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Bottom line: I think research into alternative energy technology is moving ahead way faster than the Washington politicians realize. (But we still need to exploit oil and coal and nuclear to bridge the gap from a hydrocarbon to post-hydrocarbon economy.) And it is all happening without spending trillions of dollars in taxpayer money for energy-themed Manhattan Projects or Apollo programs. This possible breakthrough came from MIT's Solar Revolution Project, which was funded to the tune of $10 million by telecommunications entrepreneur Arunas Chesonis. Heroic capitalism strikes again.
And the reason that the research is channeled into hydrogen is because of the Bush decision that pushing hydrogen gave them a target that was far off enough in the distance that they could use it to justify killing off real, ready-today technologies, like the zero emissions mandate in California that was forcing auto companies to put electric cars on the road.
The article above is, of course, opposed to an "Energy Apollo program", because an "Energy Apollo program" runs the risk of a substantial amount of money being made available to not just research but also development that is not under the thumb of a corporate boardroom.
I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
As the former chief designer of the Nautilus class of nuclear submarines, "The Captain" (USN, ret.) knew his way around the ocean. A large portion of the top engineering execs in US windpower went through his program at UMass Amherst. Here's the ammonia version from Popular Science around the same time.
Today's versions of the designs are very much more sophisticated. He passed on a few years ago, and i miss his cantankerous wisdom dearly.
The concept of multiple rotors replacing one large rotor is that each level is tuned to the stronger winds it sees, giving higher efficiencies than a super rotor. Despite many more parts, they are much easier and cheaper to mass produce to rigorous standards. Further, there is little risk today for a 20 meter rotor, while the super rotors have many unknowns remaining.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
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