from what the papers report, and is consistent with my lightning model.
The proposed method you sent to me is a lot more complex, and I would have to say I can not agree with the article as written without experimental results."

Science News Daily http://www.sciencenewsdaily.org/story-6724.html
Wow..............1 million g's...............I had never seen van der Waals interactions measured in these terms.......and shouldn't it be considered " van der Waals forces" (london & Waals) because the electron density in a molecule is redistributed by proximity to another pole? Are individual atoms a different story?
As you can see I only know enough to be dangerous or look ignorant.
At any rate this gives you an appreciation of the powers in the Nano and Quantum worlds

A New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy

Erich J. Knight
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 4:59 am    Post subject: GE chimes in Reply with quote

Dear folks:
Here's an email that is very good news for Paul Koloc's and Eric Learner's work on P-B11 fusion.

He's referring to a power point presentation at the 05 AIAA conference on alternative forms of fusion which high lights the need to fully fund three different approaches to P-B11 fusion . 1.) Prometheus II , 2.) Field Revered Configuration, and 3.) Focus Fusion http://www.focusfusion.org/about.html

It's by Vincent Page a technology officer at GE.
Email me and I'll send it to anyone interested.


from : Paul M. Koloc; Prometheus II, Ltd.; 9903 Cottrell Terrace,
| Silver Spring, MD 20903-1927; FAX (301) 434-6737: Tel (301) 445-1075
| Grid Power -Raising $$Support$$ -;* http://www.neoteric-research.org/
| http://www.prometheus2.net/%A0%A0%A0------ mailtomk@plasmak.com


Thanks for your update,

A friend of mine, Bruce Pittman, who is a member of the AIAA, recently sent me a copy of the attached paper by Vincent Page of GE. Please keep in mind that I have never communicated with Vincent, but he found our concept to have the highest probability of success for achieving a commercial fusion power plant of any that he examined.

A program manager at DARPA submitted a POM for sizeable funding of extended research on our concept, both here and at Los Alamos National Laboratory. However, it didn't stay above this year's cut line for the budget funding priorities.

BTW, I agree with Cox that the analysis done by Chen does not fit the criteria of the EST plasmoid that Clint produces. The poloidal component of current in his toroid dominates his topology, which means that the corresponding toroidal field, which is only produced within the torus, also dominates. Consequently, the outward pressure on the EST current shell must be balanced by some external inward force. The toroidal component of current is weak and cannot produce the external poloidal magnetic pressure that would bring the toroid into stable equilibrium. If the plasmoid lasts for .6 seconds without change of shape or brightness level, then it must be continuously formed with his electron beam source. Otherwise, the plasma would decompose within microseconds.

By comparison, our PLASMAK magnetoplasmoids (PMKs) have negligible change in shape, size or luminosity over a period of one or two hundred milliseconds after the initial tens of microseconds impulse that forms them has ceased. That may not sound like much of a lifetime, but compare that to the decomposition of Lawrence Livermore's spheromak plasma within 60 microseconds. The other interesting thing is that we have recently produced PMKs of 40 cm diameter (under work sponsored by DOD), and with the installation of our new, additional fast rise capacitors, we expect to obtain lifetimes of seconds.

Paul "

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Correction: Vincent Page's presentation was given at the 05 6th symposium on current trends in international fusion research

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 5:21 am    Post subject: GE Chimes In Reply with quote

Clint Seward just sent this update of their progress at http://www.electronpowersystems.com/ , a very nice time frame, if Clint can find the funding:

"Hi All,

The following is the annual update to the EPS progress toward a clean energy solution to replace fossil fuels. Below is a brief summary of where we are. Attached is an updated copy of the manuscript describing our project.

It remains clear that we have made and patented a new discovery in physics: a plasma toroid the remains stable without external magnetic fields. This is so far beyond the experience and understanding of plasma scientists today that, to say the least, we are having trouble convincing reviewers. We have completed the design of an improved neutron tube. This is what we have to build to demonstrate a clean energy source, and I plan to do the first steps in 2006, with a first demo in 2007 if all goes well.

Clint Seward, EPS

Chapter 27. Colliding EST Spheromak Neutron Tube

In 2005 we completed a detailed design of the apparatus we need for the first demonstration. This is possible because of two things. First, we understand the EST is really just a special case of a spheromak, a plasma ring that is being studied by others, except that the EST is high density spheromak, which will overcome the limitations of spheromaks for the clean energy application. Secondly, we can adapt the EST Spheromak to the well known neutron tube, by applying all of the pieces we have developed over the years.

We plan to do this by making a new, high energy neutron tube. There are several thousand neutron tubes in use in the US today that safely collide hydrogen ions to produce neutrons, which in turn are used for explosives detection, industrial process control, and medical testing. Figure 1 shows the neutron tube schematically. An ion source produces hydrogen ions (deuterium), which are accelerated to 110 kV, then directed to hit the target (also deuterium), a process which produces neutrons (see reference below).

