What If Nuclear Fusion Breakthroughs Made Nuclear Fusion Obsolete?

in LeoFinance7 months ago

This is how technology works. Nothing operates in a vacuum. Within this realm, it is breakthroughs in one area that affects another.

The energy sector is going through major transition. What if, however, all the money being spent on wind and solar is a complete waste? Many feel this is the case since they believe fusion will take over.

What if that is not true either? Could it be that the massive advancements in fusion made it obsolete also?

Imagine advancements in drilling that could completely change the energy sector.

Drilling Into The Future

Advancement in drilling could meet all of our energy needs. This is not for fossil fuels but, rather, for the most powerful clean energy source we ever came upon.

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It is geothermal and a spin off from MIT might have the answer.

MIT spin-off Quaise says it's going to use hijacked fusion technology to drill the deepest holes in history, unlocking clean, virtually limitless, supercritical geothermal energy that can re-power fossil-fuelled power plants all over the world.

The idea is to use technology that is presently being pursued for the generation of nuclear fusion to enhance the drilling techniques. Get through the Earth's core, going deeper and in less time, could be the answer.

Quaise plans to drill holes up to 20 km (12.4 miles) deep, significantly deeper than the Kola Superdeep Borehole – but where the Kola team took nearly 20 years to reach their limit, Quaise expects its gyrotron-enhanced process to take just 100 days. And that's assuming a 1-MW gyrotron.

At this level we see temperatures of 500 degrees C which is hot enough to match the energy density derived from fossil fuels.

The company plans to have a demonstration unit ready by 2024.

We could see this accelerating quickly. The company plans to use existing plants. The first year it looks to do this is in 2028.

All the infrastructure is in place. Only a hole deep enough has to be drilled to provide the energy and the source of power for the plant is instantly converted. All else remains the same.

This can be done all over the world.

Consistent Renewable Energy

Why is this a threat to wind and solar?

To start, neither of those is dependable. Simply, the sun does not always shine nor does the wind continually blow.

The other factor is that not every area is suited for these forms of energy. The extreme northern and southern latitudes, for example, are not ideally suited for solar since there are times of the year the sun is not very strong.

Geo-thermal would be a major breakthrough. Once the core is tapped, the energy coming out is consistent and will last a long time.

Where there's access to heat, there's harvestable geothermal energy. And there's so much heat below the Earth's surface, according to Paul Woskov, a senior fusion research engineer at MIT, that tapping just 0.1 percent of it could supply the entire world's energy needs for more than 20 million years.

Source

The plan for Quaise is to, hopefully, keep converting old coal plants over to this system. With advanced drilling that reaches 10-15 miles down, every country can be energy independent. This means that accessing the Earth's energy from most places in the world.

It is also an idea that, if it comes to fruition, will make the present investment in other forms of renewable energy, including nuclear fusion, obsolete. Geo-thermal built out to the degree this company is seeking would provide all the energy we need, many times over.

Is this something that will be accomplished? At present, it is too early to tell. However, this is an example of how going down one road can lead to breakthroughs in other areas.

The world still awaits fusion technology and it might still be waiting. By the end of this decade, power plants could start to be converted over to geo-thermal using these advanced drilling techniques.

Here is a short video detailing what the company is looking to do.


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To be clear. This is NOT fusion. It uses some of the same tools that were developed in the, so far unsuccessful, fusion research. It's microwaves. Just the same as you microwave oven except much shorter wavelengths and a LOT more power. Megawatts of power. Using wave guides the millimeter waves from the thing that generates the microwaves is projected in the direction needed, and much like a laser, it burns a hole. A very deep hole.

I for one welcome our volcano overlords.

It would definitely be 'interesting' if they drilled into magma.

Perhaps cold fusion is something we only need to figure out when everyone has their own spaceship.

Cold fusion. They call it Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LERN) for short now after that debacle a couple of decades back. There are some technologies that can achieve it at low levels. I know NASA built some rig that could do it to a degree. There are also some theoretical models that report on using lasers to achieve fusion, but I don't know if it's in the experimental stages yet.

I think cold fusion is a false lead.
We should be focusing on how to better contain already-existing hot fusion.

This has nothing to do with fusion. It just uses some of the same tools that hot fusion researchers use.

Like I've said before. This has nothing to do with fusion, cold or otherwise. It's focused millimeter microwaves used to drill very deep holes.

Sad to say, from my research, I'm forced to conclude that with foreseeable technology spaceships will be restricted to a minimium size. Radiation is space is a real hazard beyond low earth orbit. To minimimize the health risks a lot of shielding will be required. By a lot I mean...bunchatons, like hollow out an asteroid and live inside it.

Stuff like this is absolutely insane...

Like... when I was a kid I remember thinking that batteries and lights would never get better.
Why would they?
The tech wasn't going anywhere, thus it would never make advances.
Now we have battery powered cars and LEDs that use near zero energy.

