Can the world's largest laser help Earth's energy woes?
Old 04-29-2010, 03:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Good read, can't wait for this to undergo

Can world's largest laser zap Earth's energy woes? - CNN.com
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm not sure I totally understand how this will solve energy woes; it seems to me it will just move us towards a different non-renewable resource.

It is very important to consider what energy goes in to producing this energy. You need energy to produce the two isotopes, and energy to create a reaction. How efficient is producing this energy source?
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not sure I totally understand how this will solve energy woes; it seems to me it will just move us towards a different non-renewable resource.

It is very important to consider what energy goes in to producing this energy. You need energy to produce the two isotopes, and energy to create a reaction. How efficient is producing this energy source?
I think what there trying to do is taking a huge amount of energy to produce a even larger one, I don't know the science but this is a mini-star were talking about, could burn for 100-200 years depending on the size.

Would the star's energy create smog and pollution? I don't know, I hope time magazine does an article on this because they always seem to dumb it down for me so I can understand.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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As it stands it's non-renewable. so there's nothing revolutionary about it, outside of the ego-stroking of successful science.
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think what there trying to do is taking a huge amount of energy to produce a even larger one, I don't know the science but this is a mini-star were talking about, could burn for 100-200 years depending on the size.
You can't get more energy out of it than you put in. That's the laws of thermodynamics.

I just looked up some information on fusion energy more generally, and it looks like the highest efficiency you can get is around 80% (that is, for every 1 MW you put in, you get 0.8 MW out; by comparison, a coal plant would produce about 0.35 MW). This is very, very good, as nuclear fusion produces the most energy per mass unit of any technique we know. The only known way to get higher efficiency would be to convert mass directly to energy, which we are not yet capable of doing.

Just as I had suspected, this technology will be limited by resources. Though the high efficiency means that we can produce a sizable amount of power with significantly less resources than we currently do with other technologies, it still relies on a non-renewable resource (fresh water) which is bound to encounter some supply issues.
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Ligeia View Post
You can't get more energy out of it than you put in. That's the laws of thermodynamics.

I just looked up some information on fusion energy more generally, and it looks like the highest efficiency you can get is around 80% (that is, for every 1 MW you put in, you get 0.8 MW out; by comparison, a coal plant would produce about 0.35 MW). This is very, very good, as nuclear fusion produces the most energy per mass unit of any technique we know. The only known way to get higher efficiency would be to convert mass directly to energy, which we are not yet capable of doing.

Just as I had suspected, this technology will be limited by resources. Though the high efficiency means that we can produce a sizable amount of power with significantly less resources than we currently do with other technologies, it still relies on a non-renewable resource (fresh water) which is bound to encounter some supply issues.
Interesting stuff. Nice post.
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Old 05-01-2010, 03:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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converting mass directly to energy is an interesting thought. If it were possible, would we be able to stop ourselves from converting irreplaceable types of mass to energy? How long before we sell dead family members for energy consumption? How long before we decide to just use up all of...let's say Australia...the whole mass of it?
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ligeia View Post
You can't get more energy out of it than you put in. That's the laws of thermodynamics.

I just looked up some information on fusion energy more generally, and it looks like the highest efficiency you can get is around 80% (that is, for every 1 MW you put in, you get 0.8 MW out; by comparison, a coal plant would produce about 0.35 MW). This is very, very good, as nuclear fusion produces the most energy per mass unit of any technique we know. The only known way to get higher efficiency would be to convert mass directly to energy, which we are not yet capable of doing.

Just as I had suspected, this technology will be limited by resources. Though the high efficiency means that we can produce a sizable amount of power with significantly less resources than we currently do with other technologies, it still relies on a non-renewable resource (fresh water) which is bound to encounter some supply issues.
Actually it uses seawater not fresh water.

However I think the ridiculous amount of money spent and continuing to be spent could have been better spent on alternative energy technologies like solar, wind and tidal.
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