Figure 1: A One Meter Long Neutron Tube Schematic

Neutron tubes today are limited by the low density of the hydrogen ions. We plan to overcome this limitation by adapting the EST Spheromak to increase the ion density to produce a high output neutron tube. The EST Spheromak is patented jointly by EPS Inc. and MIT scientists who also have published papers confirming the physics and data. Since each part of the development has been done by others or by EPS, we anticipate that this will be an engineering project to produce a proof of concept lab demo in two years, with modest funding.

The major application is a high output neutron tube for clean energy applications. The high output neutron tube can be thought of as a heat generator to replace a furnace and/or generate electricity. Fuel costs for energy will 20:1 less than fossil fuel costs. Ultimately we plan to use the hydrogen/boron process to produce clean energy without neutrons.

The development is a scale up of work completed to date. We make EST Spheromaks in the lab and accelerate them. Each step has been shown to work individually, and we plan to adapt them to produce a lab demo in two years. Milestones:

1. Defining Patent: (Note: co-inventors are MIT scientists). 2000

2. Spheromak acceleration: 2001

3. Spheromak capture in a magnetic trap: 2006

4. Spheromak collision for a lab proof of concept demonstration: 2007

5. First neutron tube commercial prototype: 2008

6. First commercial product: 2009

Our best estimate at this time (December 2005) is that we will need 24 months and approximately $500,000 to demonstrate a colliding EST fusion process.

Reference: Chichester, D. L., Simpson, and J. D. “Compact accelerator neutron generators.” The Industrial Physicist. American Institute of Physics. http://www.aip.org/tip/INPHFA/vol-9/iss-6/p22.html. December, 2003."


I am glad to see the interest in Vincent Page's presentation given at the 05 6th symposium on current trends in international fusion research , which high lights the need to fully fund three different approaches to P-B11 fusion in other forums, (Below Is an excerpt). Vincent Page is a technology officer at GE!!

He quotes costs and time to development of P-B11 Fusion as tens of million $, and years verses the many decades and ten Billion plus $ projected for ITER and other "Big" science efforts:

"for larger plant sizes
Time to small-scale Cost to achieve net if the small-scale
Concept Description net energy production energy concept works:
Koloc Spherical Plasma: 10 years(time frame), $25 million (cost), 80%(chance of success)
Field Reversed Configuration: 8 years $75 million 60%
Plasma Focus: 6 years $18 million 80%

Desirable Fusion Reactor Qualities
• Research & development is also needed in
the area of computing power.
• Many fusion researchers of necessity still
use MHD theory to validate their designs.
• MHD theory assumes perfect diamagnetism
and perfect conductance.
• These qualities may not always exist in the
real world, particularly during continuous operation.
• More computing power is needed to allow use of a more realistic validation theory
such as the Vlasov equations.
• ORNL is in the process of adding some impressive computing power.
• Researchers now need to develop more realistic validation methods up to the
limits of the available computing power.
• Governments need to fund these efforts."

I feel in light of the recent findings of neutrons, x-rays, and gamma rays in lightening, that these threads need to be brought together in an article.

You may have seen my efforts with my "Manhattan Project" article, which got published on Sci-Scoop and the Open Source Energy Network but rejected on Slashdot. The New Energy News will be running a story of their own on aneutronic fusion including the companies I have high lighted in their next issue.

About a year ago, I came across EPS while researching nano-tech and efficient home design. I started a correspondence Clint Seward, Eric Learner, and Paul Kolac, sending them science news links which I felt were either supportive or contradictory to their work. I also asked them to critique each other's approaches. I have posted these emails to numerous physics and science forums. Discussion groups, science journalists, and other academics, trying to foster discussion, attention, and hopefully some concessus on the validity of these proposed technologies.
My efforts have born some fruit. Clint and Joe Dwyer at FIT have been in consultation on Clint's current charge transport theory for cloud to ground lightening.
I have had several replies from editors, producers, and journalists expressing interest. From organizations as varied as PBS, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, the Guardian (U.K), and the San Francisco Chronicle. However, none of this professional interest has resulted in a story yet.

I have been responding to all of the articles that filter in via my Google alerts on "fusion power". The most recent was the "Happy News" article by Kris Metaverso.

This post is a plea to the science writers among you to craft a story covering aneutronic fusion, the P-B11 efforts, Eric's high temperatures and x-ray source project, Clint's lightening theories, and DOD review, and Paul's review by GE. The minimal cost and time frame for even the possibility of this leap forward seems criminal not to pursue. If you read my Manhattan article, you may have noticed that I am not a writer. I am a landscape designer and technology gadfly wondering why this technology has never been put in the public eye.
My hope is that someone, more skilled, would step up to give a shout out about these technologies. Please contact me for copies of my correspondence with the principles, interesting replies and criticisms from physics discussion forums and academic physicists who have replied to my queries.

Thanks for any help

Erich J. Knight
"Religion Is Bunk " T. A. Edison
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:58 am    Post subject: Focus Fusion News Reply with quote

Looks like Eric Lerner is moving down the road!!

U.S., Chilean Labs to Collaborate on Testing Scientific Feasibility of Focus Fusion http://pesn.com/2006/03/18/9600250_LPP_Chilean_Nuclear_Commission/
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever happened to Erich? There have been no posts recently. Are you still with us?
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