Now we find out that we can get infinite energy if we can just figure out how to dig a hole in the ground?
Seriously? wtf... mindblowing.

This is very exciting technology. Existing power plants could be repurposed to use this technology and costs and pollution should go way down. It shows a lot of potential and hopefully we will see some results soon. With extra energy we could start locking up C02 from the atmosphere and making some products with it.

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Great post. Personally, I think the future of energy is going to be smaller plants that use a mix of sources, depending on what best suits the location. As each of these technologies grow to be better able to provide home energy for people that is generated right at their homes, people are naturally going to start building homes that cut out the electric bill, and electric companies will become more localized, to meet urban and industrial needs.

why wouldn't it be possible to have a home sized thermal energy plant? As far as I can tell there is no minimium size. If you have a few square feet of land you too, theoretially, can have a geothermal plant.

It would be possible, but if they're drilling 12 miles deep, the installation cost is likely to outpace solar or wind by quite a bit for many more years. Also, these systems will produce a lot more than any single home would need. They would probably be an excellent solution for rural communities like mine.

Oh no. They won't be drilling twelve miles. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't go much deeper. Twenty, Forty? How about a hundred miles? How far can a maser reach?

It's real interesting the way a millimeter wave drilling rig works. The high energy (megawatt) microwaves are producted by a gyrotron. That's what they're using to attempt fusion. They're available now, off the shelf. A mite expensive. About a million dollars each. Using wave guides, metal tubes, the beam can be manipulated any which way. The interesting thing about that particular wave length is that 'smoke' is invisible to it. In other words when it burns a hole in the ground the smoke doesn't divert the beam.

It just keep going, and going, and going. Theoretically a hole can be drilled to EXTREME depths. Not only that but the process is self casing. The sides of the bore melts to glass. The wave guide in extremely light. MUCH lighter than today's drill rod. That means a typical rig could drill much, much deeper due to the lighter weight.

The concept has been proven to work in labs. Now the engineering needs to be refined so that it will work in the field.

If they can pull this off it would mean all the many times I've said that nuclear paired with renewables is the only path to fully green would be wrong... and I'd be 100% behind eating my own words. This would be a monumental achivement.

A couple of interesting things to add to this...Iceland powers their island entirely by geothermal energy. They have all that ground heat from the active volcanoes to tap into.
One of the more modern methods of home heating uses heat pump technology. Heat is extracted from the ground and used to create more heat to warm a house. It also works for cooling in the summer.
Ground heat for powering electric generation is just a matter of scale and heat source availability.

I believe the growth of technology enhances everyday especially in areas where it been needed to solve problems easily

What a fantastic way to tap into infinite energy, hopefully, it can be pulled off without the oil barons getting in the middle to kill it.

Back in 2006, I worked in oil & gas, and the umbrella company had already built a Hydrogen plant. I clearly remember hydrogen-powered BMWs on the PowerPoint presentations.

20 years later and still no H2 BMWs to be seen on the streets, but still hopeful for the tech.

If Quaise becomes a reality, all the great technologies that require insurmountable amounts of energy to be deployed will become also a reality. In the case of Hydrogen, the problem was that you need energy to produce energy.

All of a sudden gas from Russia is not longer necessary ;)

This is neat in a mad scientist kind of way. I've always heard drilling deep was too slow and expensive. But shooting giant powerful lasers into the ground.

Geothermal has been around for a long time, but few places have the geological requirements anywhere near the surface for anything more than achieving stable room temperature. I guess it's time to take it to the next level.

Fusion technology is good especially in Nigeria here we are having light issue, they need it and Nigeria is a country that always witness alot of sun and the environment always hot.

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I've been reading about this for a while. It's only a matter of time. Not 'if' but 'when'.

Test pilots used to say that 'with enough power you can fly a brick'. The space shuttle proved that to be true. Like wise you can do almost anything you want to if you have enough energy. With limitless energy everyone on the planet benenifits. By our standards everyone will be rich.

Thanks for the post. Well done.

The technology is impressive for sure. I just hope Quaise Energy can keep their head above water. I took a look at their website and it isn't very realistic time-wise.

  • They're developing the new drill. It isn't already available and tested. They're still researching the new drill technology.
  • In 2024, they want to test the new drill.
  • In 2026, they want a rated geothermal system at 100 MW
  • In 2028, fossil-fired power plant converted to geothermal steam.

There's a lot of steps they need to take before 2024. What they're proposing will work. Things won't work as easily as their proposing. Geothermal, in my research, is one of the least pollutive forms of power production. Truly, I hope they succeed, but there are a lot of hurdles like any new advance. I get their position as they need investment.

I've seen Paul Woskov's lecture before. You can take what he says to the bank. I also feel that Quaise can achieve their goal before that of fusion technology. We still need to pursue fusion technology. The importance of both endeavors is to have a stable energy portfolio. Having the entirety of human society pulling their power from the Earth's core probably isn't a great idea.